• “Language shapes our behaviour and each word we use is imbued with multitudes of personal meaning. The right words spoken in the right way can bring us love, money and respect, while the wrong words—or even the right words spoken in the wrong way — can lead country to war. We must carefully orchestrate our speech if we want to achieve our goals and bring our dreams to fruition. — Dr. Andrew Newberg, Words Can Change Your Brain”
The ways you talk classify your quality. Your word can either create war or peace, harmony or problem. Wise people have value in their own words because of self-awareness. They know that they are created to be a problem solvers not war or problem initiators. Everything we say, or think, has the potential to either heal or harm. Our words can destruct or construct, can be positive or negative.
The world’s greatest leaders and progressive thinkers have always used the power of words to transform our emotions to help inspire others toward their vision and create actionable change. From Winston Churchill’s focus on the “finest hour”, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s depiction of a “dream,” to Ifeanyi A.C Eze ‘Increase your capacity for exploits’. It’s evident that words shape our entire existence. But what about our own ability to use words internally to change our lives for the better – words that will ignite change, inspire action and improve our quality of life? Can changing your words change your life?
The tongue of the wise brings healing. But the tongue of foolish one hurts
Once upon a time in a small country church, an altar boy accidentally dropped the communion wine. The officiating priest slapped him and shouted, “Leave, and don’t come back!” That boy became General Tito, the brutal communist dictator who ruled the people for years.
In a big city cathedral another altar boy dropped the communion wine. His bishop turned to him and whispered reassuringly, “It’s okay; someday you’ll be a great priest.” That boy later became Archbishop Fulton John Sheen in America, whose sermons touched the hearts of millions on national television and radio. I found it interesting reading his story because I have the same birthday date with him. 8th may……
Your words either build people up or tear them down. Solomon said, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing (Proverbs 12:18). Here’s a truth we don’t like to acknowledge; what comes out of our lips reveals what’s in our heart and our “I didn’t mean it” doesn’t change that or undo the damage. Eugene Petersen writes: “Every day I put love on the line. There’s nothing I am less good at. I am far better in competition than love; far better at responding to my instincts to get ahead, than at figuring out how to love another. I’m schooled and trained in getting my own way. And yet I decide every day to set aside what I do best, and attempt to do what I do very clumsily – open myself to the frustrations and failures of loving, daring to believe that failing in love is better than succeeding in pride.
However, whatever choice we make, to harm or heal, it is never the words themselves directly causing the outcome. Words, simply ‘are’. It is how we use, and what we bring or associate with them, creating the end result. Because the words we speak either aloud, or in the privacy of our minds, embody our intentions, they are a carrier of ourselves, our energy. And as you know we can have good, bad or indifferent word moments or even days.
Most of us will have experienced the negative power of the spoken word. It can colour our personal lives and ripple far beyond us to affect everything and everybody.
As individual we may be powerless to change the world but we can change ourselves. We can make a choice to pass on negativity or positivity in our speech. Our words do matter. They are powerful. Try and see for yourself using these tips.
- Do positive self-talk
As you go about your day’s activities be conscious of how you are talking to yourself in your mind.
Find aspects of your behaviour you can genuinely positively comment on. Be specific. The more specific you are the less likely you will counter your positive comment with a negative rejoinder.
‘Things I know about healing, speaking kindly to yourself helps a lot’. Unknown
- Practice responding rather than reacting
The difference? To react is to speak without thought or to blurt. To respond implies conscious thought. In responding, we make a choice. We think before we open our mouths.
To help create the space needed for conscious speech, count to 5 before speaking. This may seem odd, but in an emotionally charged situation, the wait gives us time to consider what it is we really want to say.
- Learn to say “I’m sorry”
The quicker we own our mistakes and acknowledge the impact they have had on others, the less likely they are to turn into raging monsters with a life of their own. “I’m sorry”, genuinely meant and said is one of the most important using the positive power of the spoken word.
- Learn to say “I have forgiven you” and accept
If we accept or give a sincere apology, the sting of the offense is removed.
Sometimes we carry blame, guilt, or anxiety for years because we assume the hurt caused by our actions lives on. If we’d been told we were forgiven, the burden would have been released. Like “I’m Sorry”, “I forgive you” is incredibly powerful.
- Collect new words
The more words you have in your vocabulary, the more precisely you can express yourself.
You will find a wonderful collection of fun ways to increase your word power.
- Listen to inspiring literature
Get audio for your car or iPod, books. Fill your mind with positivity expressed in the best of language. What you always hear has more influence
Practice expressing genuine gratitude for all the good in your life. Be Thankful for everything.
- Practice compliments
Give unasked praise for an action or some quality you genuinely admire in another person. Give it without reservation or a “rider” attached.
(A rider undoes or qualifies the compliment, robbing it of its power. Example: “That dress looks nice on you. It makes you look smaller.”)
A true compliment is a gift. It says to the receiver you see and appreciate them for who they are and comes without strings attached. It is given freely.
Above all, learn to create harmony using your word than rebuking all the time. History has records that correcting with love and kindness has achieved more than rebuking. Wisdom is mightier than strength.