Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Power of Words

I love you!
I hate you!
She's so fat.
He's a beanpole!
She's HOT!
What a dog!
What a sweetheart!
What a bitch!
Don't be so stupid.
You are such a geek!


They are all just words, right? Sticks and stones and all that.

Let me let you in on a secret; the old saying "Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me is a crock of crap. Worse than a fist coming at you full force, words have the power to do life-long damage. Here's the kicker-it doesn't matter who says them. It doesn't matter if it is your best friend, your sister, your Mom, your life-mate or a stranger- nasty words or complementary words have the power to make or break our whole day.

I can't, I don't, I am not strong enough, I am not __________ enough.

More than anything anyone says to us, it's the messages we give to ourselves that affect every aspect of our lives. Ask yourself honestly; who's words do you hear more than anyone else's? That little voice in your head would be my bet. I can't speak for anyone else, but I can talk myself out of something faster than a New York minute. It doesn't matter what anyone else says, if I don't believe in myself, no matter what it is i think i want to do is just not going to happen. I could give dozens of examples of this, but I am betting that you can come up with examples in your own life.


We have heard so much about bullying in the last few years, often with tragic results.
What I find interesting is the number of adults my age who have come forward to say that they too were bullied when they were in high school. High school wasn't my favorite time of my life, that's for sure. Looking back, I had no idea who I was, which made me feel somewhat isolated. What I have learned in retrospect is that even the people who I thought had it all together, who seemed so very sure of themselves, were going through the same thing. I have also discovered that it's absolutely true that those who were bullies in high school were actually insecure as to their own place in the grand scheme of things. My mother once told me that your 15th high school reunion is the great equalizer. She was right. By the 15th we have all had setbacks, we have all suffered losses. We have all grown up enough to realize that it's not all about us. We have all put the drama behind us because we have realized that all of those things that we thought were so life and death important- just don't matter. Best of all, we have all had time to create a life that we can be proud of. If I were famous, I would be compelled to make a video for the Trevor Project because it truly does get better in terms of having a good, productive and happy life as an adult.

Here's the kicker though- you have to choose it. You have to choose happiness. You have to choose positivity. You can be incredibly successful, but if you don't appreciate your success, it really can be very empty. Now here's the great part- if you make that choice, it affects every part of your life. Choosing happiness makes you stronger. If you are happy with who you are, if you have a positive outlook on life, you can handle anything. You can handle loss, you can handle a tough diagnosis, and best of all, you can quiet that voice in your head that disparages you. You can kick your inner bully to the curb and make yourself more aware of when he or she tries to creep back in.

A skill I have recently fostered is to listen. Not that I don't listen to others- because I try to always listen to other people. What I have learned to do is to listen to myself. I am trying to make a point of really listening to and considering the words I use. Don't, can't, won't, hate; Ugly, fat, stupid- all words that have power over me in one way or another. Most of all, they allow me to limit myself. As I catch myself thinking or saying them, I am learning to stop cold and reframe my thinking to something positive. When I do so, I can turn my day around in an instant. Give it a try. The next time you find yourself thinking that you can't do something, that you aren't good enough, smart enough, strong enough- stop. Turn it around and think of something that you are good at, that you do well, or even just say an affirmation or two. Then take a deep breath and give whatever it is that you were talking yourself out of a shot. You CAN do it-whatever it is that you want to do- as long as you believe in yourself. I know you can- I believe in you!

1 comment:

Pain Free...One Day said...

I really like this post because the bible tells us that words have the power of life & death. People forget that words are perhaps the most powerful weapon we all have at our disposal and we must very careful what we say & how we say it.