Language Helps Make Things Happen

13 April, 2020
Language helps us make things happen because it has the power to transform reality. It drives individuals to action and, in turn, allows them to clarify who they are.

Language helps make things happen because it has power. Think about it for a second. Thanks to language, you’re not only able to describe reality but also make it. Words are never neutral. On the contrary, they leave a mark and drive individuals to action. In addition to this, your voice either creates bonds or distances, makes ideas clear, and allows you to outline your identity and show it to the world.

Well-known philosopher, mathematician, and linguist Ludwig Wittgenstein used to say that language sets the limits of the world. This expression can be somewhat disturbing at first. However, it contains curious evidence. In all honesty, the words you use every day describe the reality you live in.

For example, people call the children who have lost their parents “orphans”. They also call the women who have lost their husbands “widows”. Nonetheless, in many of the languages of the world, there isn’t a word for parents who have lost their children or for those individuals who have suffered the loss of a sibling. ​​

Therefore, there’s a void in our current reality; there are circumstances and invisible sufferings that have no name but still occur every day in any part of the world. Furthermore, we all experience emotions that have no name. We experience feelings, concerns, and pleasures that don’t always have a dictionary entry.

Contemplating details in nature and in daily life and being unable to express them verbally is completely normal. It’s as if we’re incapable of finding a word for them. For this reason, we often wonder if someone else has felt the same way and if it’s legal to experience something that doesn’t “exist”.

A girl walking with balloons on her hands.

Language helps make things happen: decrees you must follow

Language helps make things happen. However, for them to occur, you must carry out certain steps or strategies that will allow you to create change and create a happier reality for yourself. As we mentioned, not being able to give something a name is common. This, of course, produces uncertainty. For some reason, humans feel the need to give everything a name in order to know how to deal with things.

Moreover, something that linguists state is that language doesn’t determine thought. In other words, as we already pointed out, many sensations and experiences have yet to be translated into words. However, something that we do know from a psychological standpoint is that language encourages action. Language helps make things happen but you have to implement the following decrees.

First decree: your language describes you

Paul Anwandter, a well-known author of several books on coaching and an expert in neurolinguistic programming, points out the following. Human beings create themselves through language. You are what you say about yourself, you are what you say you’re going to do, and you are the way you communicate with others. Also, you are what you choose to keep quiet and what you choose to tell.

Now that you know this, you have an opportunity within your reach. You can, in fact, transform yourself through language. For this, try the following:

  • You must speak to yourself in a positive and respectful way. Dr. Kristin Nef from the University of Texas conducted a study that indicated that affectionate communication with yourself strengthens your identity and self-esteem.
  • Also, you must respectfully communicate with others. What you give to others will have an impact on you. All parties are bound to be affected by bad words, not just the receiver.
  • On the other hand, it’s vital to be consistent. If you want to make a change in yourself, make sure your language is in tune with that goal. Avoid bringing yourself down with words. Don’t tell yourself things such as “I can’t do this” or “Everyone’s better than me”. Words are more powerful than you think.
A man looking directly into a small lightbulb.

Second decree: language transforms and creates your own reality

Language helps make things happen because it has the power to transform everything around you. In addition, it creates possibilities, reassures you in your position, and motivates you to be persistent. To understand this idea in a better way, read the following examples.

  • Language equals action because it determines thought. “Tomorrow, I’ll enroll in that workshop”, “Tomorrow, I’ll call that person to schedule an appointment”, or “Today, I’m going to tell my boss that I won’t put up with his attitude any longer”. Said examples will encourage you to meet those goals.
  • Language creates possibilities. On one hand, if you say “no” to someone, you’re closing a door in your life that could’ve been just what you needed. On the other hand, if you say “yes” to a project, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to create a new path.
A woman and a man talking about how language helps make things happen.

Third decree: trust and action

If you want to create change, if you aspire to be better, solve a problem, or reach a goal, you’re going to need an internal compass. Now, this compass must be calibrated towards that North where confidence collides with action. If you’re not 100% committed with your goals, you won’t be consistent and persistent, which is exactly how you should be if you want to make a difference in your life.

Language helps make things happen as long as you’re brave. You must be willing to claim what you want fearlessly. Make sure you know what you don’t want so that you don’t get things mixed up. Give yourself the opportunity to persevere by encouraging yourself through positive words.

To conclude, don’t ever hesitate to name what you feel and want. Language is the best instrument for action. Thus, you must use it in order to build better relationships and heal problems. Remember to be consistent with what you think and do.

  • Echevarría, Rafael (2012) Ontología del lenguaje. JC Sáez Editor
  • Fausey CM et al. (2010): Constructing Agency: The Role of Language. Front Psychol 1:162.
  • Bylund E & Athanasopoulos P (2017): The Whorfian Time Warp: Representing Duration Through the Language Hourglass. J Exp Psychol Gen. 146(7):911-916.