You Don’t Say – Vol 31 – by Ray Hudson
Have you ever been warned about something, with the command “don’t,” only to have it happen? How many times have you been commanded to do or not do something for your well-being (even by yourself) yet sub-consciously refused the order?
I have a theory to share with you.
We are creatures of language or action which shapes our reality. As long as thoughts remain unexpressed they are simply daydreams or wishes without real power. When they are brought into reality, by expression or action, our subconscious mind sets about carrying out or responding to the command – literally.
How many times have you heard this phrase; “don’t knock your wine glass over on my good linen table cloth.” Then in the next breath watched someone at the table, maybe even me, knock the wine glass over. I suggest the mind was primed to execute an order that was unintentionally given. Likewise, don’t drop my good china plates, don’t paint the cat, and so on.
Look again at the phrase. After the demand, “don’t” which signaled a command was coming, the next words are “knock your wine glass over.” Voila! As requested, the glass is knocked over, the china dropped and the cat painted.
Becoming more aware of the potential to behave this way, I’ve observed this in the actions of my grandchildren. If I request a behaviour in the negative, ie; “Don’t” do such and such, like don’t drop the dishes, I’m almost certain to see the dishes on the floor. If I turn the request around to the positive, “carefully take the dishes to the sink,” I’m more likely to see the tableware arrive at destination safely.
I believe the same process comes into play when we are commanded to change behaviours such as, stop pulling Jenny’s hair, stop driving so quickly, or stop eating so much. There’s a rebellion button being pushed to respond negatively to what is being commanded, resulting in the very behaviour that was desired to be stopped.
Final point in my theory of mental reactions to wrong commands is the directive to lose weight, or lose some habit such as smoking. I suggest the self-talk, or directive from the doctor, sets us up for failure since we inherently react to the negative words lose or stop. Some little rebellious voice inside says “Oh yeh? You think you can make me do that? Forget it buddy – nobody pushes me around!” I’m suggesting a more positive approach might be more effective in tricking the non-compliant ego: “I will build a healthier body or lifestyle with, better food choices or by not smoking.”
I stopped smoking decades ago, so that’s no longer a problem for me, but as for the food, well, that’s a different kettle of fish. We’ll see how well the new approach works.
I know these are weighty subjects this week, but don’t take my word for it. The proof will be in the pudding, which I definitely don’t want to eat. I’ll let you know how it’s going if I don’t lose my resolve.
If you’d like to share any language issues, irritations, comments or gotcha moments, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org