Inspect Your Metaphors

You can do it like it’s a great weight on you, or you can do it like it’s a part of a dance. – Ram Dass

How we speak to ourselves is how we frame our world.

Why wouldn’t we want to frame it in more empowering ways?

If there is one skill that can significantly improve our lives, that is taking care of our language.

See how different these two worlds are:

World A: “I am such a loser, why did I even think I could apply for this job?”

World B: “OK, that didn’t go too well. I definitely need to skill up and work on controlling my anxiety better.”

These worlds are our personal hells or something…not-so-hellish at least. It’s what encourages us to try or convinces us we shouldn’t even think about it. It’s what either whispers to us, with empathy, that we are worthy and lovable (even when we suck at something), or what tells us that we’ll never build meaningful friendships and will never be truly loved.

In other words, how we speak to ourselves is everything!

In fact, I think it’s SO important that the three first episodes of my podcast are all on language!

But in this quick article what I want to draw your attention to is what metaphors you happen to use.

“I am stuck.”
“I have cornered myself.”
“It’s this heavy burden I’m carrying.”
“I’m up against this big wall…”


Neurolinguistic programming tells us that there is a lot of power in metaphors. If we repeatedly use a metaphor that is disempowering, it becomes difficult to come up with new ways of seeing the same problem — and without those new options, it’s hard to move forward. Well, what CAN I do with a wall, right?

I like the simple examples Tony Robbins gives in his trainings. “How would you be and how would you see everything if you saw life as a battle?” he asks. “And what about if you saw life as a dance?”

Just hearing that second suggestion makes my shoulders drop, let me tell you. “What if life was a dance indeed?” I dare to whisper to myself as I make this semi-silly face.

And how DO I see my life?

In the metaphors that I use, am I the agent – the doer of action – or am I in some passive role? Do I frame my problems as something that would be ridiculous not to have, or do I present them as some mountains I don’t think I can climb? (plus, add my actual fear of falling from high places, oh my!)

I will reveal to you now that, to hold my “problems” and dilemmas with kindness, I like to see my life as a ride that is sometimes bumpy — but maaaaan the views are beautiful! It is all worth it.

I don’t know what metaphors and expressions you are using in your daily lives. But I would like to encourage you to inspect them.

To see if they serve you.

To see if they empower you.

Inspect those metaphors and replace them with something nicer. Something more playful. Something that doesn’t make you feel small.

There are plenty of external things that make us feel small sometimes — let’s not add to that ourselves.

So cheers to empowering metaphors and not falling from high places, yes!


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