How our language shape our mental health.
Once my son came from a school in tears and said: “Mum, my teacher told me I am insane”. “Why?” I asked. “Because I didn’t remember the task”. How dare people use rude words and inappropriate linguistic behaviour to speak with us or our children? There is no way for such kind of linguistic behaviour in the modern world. if we want to build a healthy community we have to start with healthy communication with each other.
As a linguist and researcher of linguistic behaviour, I decided to speak about the importance of linguistics in our mental health and well-being. Colleen Vojak wrote: “When used indiscriminately, words can create barriers, misconceptions, stereotypes and labels that are difficult to overcome. Labels can promote separateness and isolation while promoting hierarchical power differentials.” Linguistic behaviour and the power of words shape our reality. When you hear that you are ugly, or not smart enough, or not brave enough, or not successful, all these words create mental health problems as self-doubt, low self-esteem, loneliness, feelings of unhappiness and anxiety.
Today in families and at workplaces, in schools and in the internet we face ungentle, rude linguistic behaviour. How to stop it? First of all, when you hear somebody says something about you that you don’t like, say it. Come and say that you are upset with these words and they hurt you. And never ever let somebody hurt you with words, block it and never let it in. Stop people being rude to you, it’s harmful to the community and to you.
Another harmful way to use linguistic behaviour is self-harm when you say to yourself the words of disgrace. For example “I am stupid”, “I will never get that position” etc. Do you recognise yourself? If yes, change the way you speak about yourself to a more gentle way, be kind to yourself and be respectful. Tell yourself the words of encouragement, support and approve your days with good words, start respecting yourself.
The principal key to appropriate linguistic behaviour that inspires is love. Love is shown in the words of respect and intelligence. The words that express politeness, gratitude and respect are the essential parts of proper linguistic behaviour. Be kind and be gentle with your co-workers, parents, friends, children, on the street and you will get the respect back. Start building a new approach to the way we all communicate and start with the proper linguistic behaviour.