Skip to main content

Mind Your Language

My philosophy is that we achieve precisely what we want. From what we have for lunch to careers, relationships and every other decision.

Mind Your Language - an article by Rob Wyborn

Mind Your Language - an article by Rob Wyborn

Mind Your Language

Mind Your Language - This refers to exactly what I want to talk about, rather than the questionable 70s TV SitCom of the same name. The question is this. Do you really know what we’re talking about? Or, more accurately, How we use our vocabulary to communicate. Apart from the tone and style of how we speak, we carefully select the vocabulary that we use, depending on what the situation calls for. Being able to control this and to use the most appropriate words and phrases would appear to be quite simple, almost instinctive. We will, in general, use different language when talking with our Mothers, than we may when talking with friends. We actively select what we think is the correct tone, voice and words that appear to be compatible with the conversation we are having. Of course, it’s quite possible that we all know that, and save for a few incidents where we may become irate and a little more ‘anglo-saxon’, this is all fairly straight forward and even expected. So, this would not appear to be much of a breakthrough article, I am not telling you anything you don’t already know.

But the following, I feel may be of help to you, as all is not what it seems.

On average, the sheer volume of words that we know is pretty impressive. Of the 171,476 words currently in the English dictionary, it is estimated the average adult has an active vocabulary of around 20,000 words. Which is quite impressive in itself. We (I am including myself as ‘average’ here) also have that amount again in terms of Passive vocabulary – these are words that we recognise, or can pronounce, but either do not know the full meaning or we never use. Ultracrepidarianism is one of my favourite words I never use, but am writing an article about it.

It is recognised that we use no more than 3,000 words to comprise 95% of our daily usage and comprehension. For a far more interesting and fact-filled article on this area, take a look at this.

Well, we use a really small percentage of our vocabulary, which of course, is a terribly efficient way of processing these thoughts. To further enhance our efficiency, we tend to repeat ourselves a lot. Why use 10 words when three will do – we simply do not have the time! This is all perfectly normal behavior and I think you’ll agree, a perfectly acceptable way of managing our thoughts.

Anyway, back to my main point. We know that we have an enormous vocabulary at our disposal and we can select the appropriate words for the situation we find ourselves in. So what about the unspoken words? The ones that never leave your mouth, but bounce around your head like a roulette ball, all day long, every day? This is our internal monologue. This is how we ‘talk’ to ourselves. How often do you say Well done? How often do you praise yourself and give yourself a well-deserved verbal slap on the back? Ever? Or Never?.

Scroll to Continue

Most of the language we use to ourselves is really quite negative. We admonish ourselves for not getting something done, being late, being lazy. For saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, to the wrong person. Some of these may just be innocent mistakes, of no consequence, others may be tsunami sized errors of judgement.

All those regrets from over-eating, drinking too much, pointless disagreements and arguments. All the times you ‘wish you hadn’t…’ We provide a full commentary on these actions. It’s rather like a highlights program. We rarely have these negative thoughts ‘live’ but we do replay them, often repeatedly. While these words may never leave our mouths, their meaning and ferociously communicated to us loud and clear. We take these on board as if someone that cares about us is telling us some home truths. In these instances, we are not being kind to ourselves, and we need to get better at this.

So let’s start by getting some positivity into the vocabulary we use on ourselves. Let’s celebrate all the good stuff we do. It doesn’t have to be saving drawing pets from frozen ponds, it can just be all the little things that you do well everyday – be kinder to yourself. It can be a harsh world out there, so treat yourself well and give yourself a lot more pats on the back for a job well done. We achieve a lot more with kindness than harshness and this is just as relevant to yourself as it is to others. You may even become your own best friend.

Big Love xxx

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 Rob Wyborn

Related Articles