I miss you.
You’re so stupid.
Will you marry me?
I want a divorce.
It’s a boy!
I hate you!
I love you.
It’s a girl!
You’re so smart.
How do your words impact others?
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” This was taught to us as children so that we could cope with the mean things that children sometimes say to each other, however, it is not a true statement. Words can hurt and they are very powerful in our relationships and self-talk.
Our words have the power to uplift or tear apart…to motivate or to devastate…to teach or to intimidate.
Words have POWER!
How would you define ‘word’?
According to the Webster’s Dictionary it is “a speech sound or series of speech sounds that symbolizes and communicates a meaning.”
Words create symbols and pictures in our minds. If I say “chocolate cake” there is an immediate image that pops into your head. If I say “moldy chocolate cake” there is still an immediate image. The words and images also create feelings and ignite our emotions.
Let me give you a short example to illustrate my point. A few years ago I was packing my computer in several large boxes so that it could be moved safely. That was back in the day of monstrous sized monitors…boy they were big! Anyway, I had the cable cord that had the little prong things in my hand. I started wrapping the cord in a bundle so that I could put a giant rubber band around it. The cord was swinging. Somehow it got out of control, flung around full circle and the prongs hit me smack in the eye…scratching it.
Did my words give you a visual image? Did you cringe? Could you almost feel the pain? The words I spoke created a visual image of the situation and then it created an emotion. To end that story…I went to the emergency room immediately and my eye was patched and healed just fine.
When you run over a nail and get a flat tire, you can get it fixed. Shortly thereafter, it is forgotten. Words can not be taken back. Once you say them, they hang in the air almost tangibly. Have you ever said something and the moment it left your lips, there was a sense of sinking regret? No matter how much you apologize, the words still had a negative, damaging impact.
Words have a powerful effect on the results we get from ourselves and others. If you were looking for a job and your resume just said, “I’ve worked and now I want a different job,” do you really think that it would make a very good impression of your skills? I know that was a simplistic example, but the point is that WORDS ARE IMPORTANT.
The first step to ensure that you don’t say words your regret is to THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK. If you want to make a good impression then THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK. When your children are rambunctious and you have lost all your patience, THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK.
You can not take back your words. Once you cuss at your boss, scream at your children or humiliate your spouse in public, realize that your words will forever damage the relationship. Sometimes there is no way to repair the damage of the spoken word.
On the flip side, speaking kind, thoughtful, motivating and invigorating words can bouy up the unhappy or give strength and confidence. What and how you speak is a habit and habits can be changed. If you suspect that your tone and body language are harsh or snobby, talk to yourself in the mirror to see if you would want to be your friend.
When the thoughts and images are running through your head all day and they begin to dwell on the negative or hurtful thoughts, shove them aside and speak success and accomplishment to yourself. Basically, give yourself a pep talk and create a new habit of positive self-talk.
Make today “The first day of the rest of your life.”