From Appendix I of "The Magic Words", by Jon Lovgren

In the Beginning Is the Word

We often underestimate the power of our words. I remember growing up and hearing,

“Be careful with your words, they are the one thing you can never take back.”

I want to focus on a few of the most common words that hold us back from being all we can be.

“Try”, “Can’t”, “Should”, and “Have to”.

I always liked the definition of try: “Failing with dignity.” I believe that to be an accurate metaphor. And of course, a discussion of try would not be complete without the quote from Yoda, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

I decided to eliminate “try” from my vocabulary a few years ago. Cannot do it; however, I almost always catch myself and correct it immediately. When I catch myself saying “try,” I immediately replace it with “do my best …”

It is difficult to see how this could make a difference, but I have noticed a big difference at work since I have stopped trying. I used to say I will try to get that report done by whatever date and was always scrambling at the end to get it done on time. When I began replacing try with do my best, “I will do my best to get it to you then,” I now am always early or right on time – without having to scramble at the end.

Try also has a tendency to place us in a blaming state. “Well, I tried, but yada yada yada – excuses. Remember, when we live a ho’oponopono lifestyle, live pono, there are no more excuses.

I implore you to eliminate the word try from your vocabulary. No, it’s not likely you will be able to eradicate it completely; however, catching and replacing it as soon as you say it does work very well.

And … doing this will reinforce the fourth agreement: Always Do Your Best.

Try it out! LoL

Can’t is rarely ever true. We have been so programmed with it and it has become so commonplace that we do not even think about what we are saying.

Nine times out of ten, can’t really means won’t.

This applies more to our commitments than anything else.
Another thing I have done is to stop using contractions as much as possible. Two things happen when we do this.

We become more conscious of what we are saying. Can’t is a contraction of cannot. I know it sounds weird, but if we start saying cannot instead of can’t, we begin to realize that, lo and behold, we actually CAN do whatever we are saying it about – we just do not want to. And if we use can’t, it sounds like it is beyond our control and we are not capable of doing it. Like something or someone is stopping us. Not true, most of the time.

When I catch myself saying cannot, I immediately ask myself if it is actually true, or if “will not” is a better answer. Will not is more accurate most of the time. It is quite rare that I cannot do something.

I would like to see the word should eliminated from the English language. LoL

Should is perhaps the greatest shame/guilt word there is. In my experience talking story with a lot of people, it is the most limiting word in their lives.

Most of us, when growing up, just wanted to make our parents proud of us. In order to do that, we learned that we should do certain things in a certain way. “That is just the way it has always been done.” Remember the holiday dinner story?

More often than not, should is what someone else thinks is best for us. If we want to be successful, we should go to school, we should get good grades, we should go to college, we should get a good job, etc.

How often, when you are telling someone about an unpleasant situation that happened, do they say, “You should … do or say this.” And how often do you say it to someone else when the tables are turned?

Be mindful of should. Do you say it thinking that you know better what is right for someone else? None of us know what is right for another person. Yes, we can suggest something based upon our own personal experiences; however, is it not better to say “could” rather than should? Again, should sounds like options are limited, whereas, could opens up options. Should insinuates no choice; could gives back choice.

Have to:
No! We GET to. Remember, ho’oponopono teaches us that we are each 100-percent responsible for everything in our lives.

When we say “… have to …,” it insinuates that we do not have a choice. I hear it all the time and correct it to “get to.” My friends often get annoyed and start to argue with me, but soon give in because they finally realize they cannot win that argument.

“I have to go to work.”
“You GET to go to work.”

“No, I have to!”

“No, you could choose to stay here and drink kava all afternoon. The consequences may not be so desirable, but it IS a choice, nonetheless.”

“Oh yeah, huh.”

I typically hear this the most from people who do not like their jobs. And I remind them that it is a choice to go to work and why would you make a choice to go somewhere where you will be unhappy or miserable? If we are going to make the choice to go to work, I would rather figure out a way to make it enjoyable than not. It places us in a state of gratitude – we can become grateful we have the job, understanding that it is likely not the last job we will ever have. Likely it is more of a stepping stone to the next phase.

Haha – reminds me of another thing I like to say that seems to annoy certain people. LoL

“If you are not doing what you love, love what you are doing and soon you will be doing what you love.”

Whenever you catch yourself saying “have to,” rephrase it and say, “get to.” Notice how it feels when you rephrase it.
Pay attention to all these words and replace them as often as you hear yourself say them or think them.

Try -> Do my best

Can’t -> Won’t (start using cannot and will not)

Have to -> Get to

Should -> Could

Feel the difference. I often say that ho’oponopono gives us conscious communication with our unconscious minds. The Language of Ho’oponopono, if you will. The vocabulary is our feelings!

Feel into the words above – the words on the left feel like we have no choice, whereas the words on the right give us choice.

Choice is empowering!

Author's Bio: 

Jon Lovgren lives in Hawai’i and is an Ordained Minister, a Reiki Master/Teacher, Spiritual Life Coach, Author, and Speaker with a passion for helping others learn to be at Peace and rise to their fullest potential.

He is the developer of The Language of Ho'oponopono, a process that takes ho’oponopono to the deepest levels of self-forgiveness to bring body, mind, and spirit into harmony.

Jon weaves quantum physics, metaphysics, religion, neuroplasticity, and simple common sense into a blanket of easy-to-understand tools that make it simple to practice complex principles, guiding us to the evolution of the person we are meant to be.