Today I have been inspired by a sermon I just heard about WORDS. Words can either give life or give death. (Reference: Proverbs 18:21). The words we say can either uplift someone or tear them down. They can either lift us up or tear us down.
Remember the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”? We all know that is so untrue. Sometimes words slung at us in meanness, anger, jealousy or judgement can be very painful. I imagine most of us can remember something negative someone said to us in our past. Whether it’s our recent past or our childhood, we can still recall it today. It hurt. It stuck with us for days, months, years, decades. On the flip side of that, if we are repeatedly spoken to with positive, uplifting words, that sticks with us as well. But I have heard it takes 5 to 10 positive words to counteract the impact of one negative word or statement. For some reason our brains hold on to the negative much longer. Negativity can come in the form of gossip, criticism, judgement or pure anger. Read my post of Putting Up Emotional Fences to help block out some of the negativity.
So, what are we to do? How can we use our words to make the lives of others better? Find positive attributes to make comments on whenever possible. Encourage others to be their best, to go after their dreams, to discover who they are. Be the light in a dark world. It is amazing to think what an impact we can have on others.
In the book, The 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman, he explores what different ways people in general receive love. One of the ways is Words of Affirmation. I would venture to say that most of us appreciate a true heart-felt, thank you, a compliment, a way-to-go or other encouraging words. I challenge myself and those of you reading this to find ways in your own life to use words of affirmation with the people in your life. From experience, I know that some may be resistant to hearing these words if they are not something they are used to hearing or used to you saying to them. Stay the course. Use this time to be an encourager of others.
Conversely, if someone has said negative things to you in the past or even currently, be willing to forgive and realize they are dealing with their own things, perhaps a lack of their own self-worth. You have heard the phrase, “Hurt people, hurt people.” That doesn’t mean everyone who is hurt, will hurt someone else. But most people who do hurt others, were hurt themselves. Perhaps you can speak words of affirmation into their life, if that is possible. Even more importantly, if you don’t currently have someone in your life who is speaking life-giving words to you, speak them to yourself. Change the negative tape that plays over and over in your head. Start receiving affirming words from yourself. If you are open to reading the bible, I encourage you to seek out what God says about you and your identity. Just a heads up…He thinks you are pretty awesome and He loves you!
Final thought, start speaking words of affirmation to those around you today, including yourself! You are amazing and have only just begun to be your best self!