As a child when I was teased at school I was told to say to myself, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.” I didn’t believe it. The cruel words hurt no matter how many times I repeated that sentence. That experience clarified my own desire to be a source of kind, not cruel words. On the positive side I remember as a young adult wondering if I had the potential to write anything more than letters and journals. A man I respected believed in me and my writing before I did, and that felt so supportive that I was encouraged to continue developing my skills. His words were the inspiration I needed.
Words carry the power to encourage, comfort and calm, as well as humiliate and destroy. We use them to describe what we believe about ourself and others. They affect our vision of the world and the quality of our life. Words shape our perceptions, form our beliefs, and drive our behavior. The parameters of our life are formed by the language that originates with our thoughts.
Words can uplift our personal energy or drag us down. Haven’t we all been around someone who is so negative and full of complaints and demands that we can hardly wait to get away from them? Their words sap our energy so we feel depleted. Christiane Northrup, M.D. in her book Dodging Energy Vampires calls these people “energy vampires” because they live off the energy of other people. This is why taking care of ourself and setting boundaries is essential. Then there are those lovely people who embrace us with encouraging words when we’re struggling, withholding their judgement, and loving us just as we are. These people renew our energy and lift our spirits with their support. Word power is truly amazing.
How we talk to ourself is just as important as our language with others. Belittling our self in any way is harmful. And the more often we do this the more power it has over us because repetition increases validation. Politicians and product advertisers know all about this – used often enough repetition will trump the truth. This is why affirming statements like “I’m lovable or I’m able to solve this problem” are so important. A gift we can give ourself is to surround ourself with positive, uplifting words from ourself and others.
When we become mindful in our language choices, we avoid becoming the person who mindlessly gives voice to every thought and feeling dumping their minds contents without any regard to what they’re saying. Selecting our words carefully and watching our tone of voice, we can speak our truth from a place of peace, compassion and respect. Betty Eadie wrote, “If we understood the power of our thoughts, we would guard them more closely. If we understood the awesome power of our words, we would prefer silence to almost anything negative. In our thoughts and words, we create our own weakness and our own strengths.”
We are social people created to interact with each other. Our brains are wired in what scientists call the “language network” which is the same area of our brain that also regulates our heart rate, adjusts glucose amounts and determines the flow of chemicals supporting our immune system. This means we affect each other’s metabolisms. When talking with someone we care about our breathing and heart rate will synchronize. This happens between infants and caregivers, singing choirs and yoga class participants. If we’re with someone we don’t like or trust, there is no harmony between our bodies and instead we create the disruption of our bodies smooth functioning. This is why people with a loving support system live longer.
We are the architects of our own word power which is a sacred gift. Let’s be selective in our choices and careful in our delivery. Katherine Hurst Ph.D. wrote, “It is our words that provide a bold affirmation of our innermost thoughts. They are a confirmation to the world of how we see others, our lives and ourselves. It is this powerful affirmation that our words provide which enables our thoughts to manifest into reality.” Let’s use our word power to nourish ourself, encourage others, and build a love filled, satisfying life.
Until Next Time,