When things seem to be going quite awry, we shift into extreme mode. Our language shifts that way also. Language has a way of making tough times tougher, especially when what is said sounds plausible in the current context.
Many times when I encounter clients in extremis, a substantial measure of their angst is language inflicted. While things can indeed be as bad as they seem, often they are not, but language is making life tougher than it has to be.
Angst brings out desperation in many ways, and expression is one of them. The process by which we learn to use moderate language is a process by which we can teach ourselves to just calm down. Desperation does not help solve problems, and extreme language gets in the way of remediation.
I recall many situations that could be used for illustration, but they all involve specific companies. Thankfully there is one current crisis that everyone is familiar with in which people are using extreme language to push an extreme agenda. Let’s use that as our teaching tool this time.
The “stimulus package” is being falsely characterized by its opponents as an approach to kick starting the economy that will have to be repaid on the backs of our children. Nothing could be farther from the truth. History provides good evidence of that.
We faced the same circumstances under Roosevelt in trying to end the great depression in the 1930s. All the chemistry was present that we are now dealing with. The extreme government spending to stimulate the economy and moderate the suffering was similarly characterized.
Future generations were not weighed down with repayment obligations. The economy rebounded and expanded. The economic growth that ensued expanded financial capabilities, and the growth produced not only re-employment, but the wherewithal to deal with what had to be done to make it happen.
We all know that following the extreme spending to end the great depression Americans became the wealthiest nation on earth, not a nation of weighed down wage slaves burdened by the residue of depression stimulus.
So too will our economy again enter expansive mode and provide the requisite wealth for us to deal with the results of this spending and provide opportunity for renewed wealth. Our children will no more be burdened and bent down by this debt than we were who followed in the years from Roosevelt forward.
The extreme language agenda folks are not doing anyone any favors with their terrible rhetoric.
Similarly, if your company is facing crisis, it is very valuable for you to find the way not to make your circumstances worse by resort to language that does not help remediate and that increases your emotional suffering. It is a way to give yourself a better chance at faster recovery and to be kinder to yourself when you most need to receive kindness from any quarter.