“Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, but Words Will Never Hurt Me.”
As a child, I remember saying this adage in an attempt to disguise the hurt that I felt, after someone had said something unkind to me. But there is NO truth in this saying. The pain caused by verbal abuse or by verbal insults is real and is often long-lasting. The truth is that words are POWERFUL. “They can lift us up, drag us down, wound us deeply or heal our hearts. Words have the power to break confidences, build life long alliances, or start wars.” ~Amy Jane
Words are seeds, that when planted, can make us or break us, both as individuals and as a society.
What have you been saying lately?
The words one speaks can have a profound effect on the people those words reach. Are you encouraging or discouraging? Are you building up your children, your spouse, your friends or even the stranger you pass on the street? Or, are you tearing down your own family with words of criticism, bitterness and judgment? Are you causing the destruction of your own self-esteem by speaking or thinking self-deprecating words about yourself, your health or your chances for prosperity?
“The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” Dorothy Nevill
This is currently one of my biggest struggles. I have often been on the receiving end of hurtful words, but I have also been the one speaking hurtful words; putting my need to be right ahead of the needs of the person with whom I am talking to or about. I think that this is a struggle that we all have come across at some point in our lives. However, once you become aware of the problem, you have a responsibility to make the effort needed to change it. Of course, when emotions are running high, you will be tempted to use words that are guaranteed to sting the recipient. It is in those moments when you must be aware of your emotions, take a step back from the conversation, take a deep breath and get yourself in a head space where you can think before you speak. Remember, thoughts become words, words become actions, and actions become your character.
I forgot, you don’t have a sense of humor.
I hear this all the time in my household: “Can’t you take a joke? I forgot, you have no sense of humor.” I actually do have a sense of humor, but not when the joke made is at the expense of mine or someone elses feelings. Just because you follow an insulting comment with “I was just joking,” does not mean that the sting of the insulting comment will just go away. People think that just because they were “joking,” that they are not responsible for the hurtful words coming out of their mouths. In my household, they dismiss their inappropriateness by saying that I am just dramatic and have no sense of humor. I often wonder if they understand the impact that their words have on me. Are there people in your life, who seem completely oblivious to the pain they cause you?
Words are like living organisms. They are capable of growing, changing, spreading, and influencing the world in many ways; directly and indirectly through others. Words have the power to incite and divide, to calm and connect, or to create and effect change. They can also inspire us to greatness; they enable us to share our deepest feelings with one another. Words can change us as individuals. When used with care, they can change the world around us.
So, be purposeful with the words you use with others and with yourself.
Choose to use your words to encourage and uplift. Choose them with wisdom and love.
Check out the video below, which illustrates how the words we use can change our experiences.