Blog - How to Avoid the Harmful Language of Others

How to Avoid the Harmful Language of Others with the Australian Bushfires and other crisis

Here are some links that you may find helpful:

Free Therapy for Bushfire Survivors website
Free Therapy for Bushfire Survivors Facebook group
Headspace bushfire help
Beyond Blue bushfire and mental health

Video Transcript

Hi, I’m James Cole and welcome to 2020,

I’d love to say that I hope you all had an amazing and safe Christmas and New Year but unfortunately I know that some of you didn’t. As I’m sure you all know by now, here in Australia we’ve been hit pretty hard with bushfires the last few months and it is affecting everyone in this country on some level. And as always in these circumstances, there are no shortages of ideas, thoughts and opinions being shouted out as fact. So I want to talk with you today about one area in particular and that is the importance of really analysing peoples language in these times of heightened awareness, so you can learn How to Avoid the Harmful Language of Others

Firstly I’d like to thank you for taking the time to watch this video and I really hope you find that the information I share with you will empower your life in some way. And although I’ll be using the current bushfire crisis as an example, what I’ll share, is true for many situations in life wherever you are.

Language is an incredibly powerful tool that we humans use to communicate. On its simplest level, it is a way for us to easily express our needs and desires to others. And on the other end of the scale, language can be used to manipulate, coerce and control people. What’s worse, is that we are all susceptible. Even those sitting there thinking “You couldn’t possibly manipulate me.”

Most of the time when we are conversing with people, we have a little function in the brain that can detect things that aren’t good for us and reject them. This is known as the critical factor or more commonly as the gatekeeper. Its job is to analyse every bit of information entering the brain and reject anything that is trying to harm us. Most of the time, it does a great job.

If someone tells you to go play on the highway, your gatekeeper will kick in, and knows that this is a bad idea, and you’ll probably say something like “Nice try dickhead”

My job as hypnotists is to divert the attention of this gatekeeper away from its primary job so that I can then plant suggestions directly into the unconscious mind of my client. This is how I would help someone like you to change habits and do things differently in life. If everyone is aware of what’s going on and in agreement with this upfront, it’s a safe and ecologically sound process where everyone benefits.

However, these same techniques can also be used to sneak things in that aren’t necessarily in your best interest. Like when you see a TV ad for a chocolate bar and the delicious melty chocolate oozes on to the screen with some sensual music while the chocolate you love so much, forms and takes shape right before your eyes in all it’s chocolatey glory.

How many of you now want to eat some chocolate I wonder?

The ad is on a screen, something that has your fixated attention, which is essentially a trancelike state. It is in these states that the gatekeeper is most distracted and suggestions can slip on by unnoticed. The chocolate bar and the emotive responses the ad creates go straight into your unconscious mind and before you know it, you have a chocolate craving.

So how does all of this relate to the bushfires and what’s going on?

Well, it is circumstances like this that can put us in extreme stress, heightened awareness, states of shock, extreme emotion and other alternative states of consciousness. And when we are in these states, our gatekeeper has its attention on all that is going on around us to keep us safe from any immediate danger. It doesn’t have much time or energy to focus on the things people are saying, as it isn’t considered an immediate threat. After all, I don’t think anyone ever dropped dead simply from words being spoken to them.

However, people like to share their ideas and many don’t understand the importance of the language they are using and how it can affect others.

I’ve heard and seen lots of people talking about ideas around Post Traumatic Stress, trauma, depression, anxiety and on and on. Now I want to be very clear in this. I am not suggesting that anyone is out there intentionally saying stuff to harm or manipulate people. At least, I hope there isn’t. I believe it is simply coming from a lack of understanding.

From those who have suffered from events in their own past to those who know someone who had a particular experience and even the professionals in the medical and mental health fields, all like to share what they believe “WILL, WON’T and HAS” happened to the people that have been affected.

“They WILL get this diagnosis”

“You WILL experience these symptoms”

“You WON’T get over it for a long time”

“This HAS destroyed your life”

The problem is that when statements like these are made, especially by those in a perceived position of authority, when our gatekeeper is down, these can act in the very same way as a powerful hypnotic suggestion. Going straight into the unconscious mind where it can brew and potentially create those very symptoms that have been suggested.

Not only that, the media companies such as those who create the news and current affairs programs, love to focus on fear and drama as it makes their stories more emotive and therefore holds the viewers’ attention better. And they use a lot of specific language in the form of emotionally loaded words to make this happen. The effect this can have on people is to drive them even deeper into their fear responses, increasing stress and heightened states of emotion. The perfect conditions for any suggestions to glide straight on into the unconscious mind.

The news actually uses this technique all the time. Build a fear and then sell a solution or comforter in the ad breaks.

I wish I could make everyone on the planet aware of the subtle effects that language can have on people so that we all spoke with greater awareness, intention and purpose. Unfortunately, that’s just not realistic right now. I am working on a satellite array that can beam this straight into the minds of everyone but without your immediate donations, it will never happen.

So the ways to defend ourselves against this is up to each of us that knows about it and that now includes you.

Having an awareness that this is actually something that exists and happens, is a great starting point.

We can then take the time to actually analyse what people are saying. When we do this, we can then consciously make the decision to accept or reject whatever is being said or presented to us.

We can share this knowledge with others. The more people that know about it, the more of us there will be to actually communicate with intention and purpose.

And with that in mind, this may be the perfectly manipulative time to ask you to hit the like and subscribe buttons and share this video with everyone you know. Hell, share with everyone you don’t know too. Thank you 🙂

But possibly the most important thing each of us can do is to correct our own language, especially our inner dialogue. This has the amazing effect of amplifying our own abilities to recognise the language of others.

Simple language changes can have an amazing ripple-on effect. Here are a few examples

If instead of using the term “bushfire victims”, we use “bushfire survivors”, it almost has an empowering quality to it, don’t you think? It is uplifting rather than containing all the negative connotations that are associated with the word “victim”.

When sharing our own experiences, own it rather than projecting it. By this I mean, take ownership of your own responses by saying “I” reacted this way or “I” felt like this, etc. Rather than projecting with “YOU”.

For example:

“I was in a bushfire a few years back and you really get scared when you hear the sirens”

This is projecting my own feelings onto the listener. A much better way is to say it is:

“I was in a bushfire a few years back and I really got scared when I heard the sirens”

Do you notice the ownership? It’s sharing my experience without telling others how they should experience something similar.

When it comes to things like Post Traumatic Stress it seems like everyone has polarising opinions of what will cause it and how it will affect people. The truth is, A hundred people could all go through very similar experiences and only one could end up with PTSD. The reality is, each of us handles extreme stress and trauma in very different ways. So be mindful that just because you may have had a certain reaction or experience, or you know of someone else that did, doesn’t mean that everyone will have that same reaction. We are all unique, and it’s time, as a society, we started becoming more aware and accepting of this.

Even if you have strong beliefs on certain things, remember they are YOUR beliefs and not necessarily the beliefs of others. It’s perfectly okay for us to share our beliefs, I certainly have them as do all of us. But like before, let’s OWN them as our own beliefs and not assume that everyone else should believe the same thing.

After all, variety is what makes this world so beautiful, isn’t it?

What works for you may not work for me.

Not everyone who lost their homes in these fires will require years of therapy. Some may just need to talk it out with their friends over a few drinks, some may want to seek out alternative therapies that make no sense to anyone but them, while others may need to stand in the rubble and cry for as long as it takes.

And all of these are perfectly okay.

It’s even okay to get angry and feel what people like to call negative emotions. Just be mindful not to allow these feelings to hurt others. And if you find you’re indulging in them for too long, it’s okay to seek help in overcoming them. What’s too long? Only you can answer that one as it’s different for all of us. As a guide, I’d say, if it’s creating an ongoing negative effect in your life, it’s possibly too long.

We all handle extreme events differently. Let’s join together in giving each of us the space to deal with this and other events, however, we need to, without judgement of others for doing it differently.

Thanks for listening and I hope this will help you in some way.

I’d love to start a conversation about language in the comments so please share any examples of what you think is questionable language and how you could say it in a more empowering way.

If you got something from this video, please like, share, subscribe and hit the little bell icon to make sure you get notified of my future videos.

Have a beautiful day

And stay powerful.

James Cole

I believe that education on personal development is such an integral part of human growth that I simply cannot justify making it unavailable to people by charging extreme amounts of money for it. In my opinion, this stuff should be taught freely at schools.

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It takes a lot of time, skill and effort to create the content on this web site, which is why the guided meditations are constantly ranked amongst the highest quality on apps like Insight Timer (the worlds No.1 Meditation app).

As a sign of appreciation for your donation, I would love to shout your name from the rooftops (which probably doesn’t really do much for you) so instead, I can also shout it from the social media rooftops if you like, along with your business name if you have one. And if you want to remain anonymous, we can make that work too.

I am honoured that you took the time to listen to this meditation and overflowing with gratitude for your donation 🙏💜

Wishing you a most beautiful day,

James Cole

Empowering Meditations

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James Cole

James is an author of the book Empowering Thoughts, a meditation educator, empowerment specialist, hypnotherapist, filmmaker, and photo-artist. He has had a passion for meditation since being introduced at high school. Since then he has studied various forms of meditation before discovering hypnosis and recognising the similarities. He now teaches hypnotic meditation, as well as creating and publishing guided meditations that people can use for personal development. his creative work can be found at

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