The Language Of Stress

the language of stress

You´re making me stress out!

You make me Sad.

We hear these statements regularly in our everyday conversations.  This type of sentence structure is built into the fabric of our culture and belief systems.  It’s in the lyrics of every Country Western song.

Big Life Questions

If these powerful phrases are true, then who is in control of your emotions and your inner life?

You or the other person or situation?

Are they truly responsible for your feelings?

I suggest that “You make me ____ anything” is a formula for the Big V...

or, as I call it, voluntary victim because you have given your power away!

Is it any wonder that so many people give up on their relationships and themselves?  What’s the use if everyone else is in charge of my emotions?

Wait!  If this is so prevalent in our society, what keeps it going?  

There must be some  benefit here or we wouldn’t do it, right?!

What could it be?

Try this on for size, but don’t wear it unless it fits.

The benefit is we get to blame the other person or institution for all our self-imposed misery and failure.  And for a bonus we get to abdicate all responsibility for our reactions and our feelings.

Is It Just Me

.... or is this ringing a bell for you, too?

Unfortunately, it’s part of our societal makeup.

So, if this is woven into our automatic cultural patterning, then what hope is there of escaping from this destructive collective belief system?

By the way, what’s the first letter of the word Belief and the first letter of the word System?  That’s right: BS. Because a lot of our beliefs are outmoded, totally untrue and desperately in need of reexamination.

So,  what can we do? 

I’m glad you asked me that question.

We can TAKE BACK CONTROL & RESPONSIBILITY for our attitudinal feeling states.

BUT How?

Beginning Step

Speak in “I” messages...

“I feel _________,” rather than, “You make me feel ________________.”

Even somewhat causal, “When you do such-and-such, I feel _____________ .”

Say these phrases out loud and see how you feel in your body when others are responsible for your feeling state versus when you are claiming responsibility for yourself.  

Which one is powerless and which one feels powerful?

Now, who is in charge again? And what message are you then sending to your body/mind/spirit complex about who and how you are?

Another healthy by-product is that you are letting other people off the hook of being responsible for your happiness. What a relief for them to no longer be “made responsible” by you!

This is how we begin to change and start to take radical responsibility for how we express our feelings and beliefs to ourselves and to others in our very language.

What a great gift to our children to model for them a healthier mindset and break away from our cultural automaticity in this area.

And yet, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Taking It A Tick Deeper

Can you think of any other everyday language examples that are “Hiding in Plain Sight” stressors.  Start listening to what you say and how you feel when you are saying it.


About the Author William Holt

William Holt is the go-to coach and trainer for executive women wanting to transition to coaching as a way of sharing their professional expertise with the world. He is also the creator of the Holt Coaching Method as well as the founder and leader of the LinkedIn Group - Executive Women´s Growth Forum.

follow me on: