Raise your hand if you’ve ever consciously caught yourself abusing the pronoun “I”. I will be willing to bet that most of you still haven’t raised your hands, why? Simple, most people fail to realize how important the word is, when they use it to communicate with others -and most importantly- with themselves. Well, there’s good news: after reading this small article you maybe more watchful of the words that cross your mind, and you’ll surely pay more attention as to how you utilize the most powerful pronoun of them all. Read on, and we’ll walk through how to use it properly, right now in this very article. Ready? Let’s dive in.
Before you start diving into the proper use of the pronoun I, you need to get the story straight. Just like clay, before molding and properly playing with it, we need to establish the proper definition for “I”:
Definition of: I
pronoun, nominative: I
1. the nominative singular pronoun, used by a speaker in referring to himself or herself.
“accept me for what I am”
In a few words, you use the nominative singular pronoun I, to define yourself. Can you fully grasp the importance of the last sentence? It is paramount that you do, since within it is the heart to this article. From time to time, we all tend to equate ourselves to our negative emotions, e.g.: “I am mad,” “I am frustrated,” “I am sick and tired,” etc. Other times we tend to project ourselves onto our negative emotions, e.g.: “I hate (X),” “I despise (X),” “I fear (X),” etc. In many instances we define ourselves by our problems and/or the exaggerations of our tribulations, struggles and defects, e.g.: “I am a looser,” “I am an idiot,” “I am poor,” “I am a lazy, fat, good for nothing…,” etc. And finally, we have a habit of doubling down on our displeasure with ourselves and our present situation, e.g.: “I hate myself,” etc.
The problem with such negative self-talk is that whatever we associate to “I”, defines our reality. If we have predicted our actuality, and we are congruent with it (with our thoughts, emotions, attitude, syntax and actions), you better believe that we will do whatever it takes to fulfill it. How you feel about something has little to do with what is happening externally, and a lot to do with the meaning you are giving it. That is the reason why we must always be vigilant of our language, and most notably our use of the pronoun I.
So what can you do to solve this symbolic (as in linguistic) obstacle, with real consequences? First, disassociate yourself from your emotions, troubles, desires. Remind yourself that you are NOT your thoughts, feelings, reactions, actions, and state(s); by telling yourself: “I am not (x), I am (insert your name),” and right after take a deep breath (repeat the process 5 times at the most). In my case that would be: “I am not depression, I am Ricardo.” Last, but certainly not least, if you catch yourself making an erroneous association, don’t castigate yourself; again, just recognize that you are not that which you just have described. Then, say a catch phrase like: “cancel-cancel” (The Silva Control Method) whilst you take an imaginary eraser and expunge the phrase from your mind.
I hope that this article has helped you, and that from now on you will be observant of how you use and what you put after the pronoun “I.” Mark my words, if you make it a purpose to follow such discipline; your quality of life will increase substantially. Until next time AZ Latinos. I bid you farewell and wish you the best.
Ricardo de Manzo y Flores