Transformational Vocabulary:
“I’m angry, totally confused, and an emotional mess over these overwhelming problems.”

"Alpha" by Mimi Stuart
Live the Life you Desire

Feelings are warning signals to look at things differently or to change a particular course of action. However, magnifying your emotions can paralyze you and prevent needed action.

The vocabulary you use to describe your emotions colors the way you feel. Thus, Tony Robbins coined the term “transformational vocabulary,” to describe how by using different words, you can change the intensity of the emotions you feel and how you perceive the events in your life.

If instead of saying that you are “angry” or “enraged,” you described yourself as being “disappointed” or “irritated,” the heat of the emotion would actually diminish. The feeling of disappointment is less devastating than anger. Disappointment encourages you to change your expectations to match reality, whereas anger and outrage invite you to dwell in the heat of the emotion.

How would you feel if you thought of yourself as “puzzled” rather than as “an emotional mess and totally confused?” Instead of implying helplessness, being “puzzled” invites an attitude of curiosity and solution-seeking.

Rather than being overwhelmed, what if you framed your situation as a “need to refocus?” If you called your problems “challenges” rather than “problems,” that would imply that they can be more easily overcome.

Reframing the fear you may feel into a healthy concern would result in your anxiety being less likely to turn against you.

The point is not to minimize or ignore feelings. Emotions usually occur for a good reason and it’s important to pay attention to them as a warning about a potential hazard in your life. But you don’t want to overplay your emotions to the point where they incapacitate you rather than help you.

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

Reference: Tony Robbins on Transformational Vocabulary.

Read “Disappointment: I’m so disappointed. How could she?”

Read “Flexibility: My negative emotions bring me down. I tend to dwell in feeling hurt or angry.”