Metaphors are like…

All perception of truth is the detection of a analogy.

– Henry David Thoreau

Yesterday I promised thoughts about the power of words. I am ready to fulfill that promise.

My reading, both yesterday and today, was about how powerful words are. We use words to help us categorize the experiences that we have. To a large extent, these words define the experiences we have. For instance: ask individuals to describe a lecturer they have just heard from and you could easily garner answers as diverse as “boring” and “uplifting”. There was only one source of input for the experience (the lecturer) but the experiences the individuals had were very different. Words have meaning. By simply changing the words we use to describe a situation we can change the way we feel about it.

How many times have you said that you “hate” something? Do you really “feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward” that thing? What happens when you use the word “hate”? Even if you did not originally have hate-like feelings about something your emotions begin to match the meaning of the word. You now feel more intensely than originally. The opposite is also possible, by choosing to use more mild vocabulary you can temper emotions. I have had first hand experience with this concept. When I was still living at home with my family I would often get very angry. Disproportionately so. I found that I was using ridiculously strong words to describe my emotions. I began to make a concerted effort to calm my language. It had a powerful effect, it now takes quite a lot to make me feel angry. Whether or not you believe anything else I have written about is true, know that this idea absolutely works.

Another way of thinking about how words can affect emotions is to think about the idea of changing your attitude. If you are frustrated or depressed it is very likely that you would describe your current situation with words that express that. When you focus on changing your attitude what do you do? You look for different ways to “look at” the situation – you are looking for different words for your feelings. This is one of the things that excites me most about this particular part Awaken the Giant Within. It is giving me tools to achieve desired goals instead of trying to just “do it” through pure mental capacity.

Metaphors and idioms are even more powerful than single words in there ability to create images and stir emotions emotions. A recent commercial for 5-Hour Energy is a rather comical example.

The commercial is not much more than a steady stream of metaphor and common idioms. Even though I find the commercial humorous, I can not watch it without being affected emotionally by it. Who doesn’t want to “knock it out of the park”? Never mind that you don’t know what “it” is, don’t you want to hit it? So remember, be careful about how you describe things today. It will make more of an impact than you may think.


What Did I Learn Today?

I recognized how much I am loving my life right now. It’s mostly working outside during the day, then getting ready to move at night before I write, but it is wonderful.

What Did I Contribute or Improve?

Not really sure I did anything to improve myself today – other than continue to post which I guess is improving my writing ability. That seems a little like cheating though.

What Did I Enjoy?

I really enjoyed all the time I had for introspection at work today. I was basically alone with my thoughts for eight hours. It was very relaxing.


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