You know that person that uses the word always in association with a negative sentence? You know that person that says
‘bad stuff always happens to me’
‘something always goes wrong, no matter how hard I try’
‘I always feel like this’
Did you know that using this seemingly harmless word (for those that are interested it’s called a universal quantifier) it creates a sense of permanency.
In reality, bad stuff doesn’t always happen and neither does everything always go wrong, if you are one of those people and were to take stock of the actual events in your life then you’ll probably see that you have ups and downs the same as the rest of us.
By saying always you’re entering into a realm of altered reality – a hallucination of a not very nice kind if you’d prefer to see it this way. A version of reality where your life sucks and there is no happiness, effort is futile, trying to enjoy something is pointless as its bound to go wrong soon – sound familiar?
What you say, both out loud and to yourself matters – it matters hugely - we already know that our own voice creates and moulds our behaviours. Spend some time just checking out your use of these kinds of words.
Universal Quantifiers are generalisations that exaggerate the truth and if used in conjunction with a negative can give the illusion that life is no good, the opposite is also true.
all, every, always, never, any, everybody, nobody, no one‘
By making little changes, when we notice ourselves using these kinds of words with negative connotations, we can alter our own version of reality – after all that is what life is – our own experiences recorded as an entity in its own right and rarely shared by others (notice I didn’t use never). Changing those statements made above to:
‘sometimes, bad stuff happens to me’
‘things sometimes go wrong, no matter how hard I try’
‘I sometimes feel like this’
Just by changing the sentence slightly the whole feel of it changes and opens our minds to a different version of reality where sometimes things go wrong, sometimes they don’t, which means sometimes they go well. Sometimes I feel like this (depressed for example) which then opens our minds to the reality that sometimes we don’t feel depressed therefore how do we feel?
You never know, you may end up using this to your advantage:
I always have a good laugh, every day.
If I feel down, I always bounce back.
When things go wrong, I always try and put them right.
You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to make small changes and benefit from big positive shifts in your mental wellbeing. Change the disempowerment of always into the empowerment of always.