The words you choose can help you fly high or bring you down low. While many four-letter words are colorful expletives and fun to speak or hear, what is the real purpose of using them in a business environment, or even at home?
In other words, why do so many of us love the words that are like exclamation points?
Interesting fact: As far as our brains are concerned, swear works aren't even words. Think of them as concentrated lumps of emotion. They are even stored in a completely different part of the brain from every other word we know.
Swearing is often cathartic. It frees us from the feelings of anger and frustration that stay inside and allows us to demonstrate how upset we are.
Often, people swear to ease emotional pain. Being rejected activates the area in the brain associated with physical pain. Swearing can diminish the hurt and shame, at least for the moment, and make you feel better.
Another reason for swearing is that many of us are so loyal to others that we're willing to take the bullet for them. Thus, you say what they are thinking and say it loud and dramatically. In this instance, you get the wagging finger pointing at you and the one who is mad and embarrassed can simply stand in the background and nod his or her head.
It can also be used as a surprise tactic. It says, "I'm here and you better pay attention to me."
How do we choose what words and when? It used to be that words were chosen depending on the group we were with and our relationship to that group.
There is locker room talk, as well as powder room talk. The tendency is to be less potty-mouthed in mixed company. At least, until recently, that was the way we were trained.
An interesting fact is that people who swear more score higher on personality tests for extroversion, hostility, and being a super achiever.
Swearing knows no social boundaries. It's universal and gender neutral.
Now, what are the four-letter words that can replace the f-you and d-head ways of responding?
It's simple. When you are mad as heck, take some deep breaths, and wait. Use my five-second-breath method to stop, before you speak.
Then do what I call a pattern interrupt.
Find some other four-letter words that can have a positive effect on the situation. Consider the other person who hears you. Telling him what a d**k he is does what? It only creates more anger.
One of the best words I know is ... hope. It conjures up the images of possibilities of a better way. Even when things seem impossible, saying that you hope there is a better way will often make someone reconsider the negatives and maybe, just maybe, help (another great word) turn the situation around.
The words good, like, feel, and, yes, that much overused word love, in the right context, can sooth even the most savage and annoying person.
I'd love to hear what your favorite four-letter words are that can help make situations flow (ah, another great word).
Maybe we can change the world, one four-letter word at a time.
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