Friday, March 29, 2013

The Power of Words

We are profoundly affected by the way in which we choose and use words. We’ve grappled with words in our early childhood, and we’ve learned to weave them into sentences in our effort to convey meaning. We’ve used words to get what we wanted, to defend our positions, and to encourage others and ourselves, but we’ve also misused words to hurt and bring about pain. Words are often taken for granted; people don’t always realize the effect words have and how words can contribute or detract from our overall health. We have been given the gift of communication through language, through words. What an awesome responsibility to have.

Have you stopped to examine your own use of words? Are they encouraging or discouraging? Have you used them to lift someone’s spirit, or have you misused them to tear down someone with criticism, judgment, and bitterness? Taking the time to examine your handling or mishandling of words is the first step in making positive changes. Developing alternative phrases with positive connotations and impact will replace those negative speech patterns and thought processes. This change can only begin with you.

As humans, we are emotive beings. We feel a great deal. In the heat of the moment, it’s not always easy to censor ourselves. We sometimes hurl vocal javelins at our targets in our effort to win an argument or to prove others wrong, especially if we feel wronged. Our elevated emotions can make it very difficult to exercise self-restraint. It is easier to tame a wild animal than it is to tame our own tongue. In the words of Dorothy Nevill, “The real art to conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”

The next time you feel the urge to blurt out something hurtful and damaging, stop. Stop what you are doing, stop what you are thinking, and just breathe. You may want to walk away temporarily to compose yourself. In your mind, recite, “You are a divine being. I want to see the divine in you, and I want you to see the divine in me.” Take another deep breath -- or breaths -- until the tension passes. Of course, this may not be easy all of the time, but it is a positive step forward.

Our words are powerful. We are responsible for what we say. Let us choose -- and use -- our words wisely.

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