Picture it: Italy 1999. I was living just outside Rome, working and learning Italian. After three months I had the basics down and could have simple conversations. Then came my birthday.
I knew I’d be going out with friends and wanted to impress them with my language skills, so I practiced and practiced, “I am 25 years old!” Literally, hours of practice. The big night arrived, and while out on the town with eight Italian friends, they asked me, “Rebecca, how old are you?” I proudly and loudly announced, “I have 25 anuses!” For real. They all BUSTED a gut, and I couldn’t understand why they would be laughing. I had no idea what I had actually said.
I was convinced I had said it right. And then one friend, still laughing, edumacated me on the distinction between the Italian words for years and anuses (anni vs ani). It was one letter, one very subtle sound, that every Italian could hear, and that I never did in three months of language study and complete immersion. But from that moment on you can bet I heard the distinction. Every. Time. And it has helped me to see that it is the undistinguished words, the words we don’t know we’re saying, that can really get in the way in our lives.
We all have external and internal dialogues running, with varying levels of awareness of the words we’re saying to ourselves and to others. And there is a particularly sneaky dialogue that most of us are completely unaware of; it runs in the background, silent, but powerfully influential. It’s rather tricky to become aware of something we’re not currently aware of, but we all have a secret tell.
The tell always shows up, is spoken, in your actions. Your actions demonstrate what you truly believe, and will either be congruent or incongruent with your conscious beliefs. Do you ever act in ways that are contrary to what you consciously believe? (Most humans will answer yes to this). It is an unconscious program at work. A deeper instruction that is running the show. It probably got established when you were a kid or through a significant life event. It is a dialogue created through experiences with parents, siblings, teachers, bullies, loss, church, lovers, children, God, etc. They form your unconscious associations of love, identity, worth, health, money, safety, fear and possibilities.
Because they are happening at the unconscious level, these programs are operating in the background, undetected, 24/7. They are ultimately driving your behavior. What’s literally running your life are the words you don’t know you’re speaking.
But once distinguished, once you can hear them (especially without judging them as bad or wrong), you have a choice in how to handle them. So take a look at your behavior. What do your actions say you truly believe about yourself, others, God? Notice what becomes available now that you’re listening for it. Listen for any place your actions are speaking a different message than you consciously believe, and make a choice for alignment and congruence. That will leave you living powerfully.