Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Most of us have heard this phrase countless times, but its message couldn’t be further from the truth. Words are, in fact, able to hurt us. What we speak to one another has the power to either do good or to do harm. With this in mind, shouldn’t it be a constant goal in our relationships to build each other up with encouragement and love rather than engage in gossip, criticism and negative speech?
Famous poet George Herbert said, “Good words are worth much, and cost little.” Telling a friend or even a stranger a positive recognition or compliment has the ability to brighten their day. In that same regard, unkind words once spoken can only be forgiven, often not forgotten.
This resonates with our own talk about ourselves in our heads as well. How often do you find yourself speaking words about yourself in your mind that you wouldn’t dare say to another person out loud? As humans are cognitive creatures, we think in language. That language we allow to enter into our minds has the power to build ourselves up, or cut us down. Our self-talk has the power to color the lens through which we see the world.
With this in mind, I challenge you to do one thing this week:
Speak to yourself as if you were your own best friend.
Let’s build the habit to speak words that encourage, build up, inspire, challenge, and comfort. Let us point out the positive qualities in our friends and praise them for their strengths. Let’s affirm ourselves for being who we are. Let’s decide to acknowledge that words are powerful after all.