Say What You Mean

Have you ever wondered why we created the world we have and if there is a better way to develop social structures that serve the common good?

I’m discovering that part of the challenge is our language. We speak – and therefore think – in binaries: immigrant or citizen, black or white, good or bad, rich or poor, male or female. When we think in this way, we create an artificial sense that we must choose to be one or the other. Ultimately, we must value one over the other.

The minute we place a value on one OVER the other, we enter into a domination mindset where I want to win, and you need to lose. My power comes from force – from being better/stronger/safer/smarter than you. We can tell the story of much of human history through this simple lens.

I find it all so exhausting. I also find it insane. Literally. This way of relating to one another makes us insane because it forces us into a form of relating that is incongruent with our Sacred design. When asked about the essential teaching of faith, Jesus told his disciples, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” At the core of us, we are wired for compassion, love, empathy, and care for one another.

Riane Eisler is a Holocaust survivor who went on to become a researcher, author, and activist. She founded an organization called The Center of Partnership, where she and her team explore how we might create systems that are more aligned with human thriving.

She challenges our unconscious use of dominating language. She says:

  • Instead of saying ‘Fight injustice,’ say ‘Heal injustice.’
  • Instead of saying ‘Killing time,’ say ‘Filling time.’
  • Instead of saying ‘Killing two birds with one stone,’ say ‘Birthing two birds from one egg.’
  • Instead of saying ‘I really crushed it,’ say ‘I really brought it to life.’

These are little correctives. Until I saw this list, I didn’t see how I created a world through my words that undermined my deepest held values.

We speak our world into existence. As we dream of a more just world for all, perhaps the starting place is speaking of peace, love, grace, and healing. What we say determines what we will see.

We are in this together,


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