One of the things I learned early in my education as a life coach was the importance of thoughts and words in determining reality. What we think and what we say about ourselves, about our lives, and about the world, determines the energy we send out into the universe and, therefore, how others respond to us. Like attracts like, so if we are sending out the low, dark energy of “I’m tired,” “I always get stuck in traffic,” and “Life is unfair,” and the like, we will attract people and situations with that same low energy.
When we are talking about never getting a good parking spot at the store or the fact that most of our co-workers are unpleasant, we may continue attracting poor parking spots and grumpy co-workers, but our core identity will probably not be shaken. However, when we say things like “I am such a loser,” “I am an awful mother,” “I’m so fat,” or “I’m just not good enough,” we do devastating damage to our souls. If we continue to think and speak negatively about ourselves over time, we will find that we have eroded our self-esteem and extinguished our inner light.
Why is this so? How can making a seemingly insignificant remark about being tired all the time affect our spirit? The reason these negative thoughts and words are so damaging to us has much to do with the English language itself. I will explain. In an earlier life, I earned a degree in English. My favorite part of my studies was grammar. Don’t tune out, I’m not going to make you diagram a sentence! But I think if you can understand what it really means to say “I am,” it will help you think and speak about yourself in a more productive way.
The verb “to be” in all its forms – am, is, are, was, were, be, and been – is what we call a linking verb. The verb is like an equal sign. What you put on one side of it is the same as what’s on the other side. So when you say, “I am tired,” you are equating yourself – your inner spirit, soul, identity, core – with the entire concept of “tired.” You are saying that tiredness is your identity. YOU are TIRED. What does that do to you? I could get all scientific and talk for hours about energetic frequencies of words, vibrations of positive and negative thoughts, and on and on until tomorrow, but you already know from experience that you somehow feel more tired when you say you’re tired. You are likely to attract yawning, a run-down feeling, and even a nap if you’re not careful. You also know that you feel good when you say things like “I am grateful,” “I am happy,” and “I am beautiful.” Those phrases attract smiles and warm, fuzzy feelings.
So you may be asking yourself, “Gee, I wonder if the “to be” verb in other languages is the same?” Okay, you are probably not asking that. But I’m going to tell you anyway. I’ve studied a few other languages besides English, and I can tell you that at least in the case of Spanish, saying “I’m tired” has a different meaning. In Spanish, you can say that you are tired without tying your identity to yawns and low energy. This is because Spanish has two “to be” verbs! One verb, “ser,” is like our “to be” verb. Spanish speakers use ser when they want to indicate something about themselves that is intrinsic, constant, or permanent, such as ethnicity, gender, relationship to others, or even occupation. “Soy Mexicana” means, “I am Mexican.” “Soy la hija de ella” means, “I am her daughter,” and so on. When a Spanish speaker wants to indicate their current, changeable and temporary condition, they use the verb “estar.” “Estoy cansada” means “I am currently feeling tired.” “Estoy enojada” means “I am angry at this moment.” Because the subconscious mind of a Spanish speaker understands that the use of the verb “estar” indicates a temporary condition only, the words do not have a damaging effect on the spirit.
We all need to be more careful about what we say about ourselves – no matter what language we speak. We should speak positively about our appearance, our character, our jobs, our daily life, and our world. But those of us who speak English need to pay special attention to the words we say after “I am.” These are powerful words that affect how we see ourselves and how others see us. If you are feeling frutstrated, depressed, angry, or even tired, learn to use different words. Say “I currently feel sad, but I’m good at finding lessons in my trials.” Or say, “I always have lots of energy, so if I feel tired I know I can rest awhile and keep going.” If these suggestions don’t work, I recommend that you learn Spanish!