This has been a remarkable period in the world – remarkably challenging, remarkably volatile, and remarkably sad. After living through months of fear and uncertainty due to COVID-19, the U.S. – and the world – has been traumatized by the brutal murder of George Floyd by a white police officer, energizing a global movement of unprecedented unity and solidarity — Black Lives Matter. 

We have arrived at a tipping point of historical magnitude, one that will lead to long-overdue transformation. I am reminded of Frederick Douglass’s sage words:

“It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.”

The world is ready for a revolutionary metamorphosis. We know through research that any sustainable transformation requires a sea-change, a radical paradigm shift that germinates out of courage, fortitude, perseverance, and passion—these are the seeds of change.

Learn to Communicate in Meaningful Ways

During times of profound change, learning how to interact and effectively communicate with others is exceedingly important. Finding ways to engage with others in a positive manner can build connections and strengthen relationships.

There are clearly times when being silent is appropriate, such as during prayer, meditation, or times of introspection. However, when faced with important issues or circumstances, silence does not lead to a constructive path forward. Contrarily, silence sends a clear message—one of ambivalence or worse, lack of concern or empathy.

Words matter. The language you use has broad ramifications and lasting impact.

Many people are afraid to have open conversations, fearful that they will say the wrong thing. But saying nothing implies feeling nothing, and unless you feel, you cannot heal. Never has conveying compassion and respect for others been more important.

The bridge to healthy, open communication begins with examining your thoughts and the language you use to express them, as well as understanding the effect of your words. As a writer and empath, I find that a great way to have friendly, open dialogue is to find a common theme with another person.

The best way to do this is to ask questions and take an earnest and nonjudgmental interest in the person’s response.

Learn A New Language: The Language of Self-Worth

If you have struggled with what to say or how to engender connections with others, you can choose to learn a new language—The Language of Self-Worth.

I developed this concept to teach my clients how to transpose their thoughts from negative to positive. As you develop a positive vocabulary for yourself by raising your own sense of worthiness, you will then be able to use this new language in conversations with others.

Learning The Language of Self-Worth involves adopting new words that are unfamiliar, foreign, may even feel a stretch at first. When you feed your brain with positive and inspiring words, you will develop a comfort level and the confidence to engage with others in a courteous and respectful manner.

As you acquire a new vocabulary, you train your brain to speak in a new optimistic, loving manner. Through the science of neuroplasticity, the brain’s capacity to create new neural pathways, you will soon be facile in this language.

Any sustainable change must be intentional. It is a conscious and conscientious process. If you are genuine in your desire to connect with others, learn to use words that are supportive, compassionate, kind, sensitive, and enlightened.

Here are a few tips to learning The Language of Self-Worth:

1. Self-awareness is key. Be mindful of your thoughts and emotions before you speak. Rather than having a knee-jerk reaction to a comment, pause, breathe deeply, and choose words that add value to a conversation. When you are self-aware, you have the ability to transform a harsh or negative message into one that is neutral or open-ended. Train yourself to maintain composure and calm.

2. Listen attentively. Engage with others by seeking common ground. Listen closely and respond respectfully. Find a subject you both share and focus on this commonality. It could be that you both love dogs, enjoy cooking, are exercise enthusiasts, or enjoy similar music.

3. Practice your new language by using it throughout the day, especially during stressful or taxing situations. Just as you would learn any new skill, practice often and apply it to your daily life.

4. Diffuse Difficult Conversations. Dilute tension by conveying kindness, warmth, and concern. Learn to be the calming person during a discussion who dissolves tension by using phrases such as, I am listening.  You are making a strong point. Please let me help you. I stand by you, even if my opinion is different.

5. The brain thrives on acquiring new information. With practice, repetition, with the passion that enables sustainable change, anyone can learn to speak out of love. Soon this unfamiliar language will become second nature. As your thoughts evolve, so will your emotions as well as your capacity to handle sensitive conversations and situations with aplomb.

By adopting The Language of Self-Worth, you can be an instrumental force for change and a source of harmony and peace that is vital to our world.