The old adage goes “stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Well, I’m here to tell you that that is incorrect. Over the years, and through many writings, conversations, and “therapy” sessions, I have come to realize that words are probably one of the most powerful weapons that any of us wield. Words spoken by people we trust, love, and respect can speak life or death into our lives. They can be used to build, support, love, and motivate...or they can be used to degrade, belittle, and berate.
Think about how words affect you. Does it hurt you when someone you trust, love, or respect says something negative or derogatory to you or about you? Do you linger on it for what sometimes feels like an exorbitant amount of time? Does it have the ability to change your mood and personality when you replay the conversation in your mind? Or, on the flip side, how does it affect you when someone you care about speaks highly of you, gives you praise, or just tells you that they are proud of you? Does it increase your self-worth, motivate you, make you feel accomplished and loved? Words have the ability to make or break us, and many of us throw them around without thinking through the consequences and impact they may have on someone's life.
In some cases, our actions may speak louder than words, but our words have the ability to cut deeper and do more damage than any knife ever could. I know that is a little outlandish, but I want you to truly think about it. Most physical wounds will eventually heal, but the wounds that can be inflicted by words and what is spoken into others’ lives have the ability to have lifelong impact, often leading to anxiety, depression, anger and any other mental health issues.
All that being said, I'll leave you with this...
You have more potential to make an impact than you may be aware of. This goes for your kids, your family, and those within your sphere of influence. People that look to you for affirmation will attach their self worth to what you speak into their life. Be mindful of the power that you hold, and the impact that your words, intentional or not, may have on someone's life. Most of the time, the words we need to say are right there hidden in plain sight…and even though we may have to stop and look for a second to find them, we must make sure we’re speaking truth that builds. Even the HARD words that need to be said can be used to build. However, when they're HARSH (that's the difference), there is little to no chance that they will do anything but tear down the hearer.
Some of the best advice I was ever given is God gave you two ears and one mouth, you should use them in that ratio. Listen twice as much as you speak, because the words you speak will impact your world as well as others.