laugh or smile? Do they pump you up and get you excited? Do they touch your heart in some way? Think about the best advice you were ever given, or the worst. Did you heed the advice? Was it life-changing?
There is so much power in the words that are spoken all around us, as well as the words that we say to others and to ourselves. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, the author Maya Angelou said, “Words are things… They can get in the carpet and in the walls and on your clothes.” In other words, they stick with you and soak into whatever or whomever they touch.
Now some may think that what others say has no affect on us. Just ask any adult who has grown up listening to their parents tell them they are no good or they will never amount to anything. Ask them how those words
affected them. Words are so powerful that they mold our very existence and who we become. Negative words are painful, bruising and cause wounds and scars. On the other hand, positive words and praise can heal, encourage, inspire and change lives.
Not only do spoken words affect us, but written words as well. One of the most influential books in our society, whether you agree with what it says or not, is the Bible. Speaker Carol Thiessen from www.newhopeforliving.com says, “The Bible has shaped not only religious thought, but politics, law, education, literature, culture… Its stories are rendered creatively through painting and sculpture. Its themes have been portrayed lyrically by composers through the ages”.
When it comes to the media and television, negative words and drama, especially in reality television, are glamorized. Most of the media (and those who are watching) thrive on the fights and arguments, the lies and
betrayal. This is what sells in America today and if you let it, it can seep into your homes and how you relate to others, so be careful with what you choose to listen to. It can lead to becoming desensitized towards negativity. Talking to others in a cruel, uncompassionate way becomes the norm and people speaking nicely to one another and forgiving them for their faults becomes shocking and uncomfortable.
So how are you speaking to your loved ones? Are your words filled with kindness and consideration or are they filled with negativity and venom? Do you use your words to heal or are they used as weapons to hurt
others? And remember that just because you are talking to one person does not mean anyone else listening will
not be influenced by what you say. Whoever can hear what you are saying is exposed to the power of your words. When I was in high school, one of my classmates called another kid the “N” word. My classmate looked at me and said, “I wasn’t talking about you, Susan”. I told him that it didn’t matter who he was referring to. The fact that I heard it was damaging enough. Once you speak, you can’t erase what has been said, nor can you control who heard it and how they are influenced by it.
My suggestion: Always speak from a place of love and compassion. Use your words to strengthen and build others up instead of using them to weaken and tear others down because whatever you do to others, you are
doing to yourself.