Comment: The more common ways in which we display reduced awareness, and also trap ourselves in pain.
MacQuarrie Email Program #16 — More Sloppy Language
In Email #15 — Sloppy Language, I suggested that the major language indicator that demonstrates that people are functioning from reduced awareness (and hence more likely to be angry) is the word should. There are a number of other indicators.
There are six more areas that I consider especially important:
1) I don’t know, 2) I can’t, 3) I’ll try,
4) maybe, 5) Why,? and 6) I wish.
As with the previous email, your task in this email is to pay detailed attention to your language for a few days (you might want to do it for six months). You could, for example, choose one area (of the six to be covered) as a focus for the day. Please use the Checkbox of Change (Email #11) or some other tool to do so. Once a day, pick an example and journal about it. Again, play with the suggestions I am making in this email, and explore what differences occur.
As noted also, I have long maintained that if an individual will give meticulous attention to his or her language for six months, that individual will dramatically change his or her life for the better. By meticulous attention, I mean that the individual will listen closely to both his or her spoken and internal language, changing the necessary wording to more accurate statements (examples below). Warning: changing your language will radically change your life — amongst many other aspects, you may find you need to change many of your friends.
I don’t know: As applied to the external world, there are many things I don’t know, and there are a lot of things about which I know only a little. However, most of the time when I say “I don’t know,” I am referring to my inner thoughts or experience (e.g., “I don’t know what I am going to do today”) — and when “I don’t know,” I often stop thinking about the subject.
If I don’t know what is happening to me, no one else does either! And no one else can determine what is happening to me — it is my responsibility to know myself! If I want power-strength-wisdom-freedom, it is also essential that I know myself! I know of no other way to obtain these, but to find out. So, when you hear yourself answer “I don’t know,” you need to pay attention to the (possibly) hidden truth of the underlying answer.
I can’t: With rare exceptions, the word “can’t” is a misnomer; what I am really saying is that, if I were to do the action (which I most likely can), then I would … (be afraid, be hurt, be angry, lose money, et cetera), and I don’t want this outcome.
I “won’t” is a more accurate word for this choice. Sometimes the word “can’t” is accurate. I can’t live on a planet in another star system — we don’t have the technology for me to get there and still be alive. In contrast, I can live on the planet Mars; we do have the technology, but I do not wish to spend my life attempting to make this possible (therefore I won’t).
I’ll try: “I’ll try” is also a misnomer in that it frequently becomes an excuse for ‘not doing,’ not making a commitment (that I will keep!). If I have never done something before, my attempt is an experiment ,and still a doing; I may not succeed at my expectation, and yet I will gain valuable feedback in my attempt. If I have done the task before, even without success, I know what to expect (perhaps how difficult the task is).
‘Trying’ (without proper preparation and action) is an excuse. As noted by Yoda in Star Wars: There is no try!
Maybe: Maybe — do I want to? My energy goes to what I want, not what I should (which activates that part of me that says “I don’t want to!”) “Maybe” as applied to my inner world simply means I am too lazy to take the time to know myself! And I also disconnect from my own authentic experience, my truth-testing. If I give attention to my actual experience, I can know myself!
Again, I pay attention to the hidden truth. “Maybe” as applied to the external world means I am too lazy, perhaps not willing to take time to know myself, or more commonly not willing to be engaged in commitment. Neither lead to effectiveness in my life.
So — I have choice! I need to choose! I should choose!! Maybe!! I don’t know if I can!! I can’t!! But I’ll try.
Why?: “Why?” can be a very important question; the answer may allow me to change my actions to obtain a better outcome. But many times, it is a trap — it can be an endless question, as young children often demonstrate. In addition, the answer that one receives is often an excuse. Excuses are not useful in getting better outcomes — such excuses rarely offer practical options for getting what I want; they rarely address my needs.
I have also known people who were so caught in “why?” that they would not move forward in their lives until they found the answer that they wanted, an endless question. I remember one person who repeatedly asked “Why do I abuse my children the way I do?” The answer was obvious: he (the individual could have been ‘she’) was simply copying the pattern he learned from his father. When I told him this, he recognized it as true — but he could not really hear the answer (it would require that he change), and he continued to treat his children the same way as was his pattern, still asking “why?” —sad, and stuck.
The authentic answer to “why?” is not in the answer, but in: “When will I be satisfied with the answer?” If, when I ask, the answer I receive is practical and addresses my needs, I will usually be satisfied. If the answer is not practical and/or does not address my needs, then I need to ask a more practical question, usually preceded by “how” or “what.” Personally, when I ask “Why?,” and after the second asking I have not received a practical answer, I stop asking. I then move on to seek more effective resolution in some other fashion.
I wish: There is a major difference between wishes and goals. Wishes are exciting, generally vague, and usually I can tell you why I don’t have “it” in my life, perhaps with excuses or explanations. I may also regret, or somehow create, a negative experience from this.
Goals are planned directions, planned in that I know what I want and how to get it, what I have to do and when. The RPMs of goals are realistic, practical, measurable and specific (Email #1)! When I am living a goal, it is likely that I am also excited and looking forward, able to celebrate when I am finished (or having reached a significant milestone on the path). I can also change direction when necessary.
A basic question is: To what extent do I live my life as wishes compared to goals? Both are useful at times.
- Question: Given all the sloppy language in your life, your own and that of others, how do you wish to live your life? You have choice.
Coming next: Blocks To Awareness