This article is for those of you who are living in a constant state of emotional pain within yourselves, and if you’re tired of feeling constantly down or depressed, consider this a kind of kick in the ass to recognise your emotional pain and to get up and do something about it. So I’m going to focus on the beginning of a journey, away from self-denial and towards self-acceptance, and as with any journey where you are in a strange or uncomfortable place, you will often need a guide to set your feet upon the path.
For this particular journey I am offering to be your guide, and I hope that for those of you who choose to begin this journey, that you will be willing to accept that the journey will be long, and will present you with as many disappointments as it will successes. I urge you to accept the disappointments not as punishments, but rather as teachers that will give you opportunities to learn more about yourself and how to manage yourself so that you can recognise the difference between genuine failure and poorly understood self-expectation. As with any journey this one begins with a single step, and that first step is to understand a little bit about weasel words.
Weasel words are those statements which are made that allow people to back-pedal when they are caught somewhere between a lie and a truth. Carefully worded phrases which allow us to effectively lie and then say later that we weren’t really lying, but that something has changed in the universe that makes our statements false now, yet were essentially true when we uttered them. Words we say that are intended to sound very real, authoritative, or sincere, yet when closely examined turn out to be of less real value than the hot air that breathed them.
We’ve seen politicians make a living out of weasel words so that they can promise us the Earth before the election, and then make us pay for that same Earth after the election. I’m sure you’ve also heard people making promising sounding statements at work creating certain expectations, only to have those expectations come to nothing as the weasel words are used as a fall back to justify why those expectations weren’t met:
Boss at the beginning of the year:
“We’re tracking well to pay big bonuses at the end of the year”
…and at the end of the year:
“Our circumstances have changed”
“We took a big hit “
“Our end of quarter results did not meet our expectations”
Even worse is when someone uses uses weasel words to convince you of their sincerity, even while being completely insincere.
Employee at the beginning of the week:
I should be able to complete this task by Friday
…and at the end of the week:
Too many other priorities prevented me completing the task you asked for, and in any case, I told you that I “should” be able to complete the task, not that I would prioritise it over my other work.
The real problem with using weasel words is that it can become habitual. So habitual that you might not realise that you are using them all of the time. For some, weasel words can become a kind of crutch that you might use to lean on as a way to justify why you never want to join in or do things that would be to your benefit, and the habitual use of weasel words can lead to others thinking you might be unreliable or untrustworthy. If this is the sort of image others perceive, imagine then the emotional damage such an image might do over time to a person’s own self-image, to their feelings of self-worth, and their ability to face any of the challenges that life sends their way. It’s bad enough that people use weasel words with others, but what about when you are using weasel words with yourself. Does any of this sound familiar:
“I’ll start getting fit as soon as I have dealt with this other thing”
“I’d like to be healthy, only I don’t have the money|time|knowledge|energy|something else”
“One day I’ll achieve [my goal]”
“Some day I’d like to achieve [my dream]”
Weasel words. All of it. If you keep telling yourself that you’ll do something “some day”, then you and I both know that the chances that you’ll ever actually get around to doing it will be lessened every time you added of a weasley “some day”. Weasel words allow you to fail without the responsibility of learning from the failure. “Some day” really means “never” and yet nobody ever wants to admit to themselves that they’ll never achieve their dreams so they’ll add the weasel words so that they can feel less guilty or less down on themselves if they don’t reach their goals, and so that they’ll feel justified in the failures in their lives that they don’t want to take responsibility for.
Yes, I’m being harsh, and with good reason. I myself was one of these people, allowing myself to use weasel words in order to avoid my own responsibilities towards myself. I allowed myself to exist for years in a bad place within myself, and I was foolish enough to convince myself that it was OK to live in this way, and to put up with living in a continuous state of emotional pain, and all because I allowed myself to buy into living for “some day” rather than for today.
If you want to live life without emotional pain, if you want to experience the satisfaction of achieving your goals, and if you wish to experience the joy that comes from embracing each day of life as the gift that it truly is, then you need to teach yourself to stop using weasel words to create a disconnection between yourself and your life. Accept failures as opportunities to learn, and start changing your focus from negatively reinforcing to positively reinforcing language and thought. It’s not easy to change all of this about yourself, and I know this from hard earned and sometimes painful experience.
So for those who are starting out on their self improvement journeys, and for those who wish to reboot their journey’s, or to inspire themselves to push a little harder, I urge you to stop worrying about a some day that will never happen, and instead to choose today.
“Some Day” is TODAY.
Print that out in big letters and stick it up in lot’s of prominent places in your home. On the fridge & pantry doors, in the bathroom and in the bedroom. Put it above the TV, and on the back of your front door so that you will be reminded every time you are about to leave the house. If you won’t go to the mountain, and if the mountain is “some day”, then I am bringing “some day” to you and telling you that it is today.
Every time you start to say something about the future that is indefinite and couched in carefully phrased statements that make the future a mere possibility, STOP TALKING!
Take a deep breath, and take a risk. Think it through and then be real specific and rephrase so that “Some Day” has a date and time. Make it a goal instead of a wish. Make it specific and real instead of a mere fantasy. Make yourself accountable for the success or failure of that goal, be willing to accept the failure if and when it happens, and to learn why the failures might occur so that you can aim towards avoiding the same failures in the future. Whenever you learn from a previous failure and use that knowledge to overcome the next obstacle, the victory becomes so much more satisfying, and teaches you more about what you CAN do, instead of the things you think you can’t.
Stop yourself from using weasel words like could, might, can, possibly and maybe, and instead choose to use the positive word Will. Whenever you find yourself saying that you will do something , you will often need to justify When you will do it. This give you not only a goal to work towards, it also provides you with an opportunity to either achieve or fail in your attainment of the goal, and by presenting opportunities to fail you permit yourself to have opportunities to learn so that you can try again and achieve your goal the next time, and make the successes so much more valuable to you as a result.
Using Will and When permits you to show yourself the value you place on both your goals, and on your own desire to achieve those goals. It teaches you to be specific and realistic in how you set your goals. When you are willing to accept your choices and their consequences, you become more willing to accept yourself, and you show others that you value yourself.
I’m a great believer in the ability of a body to heal itself when given an appropriate human diet and sufficient exercise to stimulate the metabolism. This is a belief sustained by having myself experienced the lows and highs, and having learned for myself the difference that can be made by changing my own lifestyle, allowing me personally to experience how powerful a few simple lifestyle changes can be. I’ve also been at the receiving end of all of the well meaning advice by doctors and psychologists telling me that I need to embrace a positive mind set, and to recognise when I am being negative. It’s all well and good to be told that I need to eat better and to exercise more, and to think positively and all of that other really important stuff. Where most of these good people have failed their clients however is that they are very rarely ever good at explaining to you how to get there, and where to find the strength to do all of the stuff that they suggest.
So for me, I believe that my journey would have begun much more effectively if there had been someone to set my feet on the path at the beginning of the journey, and not somewhere further along where I had not yet developed the skills to show me HOW to learn from my failures and to achieve my goals. I would have benefited from the advice of someone who really understood that the problem starts with how you express yourself not only to others, but also to yourself, and that the path towards a more positive mind set really begins with the abandonment of the weasel words, and by embracing the power that comes from the use of a single positive word… Will. In the setting of a couple of small, easy to achieve and realistic goals in the beginning, and allowing the creation and attainment of goals to slowly snowball over time.
A positive mind set grows from a humble beginning, by making a choice to change one little thing in your life, and that is to swap out the weasel words and upgrade your thinking to embrace the use of will and when. It’s a choice that you make to give yourself the permission to believe in yourself and to realise that you no long need to wait for the unattainable “some day” to work towards your dreams, because your “Some Day” will always be “Today”.