“Words kill, words give life;
they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.”
-Proverbs 18:21 (msg)
Have you ever truly considered how powerful words are?
They can stir every kind of emotion inside us. They can take us on fantastical adventures or transport us to another place. They can build us up, or tear us down. They can mend a broken heart or they can be source of the damage in the first place.
We all know the pleasure of a witty joke, or the rush of a sincere compliment offered by others. Likewise, we also know the sting and crushing blow of thoughtless or deliberately cruel words flung our way.
“Because even the smallest of words can be the ones to hurt you, or save you.”
– Natsuki Takaya
Some people simply don’t think about what comes out of their mouths! They have no idea what damage they are doing with the words they say.
That said, are you aware of what damage you are doing with your own words? Yes, you could be doing damage to others by being careless with what you say, and that is a serious thing, but take a moment and consider what damage you are doing to yourself with the words you use with yourself.
A number of years ago I remember reading an article about an experiment that was undertaken with plants (I now can’t find the article). There were two experiments conducted where a group of plants were spoken to by scientists each day. The first group of plants was spoken to with words of encouragement, love, and kindness. The second group of plants, as you might guess, were verbally abused day after day. After just a few weeks of this, the scientists began to notice a difference in the two groups. Group 1 plants were thriving, but the plants in Group 2 weren’t doing so well.
The experiment continued and after a couple of months most of the plants in Group 2 were dead. Now this wasn’t from lack of care. Both groups of plants were watered and offered the same amount of sunlight and fertiliser as the other, the only difference was in the way the plants were spoken to. The plants in Group 1 went on to maturity and full health and even bore seeds and fruit, while Group 2 literally withered away and died.
It might be hard to believe, but imagine if that is the effect words can have on plants, then what is your internal dialogue doing to you?
For most of my life I haven’t had a very good view of myself. I was always different as a kid and was teased for being overweight, put down for being creative and just generally misunderstood. Something I’m sure many of you can relate to. Of course the words others said about me and to me had a big impact on the way I saw myself. A child doesn’t know any better.
However, it has only been in recent years that I have become so clearly aware of how much of these painful words I had been repeating to myself over and over and over hundreds of times a day, subconsciously. I had simply come to accept them as truth, when they were anything but! It was little wonder I thought so badly of myself, and no wonder why I had become subject to my circumstances and why life was overwhelming me. I was killing my own spirit with the words of others I had adopted and others that I had added to the mix on my own.
What words come to your mind when you mess something up?
What words do you hear when things aren’t going the way you expected?
What recording plays in your mind about yourself when you look at others?
What about when things ARE going well, what do you tell yourself then?
Do you use abusive words or negative language? Do you verbally beat yourself up? When things go well, do you tell yourself you don’t deserve it or that things will soon crash down around you?
You certainly aren’t alone.
I have been on a massive personal journey over the last few years and some of the biggest breakthrough I have had has come through a big change in the way I talk to myself. I started the habit of truly listening to my inner dialogue. Taking notice of the way I spoke to myself. I was horrified! I would NEVER have spoken to someone else the way I spoke to myself!
This had to change.
Changing your inner vocabulary isn’t easy. It takes a lot of work and a lot of effort to be mindful of the words you are using, and it certainly isn’t a “one time fixes all” situation, but it is SO worth it! Moment-by-moment replacing the negative words with positive ones started a shift. There were many “fake it ’til you make it” moments, but the more you repeat the truth, the life-giving words about yourself, the more easily your mind will accept them as the truth they are.
My life has changed so very much since I started using the power of words for good in the way I speak to myself. I’m not perfect, I don’t get it right every time, but in pulling myself up and correcting the negative words and thought patterns, my confidence has grown, I am more positive overall and I am attracting like-minded people into my world! My life now has life! I am caring for my mind, my soul and my spirit by using a language of love and kindness. This way of talking to yourself can’t help but spill out in the way you speak to others too. A woman who is kind to herself is kind to those around her. It also has a positive impact on every other area of your life – your work, your relationships, your health – everything!
The power of words really is a matter of life and death to the spirit. Which will you choose?
For those of you who wish to shift the power of words in from death to life, I have a little task for you. Take some time each day this week to take note of the words you repeat to yourself and write them down. Start by being aware of these words when they pop into your mind and consciously decide to stop repeating them to yourself, and even better, replace them with life-giving words and phrases; words of encouragement. Continue to do this until you break the bad habit and using kind words toward yourself become your go-to. Keep at it. I promise you, it’s worth it!