Could it be my language?
Why am I always finding myself in a fight?
Is it the language I use?
The words you use become the house you live in.
My house (life) has been a combat zone for decades. Why? Even when I am specifically aiming to avoid conflict, conflict finds its way to my door. Is it happenstance? I certainly do not go out deliberately courting disruption or disputes, so why?
Hit back: The language of war
So I’ll put my hand up and admit as a child I was taught to stand up for myself and did so readily after I found out how effective it could be…Peace at last…Temporarily! In about 3rd grade my Mum, frustrated from a continual string of torn shirts and sundry bruises remonstrated with me “why don’t you hit them back?” So, I did, and it worked. Later I learned I didn’t even have to delve to physical levels I could just get angry and my size and vocal volume would do the rest…burnt earth in all directions…Peace at last…Temporarily! And at a hell of a cost.
It might sound like I am “blaming” my poor old Mum; I’m not I am merely telling my truth my way and she is part of my story. The truth is I am descended from Vikings who raided and settled in Scotland. Then Crofters who were raided and purged by the English driving my family to Northern Ireland and from there they left to get away from “troubles”. I am a product of intergenerational violence, as is my Mum, as are so many of us and the genes and memes we have reflect this. Key amongst those memes is the language that we use or more specifically I use and the level of comfort with such language that, I have discovered, is not shared by others.
I had an idyllic childhood and yet I like every other human alive today have been programmed by the trauma in my life (relative as that may be). My norms have been derived from my family and the language with which I am comfortable with is also a “gift” from those who taught me to speak…My family and I have passed these “gifts” to my children. AND it has to stop! The language of war is not helping me live in peace.
Warlike language doesn’t bring peace
Tanja has noticed I use war metaphors for nearly everything I set my mind to. When I am planning a business launch, it is a “Campaign”, and I have (note I have to!) to assemble my “weaponry” so as it is at hand when needed. I talk of “fighting” to achieve my aims and of “carrying the day”. I talk of “defensive strategies” and making sure we have our “backs covered”. All of this is the language of war. “The words we use become the house we live in”. It is not just the words I use it is the way in which I use them. I am LOUD! Anyone who knows me knows that and that is not OK. It puts gentle people off me almost automatically.
So, I have asked Tanja and my lovely wife Lucille tell me when I use war language or speak too loudly which I have noticed is attached to anxiety and fear. I can forgive myself because until I became aware of this, I was unaware and have had decades of practice. It has just become my way of going about life. I’m loud, so what? And I didn’t even notice the language. I needed someone to intervene and make me aware. Just like a fish doesn’t see the water it swims in, it’s invisible to the fish, my largely inherited war language, was invisible to me. Check out Michele Geflands’ work on social norms for more on the subject.
Life is a WIP (Work in Progress). There is always something you can work on to make you better at what you do and how you live. The trick is sometimes you need help to work on you and I am no different. IF I waited until I was perfect before offering what I can it would never happen. Forget your imperfections and live each day being the best YOU, you can muster and go about gifting the world with what you can. Just leave enough room for doubt so as when someone holds up the metaphorical mirrors and says “Hey did you notice…” you have your ears on not your attitude.