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Powerful Words

In life there are some pretty powerful words that once uttered will stay with us forever, here are just a few:
 
  • Your baby is healthy
  • You have Cancer
  • I’m Sorry
  • Will you Marry Me?
  • It’s Over
  • I regret to inform you…
  • You are in Remission
  • You Won!
  • This is FREE!
  • Congratulations!
  • I Cheated
  • You WON!
  • Congratulations Graduate!
  • The Jury Finds You: Guilty
  • I am here for you
  • I love you

 

Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.
Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.
-J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
 

We all crave kind words of support and encouragement, but so many of us have fallen victim to the knife edge of hate filled, unkind, unsupportive, mean and demeaning language.  Either growing up with parents who used words to tear down instead of building up.  Teachers who instead of being cheerleaders and our biggest supporters, tore us down with words such as: no potential, lost cause, and low achiever.  Sometimes the loudest voice that tears us down is the one in our head telling us we aren’t capable or worthy,  mimicking the words of those who have bullied or abused us in the past.             

 

On August 3rd, 2021 Penny Oleksiak tweeted:

I just googled “Canada’s most decorated Olympian” and my name came up. I want to thank that teacher in high school who told me to stop swimming to focus on school bc swimming wouldn’t get me anywhere. This is what dreams are made of.

 

Throughout life the people who discourage and barrage us with soul crushing statements on our bodies, our job choices, on the clothing we choose to wear and how we live our lives will be many.  Our ability to go back in time and stand up to our bullies may not be possible.  But we can learn how to speak kinder to ourselves and to others, to demand those who interact with us show respect, as well as learn to undo the chains of generational verbal abuse.  

 

There exists, for everyone, a sentence - a series of words - that has the power to destroy you. Another sentence exists, another series of words, that could heal you. If you're lucky you will get the second, but you can be certain of getting the first.
- Philip K. ****

 

So how can we personally learn how to harness the power of words and learn to speak to ourselves, our family, our children and others with kindness and respect?

 

Journal

Buy a journal or composition notebook and write down 1-5 observations you had during the day of things you did well, instances where you treated others with kindness, or had a kindness shown to you.  Follow up with how this instance or instances made you feel.  Did you feel loved, empowered, embarrassed...?  

On the flip side, did you say words that were mean or harsh, how did that make you feel, how do you think it made the recipient feel?  Did someone say something unkind, cruel or demeaning to you?  How did you feel about it, how are you feeling about it now?

 

Process and Learn

Processing and learning from your experiences will allow you to learn a vital truth, words have the power to build up and tear down.  If we take a moment to think about the words before we speak them, we can learn to prioritize words that express support and compassion and banish those that cause pain and emotional scarring.  

 

Pause

It is inevitable that your parents or grandparents will suddenly come out of your mouth, funny sayings in a language they used or even words of wisdom are welcome, learned verbal abuse and unchecked rage, not at all welcomed.  Finding yourself berating or talking down to your children,  repeating patterns from your less than ideal childhood with your children or finding yourself screaming at your spouse because that is literally the only way you ever saw your parents communicate with one another, should give you pause.  

 

Patterns ingrained in our heads and our psyche don’t change overnight, but if you truly want the words that come out of your mouth to be kind and non harming, build up instead of destroy, put these steps into practice:

  • Speak with Compassion
  • Seek the opinion and viewpoint of others outside your “normal”
  • Treat others as you would treat the person you love most in the world
  • When self doubt settles, don’t talk down to yourself, use words of comfort and love-talk to yourself as you would an injured child
  • When you mess up, ask for forgiveness
  • When frustrated, admit you need a moment
  • Recognize when you are falling into the patterns set by unhealthy role models, take a moment and often the answer is, do or say the opposite 

 

people say things
meant to rip you in half
but you hold the power to not
turn their words into a knife
and cut yourself
-rupi kaur, Milk and Honey
 

You have the power to change the world, one kind and supportive word at a time. We believe in you.  

-Team SG

 

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