“Words can inspire. And words can destroy. Choose yours well.”
Self-help writer and leadership speaker Robin Sharma nailed it with this powerful quote. We’ve all been on both the receiving and giving end of inspiring words. Or hurtful ones. So we know the boost we get when someone tells us we are amazing and will succeed. Conversely, we know how it feels when someone deflates us with a disparaging remark. We also know how bad we feel when it gets back to us that something we said off-hand to another caused offense and pain.
We know words can build or scar, so why do we sometimes speak unkindly? Several reasons come to mind:
- we are disconnected and unaware,
- we are frustrated, or
- we really do intend to hurt someone.
Regardless of the reason, when we verbalize something it is out there forever. Ouch!
A couple of thoughts to help:
Take a moment to breathe and think. As you are thinking, realize: this situation is going to pass, but the words you utter may be imprinted on another person for the rest of their life. Do you really want to tear down that person? Does it bring about a good result, and are your words of disdain how you want to be remembered? Even just a moment of reflection before we respond to a person can save a relationship, can lift another.
Toby Keith has a great country song, “I Wanna Talk About Me.” So let’s talk about “me” for a minute. Cruelty toward others is actually an indicator of how we feel about ourselves. If we are consistently self-critical, for example, we will tend to be critical of others. When we figure out how to be less critical of ourselves, to forgive ourselves, and to nurture our personal growth, we instill a healthy sense of well-being. That healthy sense of well-being has an uncanny way of kicking Ego to the curb, which then enables us to better extend sincere kindness, patience, and forgiveness to others.
Let’s examine the correlation between positive self-talk and a healthy mind/body. Do you catch yourself saying things like, “I’m not good with names”, “Nothing good ever happens to me”, or “my body’s falling apart”?
Did you know that when you do this, your being and your body believe it? The more you say things like this, the more it will manifest. Do you want to be better with names, feel young and vibrant, enjoy your healthy body? Then change the way you talk to yourself.
- “I’m great with names.”
- “I always receive the best and greatest outcomes.”
- “I feel great.”
Even if you don’t believe it at first, do it. Over time your body and mind will believe it, and things will change.
I recently worked with a client who told me his knee was bothering him. It became apparent that in order for his knee to feel better, he was going to have to change his self-talk. He was going to have to make a new habit – one of gratitude and appreciation toward his body, and specifically, his knee.
As we discussed his assignment, he acknowledged how well it resonated with him. Before he even got started on it, he knew that his knee would respond to the positive words he would speak to it.
This might sound too simplistic, but it works. Words are a powerful force, that over time, form new neuropathways in the brain. When we repeatedly express gratitude, repeat affirmations, or express encouragement, the brain develops new thought. This new energy becomes a belief, and if that belief is positive, it will bring about healing.
Here’s a fun experiment to try over the summer:
Choose an issue that you are having trouble with – it can be anything. Then carefully choose some words that will invite and encourage the outcome you desire. Write these words down, and say them to yourself frequently. Further the influence of this experiment by extending this new kindness to others.
By the end of the summer, see what has changed. This is the fun part. How much better do you feel? How has your body improved? And how does it feel to use your words to empower those around you? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain here. Just remember – “Words can inspire. And words can destroy. Choose yours well.”