Think about the last time someone gave you a compliment. How did that make you feel? Most likely, you were slow to accept the compliment because many of us are wired to deny anything really good about ourselves and others have learned to soak up the goodness that comes their way. Which one are you? We have a choice. I choose to soak up the goodness as it comes my way! The trick is to soak up the goodness inside and not allow it to make us appear conceited or too proud.
We can choose to use words of encouragement, or use words destructively. Words have energy and power with the ability to harm, heal, help, hinder, to humble or to humiliate.
“Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” – Proverbs 16:24
I’ve been studying the power of words and have found that words have more power than we sometimes realize. As kids, used to say, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” It’s a witty defense, but simply not true. Words are powerful. They have the ability to inspire someone toward greatness, to excite someone to take action, or to completely crush us.
We all need the life-giving power of encouraging words. Encouraging words lift us up when we are feeling discouraged, they keep us going when we want to give up, they touch our hearts and renew our spirits. Without the life-giving words of encouragement, doubt and insecurity can sneak in and we forget what IS true about us.
Here are 3 ways to help you to think before you speak:
1. Choosing Your Words Wisely
As a society our normal is to talk about our misfortunes and problems. We take our interpretations of events, people and ourselves and communicate them to the world, bringing them into existence.
So, by that admission, when we complain about our lives to others, we are putting those negative words out there to become a reality. When you say something out loud enough times your words become the truth not only in your own mind but in the minds of everyone you are saying them too.
If this is really so, then ask yourself – do you really want to tell yourself and everybody that you know that you are unlucky in love, unsuccessful, miserable, bored or whatever else you have been complaining about? Especially now that you know that it is these exact words that are creating the life that you live?
This is why it is so important to choose your words wisely. Begin to choose the words that you speak consciously. Those negative, powerless words such as ‘can’t’, ‘shouldn’t’, ‘need’, ‘won’t’ should all be avoided. They strip you of your ability to manifest a life that you want to live.
For example, if you would usually say something such as ‘I am unhealthy and overweight’ then why not turn this into a more positive, constructive statement such as ‘I am in the process of becoming healthier and every day I get closer to my ideal weight’.
Your words are the building blocks with which you build your reality. Choose those words wisely and positively to build a reality that is good and works for you. I’m constantly telling my daughter and grandson to watch what you say out into the universe because it will come true. It sounds funny to say – but it is true. The words we use shape our future. The words we speak shape our minute, hour, day, week and years to come.
2. ‘I Am’
Affirm who you are, your dreams, your hopes and your successes with two of the most powerful words that a person can ever utter – ‘I am’.
I AM – two small, but incredibly powerful words, should be considered the most precious words that you have in your entire vocabulary. How we end the sentence ‘I am…’ defines who we are to ourselves and to everybody around us. So, when you say ‘I am…fat/ugly/stupid/failure’ or ‘I am…beautiful/confident/happy/successful’ this is the exact truth that you are creating for yourself. It doesn’t even matter if there is any truth in the words that you are saying, how you finish those two little words of I AM is how you define your reality.
3. Speak words from the Heart
When we complain in life, speak anxiously or use hateful, ugly words, we usually do so from a place of fear. So, the first step that you need to take in order to conquer this is to practice better self-awareness over the words that you are using. Why do we use hateful, ugly words? Is it because we are so caught up in comparing ourselves to others that we can’t be happy for them and their success?
Stop worry about what others are doing or accomplishing. That’s their path – not yours. If you are having a hard time being happy for someone, take a good look at your life and go within to see what it is you feel you are missing out on. Speak from the heart…your I AM.
It is important to be connected to a community of people who are good about cheering you on and supporting you. We need to surround ourselves with people who will be a source of encouragement for us. Those who will speak life and truth into our soul, those who will remind us of God’s grace, love and truth when we forget. Stop associating with people who aren’t happy for you. Don’t allow their negativity to spill over into your life. Remember, they are speaking to you from a place of fear.
Author John Maxwell is known for saying, “Encouragement is like oxygen to the soul, and everyone needs it.”
What can we do?
So at this point, we know words can build us up or knock us down. Think about the times you said something in anger to someone. That time when your child did something you told him not to and you lashed out and told him how bad he was or how stupid his actions were. Kids absorb all that is said to them. You might even apologize once you calm down, but the damage has been done. If you say something negative often enough, it becomes a part of that person and they build their thoughts and actions around that. If you are told enough times that you will never amount to anything – chances are – you will never amount to anything. You will remain in a place where others have put you.
Remember when someone gave us that compliment earlier? Now think about a time when someone gave you criticism. How did you feel? Did you take it as a blow to your ego? Did you take it as constructive criticism and something for you to work on? Are you still friends with that person? Or did you decide that because they hurt your feelings, they no longer have a place in your life? That’s a lot to process, I know – but it’s vital for our growth.
This week, I want you to consider bringing an encouraging word to the people you come across. Even the smallest compliment or encouraging word, or a simple smile could mean the world to someone. Those simple words or actions can communicate worth to someone else. They say, “I see you”, “you are not alone”, “you have a place in this world and I’m glad you’re in it”. Your encouragement can have a far bigger impact than you realize. We never know what someone might be needing to hear, but God does. If we listen and are receptive to His Spirit that moves within us, He will give us the words to speak to bring the right encouragement to someone in our life.