Your Words Can Change your Life
Sunday, August 12, 2012
"Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul, and health to the bones? Proverbs 16:24
Today, I am led to share some thoughts on the power of the words you use on a daily basis. As you seek to live your best possible life, it is important to be aware of the power of words in your life - including those you speak, write and consume. Words can enhance your attitude, strengthen your mind, heal relationships, give wisdom in the midst of chaos, communicate ideas and speak peace into a situation. There are so many good possibilities for the words we use.
Unfortunately, there are just as many negative possibilities. Words can create confusion, anger, hatred, and tear down in just a few moments what has taken years to build.
Although you may not notice that your words do anything negative in the world around you, I challenge you to consider ways that you can do more good in the world through the power of your words. Consider these questions as you seek to do just that:
1. Do I often find myself wishing I could take back something I've said or written?
The blessing and curse of words is the same: They cannot be easily undone. That's why it is critical to choose your words carefully. Whether it is the words you use to communicate with your children or handle a conflict in your work environment, once you say something, it's said, and once you fire off that scathing email, it's a permanent record. You can do damage or good in a matter of seconds. Make sure your words do the latter.
2. When I hear gossip, do I give in to the urge to encourage more conversation or do I change the flow of the conversation to something more positive?
I know, I know. Some gossip is awfully tempting, but make a decision to steer clear of all of it. When you embrace all that is possible for your life, you become much less concerned with negative conversation. In my book, Rich Minds, Rich Rewards, there is a chapter called, "Mind your own business." Simply put, when you mind your own business, there isn't much time to get caught up in the personal business of others. Be vigilant about any negative words you allow into your environment - whether through people or media.
3. Do I wait until I am angry or frustrated to give people my opinion about their behavior, or do I take time to calm down before speaking about an emotionally-charged topic?
Nine times out of ten, waiting to respond to a situation that has you emotionally charged will result in a much calmer and wiser response. Wait a set period of time (it could be ten minutes, 24 hours or more) before addressing someone about an issue if you think you may say something too harshly or that you may later regret. Your communication will be clearer and more effective when you have time to take the emotion out of your response and think about the words you want to use.
4. When I am feeling down about my circumstances, do I speak negatively about myself?
The power of your words not only affects others, but perhaps most significantly, they affect you. Become aware of what you say about yourself - whether speaking to yourself or others. Do you beat yourself up for making a mistake? Do you tell yourself or others that you aren't smart enough, experienced enough, talented enough, attractive enough or good enough to succeed in your endeavors? Even if your self-esteem leads you to believe these things are true, tell yourself the opposite. "I have everything I need to accomplish my dream. I am a good person. I am getting better day by day. My circumstances, whether positive or negative, do not define who I am." Use your words to enhance, enrich and empower your life rather than allowing them to tear you down.
5. Do I feel the need to always voice my opinion?
Some of the wisest people in the world speak the least. They are secure enough in who they are that they don't feel the need to prove their worthiness by expressing their opinion and knowledge at every given opportunity. Instead, they listen without judgment. Through their listening, they learn and gain wisdom. Practice being quiet, even when you feel the urge to let everyone hear your opinion. Of course, there are times when expressing your opinion is critical. Learn to discern the difference between speaking out of insecurity or a need for attention, and speaking out of authenticity and mutual benefit.