Shift the Tense – Shift the Tension! Language for Life.

Shift the tense, shift the tension.

Did you know that by changing tenses in your statements you open up a creative space in your communication which also reduces “tension”?

#tension is also known as stress, anticipation, discomfort, nervousness, conflict and “cold feet”

Did you know that by changing the tense of statements you make, you can challenge the intensity of an embedded limiting belief?

Let’s say you firmly believe that you are not capable of doing something and you say something to the effect of…
I could never do that, or
I would never be able to do that, or
It will never work, I don’t see eye to eye with…
What tense do we have here?
These statements are not based on past experience; they are predictions of something you think might happen and so because you believe you’ll fail, statements like these prevent you from trying stuff! You give up before you’ve even started.

What do the following statements tell you?
I am not a team player, never was…
I am a perfectionist.
I am “compulsive obsessive”.
I’m no good at numbers so that is nothing for me.
“I am” statements put you in a box and throw away the key! You identify yourself as that and that’s it. No change possible here either because when you apply the present tense to negative experiences they become static states. Statements like these are mostly uttered in “autopilot mode” and they manage to dominate and defeat any desire for change in that they strengthen the belief you so casually convey.

Shift the tense, shift the tension

But, what if you were to put them into the past or present perfect tense? Look at the statements again:
“I could never do that” becomes “Up until now I have not been able to do this.”
The tension is removed and there is a subtle shift from “that” – which is out of reach – to “this” – which is within your reach, and therefore possible.
“I am not a team player” becomes “My experience of working with others in a team has proven challenging, but I am always willing to give it go.”
“My … and I don’t see eye to eye…” example sounds decidedly more upbeat like this: “My …and I have had disagreements in the past but, …”
Changing the tense, removes the tension and opens up possibilities and opportunities.

Using the word “now” also mindfully draws others’ attention and participation to the here and now.
“Now” is especially effective when a task or idea requires an immediate decision or action. The question “what do you need now?” or “what do you want now?” is huge in bringing people who are either stuck in the past, or overwhelmed by future options, back into the mindful present. If you’re feeling stuck, or procrastinating ask yourself what it is you want.  #notimelikethepresent

Using the future tense enables you to imagine future possibilities. When people get stuck in present problems you can ask them “what would it be like if/when…?” or “what would you like to have/happen instead…?”. It works. Almost like magic!

Don’t you just love that?

I wish you much success in shifting any tension with tenses, and if you need some support to do that, or simply a little bit of magic for life, contact me! This is what I do! About me.


Shift the tense, shift the tension.

Leave A Comment