Words can also wound and to destroy. A thoughtless comment can do much damage. Many times, often in a moment of frustration, the wrong words come out before we realize and we inflict an emotional scar on a loved one. Words can wound in an instant, but it may take years for the wounds to heal.
What We Say to Our Kids
A parent's words are critical to the healthy self-esteem of a child. A child's perception of themselves is formed by what they are told about themselves, regardless of whether they are true or not. Parents, teachers, siblings - all can impact a young child. I remember being told "You're too sensitive" hence I grew up ignoring and suppressing my feelings. I learned to overlook hurtful and abusive behaviors, because I believed the lie that I was "too sensitive". Today, I listen to my feelings and emotions. They are God-given and I need to respect them. We also need to pay attention to what we are saying to ourselves and others.
What We Say to Ourselves
Are we honoring and respecting ourselves? Or are we saying things like "I'm too fat, too dumb, too old, too lazy, too whatever." What we say about ourselves comes true. It's like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Turn it around. Start saying positive things about yourself. We get enough negativity from the media, the magazines and other people. We need to be our own cheer-leaders.
What We Say to Others
Are we honoring and respecting others or are we making "jokes" at their expense? Sarcasm is very common today as a form of humor, but Oswald Chambers, the great theologian, said this: "Sarcasm is the weak man's weapon."
Are our words "seasoned with salt", pleasing to the ear, and uplifting to the hearer? Or are they critical, judgmental and harsh? If so, it may be time to make a change. Anthony Robbins talks about this in his book "Awaken the Giant Within". He talks about how we can change the impact of negative words by changing the words we use and increase the positive power of words in the same way.
My mom has a phrase I'm sure you've heard. "You can get more flies with honey than you do with vinegar." Kind words are easy to digest. They go down like a spoon full of sugar, as Mary Poppins would say. There is a difference between kind words and flattery. Flattery is fake. Kind words are genuine. Kindness is a fruit of the spirit. Here are 3 criteria we can use to measure our words:
1) Is it kind?
2) Is it necessary?
3) Is it truthful?
If the answer to these is NO, it may be best to remain silent.
I hope this post has encouraged you. We all can be more cognizant of the words that come out of our mouths. Every day is a gift and an opportunity to practice so forgive yourself for yesterday and resolve to do better today.
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Until next time, be kind to yourself and others, and keep looking up!