When Words Matter (Or Not)

by | Feb 20, 2018 | Nonviolent Communication


As I sit down to write to you today, I notice I am tired and longing for sleep.

It’s the best kind of tired.

The kind of tired that I feel after having used up every moment of a day doing work that I love, grappling with issues that feel meaningful and working with people I care for deeply.

The kind of heavy tired that seeps into my bones, promising a night of deep rest.

So with that in mind, instead of trying to be all creative this evening, I want to draw your attention to some of my previous posts in case you find some wisdom and insight already waiting for you!

In Triggered, but Conscious I talk about how we resort to fight, flight and freeze responses when we are triggered, how the 4 D’s of Disconnection show up in our language, and concrete practices that I have found to be supportive as I work with myself when triggered.

Or, in Trust the Sprouting Stage I offer a gentle reminder that we are all works in progress and that results often take time when we are practicing something new. Patience is a key practice.

One of the longest posts I’ve written was this one on Loving Anger in which I offer practical steps for working with anger nonviolently. It also happens to be the post with the most comments to date!


The only other thought I have for you this evening is a gentle reminder:

The words you use matter. But they don’t really.

The only reason we ever play with words and language is to promote and nurture a shift in our consciousness and perceptions, not because there is ever any Right Word or Right Way to Speak.

Banish the word police when you find him or her within you.

When you want to shift a pattern or thinking or a pattern of perceiving, then for sure, get intentional and precise about language insofar as it supports your internal shift, just don’t get stuck there.

Words can be used metaphorically, beautifully, playfully, poetically and liberally – their meaning is always socially constructed and negotiated within relationships, so remember to stay in the flow!

May your week be filled with conversations grounded in curiosity, compassion and discovery, and not in ones rife with criticism, contempt, coercion and judgment.


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