Today we have an unprecedented ability to connect to other human beings via the Internet and other mediums and yet many of us are feeling lonely, isolated and dissatisfied with our human relationships. According to the World Health Organization, the number of people suffering from depression and/or anxiety has increased by nearly 50% in the last 15 years, especially in areas that are heavily populated. Yet it doesn’t have to be this way.
The human condition
All human beings yearn for connection, thriving relationships and a joyful life. We are wired for connection; our brain development and the health of our nervous system thrive when our needs for connection are met. We feel connected when we feel heard, seen, understood and loved. When we experience all these feelings we are more creative, resourceful, generous, calm, and resilient.
I believe all human beings have the capacity to experience what we long for if we have the tools to connect with others and develop satisfying relationships. I also believe we can acquire these tools even if we did not receive them in our childhood. Feeling connected and reaping the benefits does not solely depend on how others relate to you. In fact, the sense of connection has to do mostly with how you engage with yourself, with life and with others.
How language shapes our lives
You may have heard that if you want a fulfilling life you need to change your thoughts. However, you cannot change your thoughts without understanding the primary tool you use to make sense of the world: Language. The language we speak is the most frequent and influential tool for understanding and relating to yourself, life and others. Our language and the way we use it in communication, both in our internal language as well as how we engage with others, is instrumental in fostering or thwarting our experience of connection.
If we do not investigate our language, we tend to be ruled by habitual thought patterns that can undermine our efforts at connection, meaning and happiness. Often we perpetuate the communication patterns we have inherited, which reflect the conditioned patterns, beliefs and assumptions of our family and culture, because we haven’t experienced other ways of relating. In fact, the language you use might be influencing you in a direction opposite to fulfilling your deepest wishes. You may wish for harmony, but the language you use leads you to heated arguments, thus leading you to experience a prevalent sense of disharmony in your life.
Breaking out of habitual communication
When we keep responding to our circumstances and our relationships in the same way we have since our younger developmental years, we are not communicating authentically or consciously; we are communicating habitually. When we are habitual we have no choices, no options for a different outcome, no possibility of transformation. However, communication is a creative process with no set formula. We can learn to speak from our heart and let our conversations unfold without having to know exactly the right thing to do or say.
I teach tools for relating to others authentically through a method called Language Alchemy. I use the metaphor of alchemy to represent transforming our “base” language, habitual communication patterns, emotional states and judgments into the “gold” of conscious communication that lead to connection, authenticity and compassionate understanding. Language Alchemy integrates practices and insights from many sources including neurobiology, psychology, yoga and non-dualistic spiritual traditions, in order to help people develop mindful communication skills, engage in empathic self-inquiry and recognize and replace unhelpful unconscious communication patterns.
When individuals, couples and organizations integrate Language Alchemy in their daily lives, they communicate with clarity, authenticity and integrity. They acquire the tools to connect to their core values and essential nature. From this place of self-connection they thrive by achieving their desired goals while developing conscious and satisfying human connection. I have witnessed numerous clients and course participants go through this alchemical journey and transform every aspect of their lives. In fact, when alchemists were on the search of the “philosopher’s stone” they were in reality pursuing something beyond the transformation of base metal into gold; they were seeking inner transformation.
This process of course takes practice, commitment and support. I invite you to harness the transformative power of language to live the life you want!