I’ve been thinking about something Mr. Adorable said during last week’s physiotherapy session. I used the German word «kaputt» when referring to my injured leg. «Kaputt» translates to broken or damaged. Not like «my leg is broken», more as in «my toaster is broken». It is a colloquial term, not a medical one.
Mr. Adorable was quite dissatisfied with «kaputt». «Kaputt», he informed me, is not acceptable language. I should instead refer to my leg as «affected» or «improving». I was somewhat taken aback by this, even though this kind of thing is not new to me. The SO used to work in customer service and the customer never, ever had a problem. The customer had an issue that they needed help with.
Now, I’m not by any means the kind of person that reads self-help books about positive thinking (or any other self-help books, for that matter). But maybe he has a point there. We’ve talked about psychosomatic influence, placebo and nocebo effects and there are studies out there that demonstrate that. Which word you use might not have a huge immediate impact on your well-being, but the connotations could add up and influence your perception of your… issue either way. A kid I was tutoring in German once asked me why there are so many words in it that mean the same thing and I explained that outside of the dictionary, they very often don’t mean quite the same thing. So maybe it’s time to expand my vocabulary, or at least use the one I already have, and try and be mindful of negative connotations when talking about injuries and other issues. Words have power.
To prove the point that words have power, Mr. Adorable later referred to dancing as «basically an extreme sport», which instantly made me feel rather proud of myself. I have a sneaking suspicion he says stuff like this on purpose just to motivate me to work harder. This is exactly the kind of flattery I’m susceptible to and I believe a good therapist is more than just physically manipulative with his patients.