Systemic Language: What it is and What it Does
Even though we are quite unaware of it, we all speak systemic language. In other words, we all speak the languages of the particular systems we’re involved in—our family system, our business system, our cultural system, the sports system we participate in, etc.
Inherited behaviors include language. Every family system has special little “sayings,” that usually go quite unnoticed. For example, (and I bet most of you have heard these!) “Money doesn’t grow on trees” and “You get what you pay for.” Or how about the socially crippling, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” All these sayings affect your money DNA! They shape your thoughts feelings and actions around money.
We don’t realize it, but words matter. Why? Because they can end up driving subconscious limiting beliefs. If you were raised hearing the words “Relationships don’t last,” it’s a strong possibility that you’ll have difficulty creating lasting intimate relationships in your life. And you probably won’t even understand why.
Limiting Belief Examples
Same thing goes with other examples of systemic language. Every profession, every club, and every sport have their insider lingo. Culturally, we taught a lot of catchy phrases, like “No pain, no gain.” (Thank you, Jane Fonda.) Or “Only the good die young.” (Thank you, Billy Joel.) But what a terrible, unconscious patterns to learn to live by!
Sure, there are positive cultural influences. For example, we’re schooled to believe that developing successful habits and successful thinking is how to be successful in life. But we just can’t escape the less healthy cultural influences. A client of mine, Joe, has two boys. He also has a big heart and is easily touched by kindness and even unkindness. He has been careful to model emotional availability to his sons. And yet, recently, when they all were watching a movie and he found himself moved to tears, he was surprised when his oldest boy admonished him, saying “Dad, men don’t cry.”
Joe knows where that comes from, he’s been told it all his life. He also knows that he is strong and successful. And yet he still feels a little shame when he does cry. He asked me, “Is it possible to be fully male and strong and yet cry?”
I said, “Of course! you just have to keep challenging this commonly held, but erroneous assumption, whenever it rears its head. When you do this, not only does it change the situation for you, but for your sons and other men as well.”
How to Change your Thoughts and Feelings ... and Your Life
As we speak so we think and feel. We are teaching our brain to tell our body a story it can believe. When we change a language pattern, we change our thoughts and emotions. Let’s take money as an example. Many of us speak, and thus believe and act, in alignment with money patterns already in existence. For example, we’re taught that having money is vitally important. We’re also taught that having money is bad, wrong, and greedy. We hear the words, “Money is the root of all evil.”
Yikes! How to create a positive mindset around money with those kinds of conflicting truths?
Give your Money DNA a Boost
If you have “money issues,” start carefully monitoring how you talk about money. How often do negative money sayings crop up in your mind? How often do you find yourself saying, “Oh, I can’t afford that” or “I wish I could afford that”?
Your money DNA can be changed by asking yourself a simple question: “What if something different is possible? What if I could afford it?” Right there, you’ve opened the door to a whole new possibility.