Our Words to Ourselves: Friend or Foe?

October 04, 2017

"Sticks and Stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" 

I heard this a few days ago as I walked by a park with children playing. I thought to myself. " Wow! I remember that. Blast from the past indeed. As a child I remember hearing this on the playground many times when someone was being made fun of.  It implied that you could harm me physically with acts, but you couldn't hurt me the same way by insulting me. As children we believed this. We chanted this.

I think about it now as an adult and realise how untrue this statement is. In my opinion, it is the reverse.

Words are incredibly powerful and harmful and can cut like a knife and leave scars for years to come. If someone punches you, you feel that pain maybe for a few days. Someone says something about you and your character when you are in vulnerable state? That can last a lifetime.

The words others say to us can have a deep impact on our lives and our future. However, I believe the words that are most harmful are the ones we say to ourselves. Think about it for moment. I bet some of the things you say about yourself you would never say to anyone else. Things like, "You're getting old. You don't have enough money. You are so out of shape.You should be further along in your career. You look terrible. You are not good enough. You are getting wrinkles. You look exhausted... etc 

But for some reason it is okay for you to be unkind to yourself, even though it isn't okay to be unkind to others. I am guilty of this too. I can speak incredibly harshly to myself which is definitely not speaking my truth.

I have been telling myself that I am burnt out and exhausted. How I need a break, a vacation. Now, I can see the direct correlation between my words and my attitude. My hurtful and judgemental words to myself have cut down my productivity to the point where I can’t be my usual bubbly, energetic self. It has offed my ability to inspire and encourage others, which I love to do. My words are having a direct impact on my perspective of self-worth and my ability to express joy and love without hesitation.

So what does this all mean? What's my solution?

Well, words can hurt you. But if they can hurt you, if they can have that deep of an impact, then it makes sense to assume they can also lift you up and heal you if used in a caring way.

One of my favourite verses in the Bible is found in the book of  Proverbs 18:21 "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit." What you say to yourself or to someone else can either speak life or speak death.

There are a few things that I think would be helpful

1. Watch what you say. Start being mindful of what you are saying about yourself and start to say things that uplift you rather than put you down.

2. Give thanks. You can always find something to be thankful about in your life.

3. Speak life. Not only over yourself but over others and watch how your life and theirs change.

And start doing these things today, with me. Don't wait until tomorrow or another undetermined day in the future when you feel it is time. Start now, and don't let those judgemental and unkind thoughts take priority in your mind. 

Just another way to live prosperously.

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