As we read press reports of conflict across the world, or of disputes on home soil about who is responsible for the current state of the country’s finances, or apparent breakdown of society; it is easy to get caught up in that language of blame. This week on our Facebook page we have posted a few short status updates about how certain words, apparently simple and used all the time in general conversation, can have the power to change our perception of the world around us. We are also preparing to talk a little more about anger, and how we manage it, and the words we choose to use in our relationships with others can have a significant impact on the level of frustration we feel when we just can’t seem to get our point across.
Think about these simple words:
We use these all the time, but they can be the cause of regular misunderstandings. If we think about it – how often do we use ‘they say’. Who is your ‘they’? World renowned therapist Virginia Satir says:
The use of they is often an indirect way of talking about ‘you’……..How many times do we hear ‘They won’t let me’. ‘They will be upset’. ‘They don’t like what I am doing’. ‘They say’. ….
As she says, ‘they’ are nebulous and can seem threatening. Newspapers talk of a ‘they’ who come here and take ‘our’ jobs or a ‘they’ who will use technology to hack into our computers. And if we are honest, we also use this undefined ‘they’ as an excuse – ‘I am sorry I couldn’t make it for that drink after work, they wouldn’t let me leave before 6pm’.
On the world stage these ‘others,’ the ‘they’ of major conflicts, offer governments the opportunity to scapegoat whole communities. The language of blame and the refusal to take responsibility for our own part in any decision is essentially dishonest and can lead to unwanted repercussions as inaccurate information is passed on.
So identify your ‘they’ next time you are tempted to use the word in conversation. It can be difficult, but honesty is valued, and leads to greater security in all our relationships.