by Rachelle Lamb
What if, every time we stepped into a dialogue with someone, we approached it no differently than if we were stepping into a haltingly beautiful cathedral?
Do We Shape Language or Does It Shape Us?
I’d have to say both. In his book The Biology of Transcendence: A Blueprint of the Human Spirit, author Joseph Chilton Pearce says, “All of us know intuitively that we are not by nature savage beasts. Fewer, however, are aware that we are driven to some fairly beastly behaviours by enculturation, despite the fact that the process itself is supposed to prevent this.”
The subject of language and enculturation has always been a fascination to me .. how we shape language by speaking and how it also shapes us in the process is powerful stuff. Having devoted myself for the past 12 years to the topic, I can say that when one objectively examines language and communication within the context of power, partnership, personal and social responsibility, the discoveries are surprising, disturbing and finally liberating. One finds that the victim-oppressor relationship is quite tragically alive and well in how we speak. For instance, just try using words like selfish, manipulating, or disrespectful without being caught in that very dynamic. It’s near impossible to do so.
What if you decided to never again in your lifetime use those words? Would you still be able to fully express yourself, retain your authenticity and initiate change? The answer, thank goodness, is YES ABSOLUTELY! And relationships can only become more fulfilling when we deliberately make that choice. When we refuse to use language that blames and divides, it forces us to dig deeper and rethink our approach. It forces us to give greater consideration to our motives and what we would like to achieve. It forces us to raise the bar in how we relate. It forces us to remember how we need each other. I don’t know about you but I think that’s a good thing!
Here’s a poem by David Whyte that I share at almost every workshop. Loaves and Fishes …
Anyone who knows me well knows that I love movies, especially those where people are real and vulnerable with each other .. where they step into those often difficult conversations that ask them to become courageous and true. Here is a memorable scene from Good Will Hunting.
Rachelle Lamb is an author and speaker and is president of Mindful Communication. She has shown thousands how to courageously and skillfully navigate interpersonal tension and conflict, leading toward breakthrough. rachellelamb.com
Join Rachelle for her Hollyhock Program, Mindful Communication, May 26 – 31, 2013.