“The tongue has the power of life and death…”
Words carry immense power. What you and I say to ourselves and others matters; it shapes our perceptions, and in turn realities. Day by day, moment by moment, this principle becomes clearer in many ways.
Shannon (Live In Color blog co-editor) and I spoke recently about the weightiness of words. “You know Mel,” she said squarely, “we are word people. We really are.” When you are a lover of words, you are constantly wrestling with what you say, and taking in what others say.
Several years ago my husband and I sat in a crowded auditorium, my niece’s excitement bubbled over; she pointed out her favorite Disney characters gliding across the ice. “Look Uncle Keston,” she exclaimed, grabbing hold of his hand. “Look!”
We smiled, perhaps remembering how easily joy comes to us in childhood. And then, abruptly, another voice interrupted. “Shut up, you ugly little b*#%.” I turned around to see a young woman pulling at her toddler, hurling insults and laughing; Silently I wept for the little girl, her face, what I could make out of it in the dimness, filled with confusion and sadness. Her eyes seemed to whisper, “Why are you so angry?”
On days when I hear someone being particularly cruel, spewing vitriol and hatred, I am reminded of those incidents, and the lesson. Words impact us all. Forget that old-school rhyme:”Sticks and stones break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
Grasping the enormity of what one says is deeply connected to awareness, stillness, sitting with your words after you say them. We can hinder or heal, empower or eviscerate the spirit of another living being. Choose to use them in service of love and respect.
Two Ways to Watch Your Words:
1. Empathize – Yes, it sounds like a no brainier, but empathy helps us see the world compassionately. How do you like someone to speak to you? Do you enjoy being cut off, your words and thoughts discounted? None of us does, so consider that when communicating with others. We begin to see others perspectives, and our word choice reflects it.
2. Speak Solutions – Like most of us dealing with frustrations, I am guilty of saying, “I’m so sick of…” or “I’m tired of…” in an effort to relieve the tension. Lately, I am turning these words around and focusing on what I want to expand. So, if you are tired of a particular situation, focus instead on your solution.
Live In COLOR! – Emelda
How do you watch your words? Is it a struggle for you? Share with us!