“Dammit! I am completely incensed with you!”

How do you feel just reading that line? I can feel my defenses rising and I wrote the thing. That’s how wired we are for certain words. Without any forethought, we have an instant reaction. How about these?

“I’m absolutely pissed off!”

“That completely angers me!”

“I cannot tell you how much that irritates me!”

“Man, I’m peeved!”

Tony Robbins uses these responses to talk about how we create our own emotional states through communication and self-talk. He argues that when we shout “I am incensed!” those words circle back through our ears and drive us even further toward those feelings. The more we shout and dwell on being incensed the more create that state within us. His advice is to tone down your self-talk.  Work on being peeved instead of absolutely pissed off.  My addition to that advice is to think about it before hand – you won’t remember to play nice when the heat is turned up.

Another interesting tidbit about language:

New research tells us that we instinctively alter our language when talking to babies. All of us do this for any baby. The language is called motherese and is characterized by ‘ high-pitched, exaggerated language full of short, slow phrases and big vocal swoops.’ It appears to be entirely instinctual and has a comforting or bonding response in babies. I’m sure that it is the same kind of cooing and squeaking that all other mammals do with their babies. The research is new and asks more questions than it can answer at this time. The

What do these two seemingly different stories tell us about language? Mostly that we have yet to understand how intricately our communication is tied to our emotions and well-being. The bottom-line is that we are only scraping the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding language.

The best advice? Listen more and think before you speak. Just what your grandmother told you to do.


Read Tony Robbin’s Change Your Words, Change Your Life.