Today I want to talk about the power of words. I am referencing most of my content from my great friend, Aaron Loy.
No matter where you grew up we've all heard the same phrase and it may be the most untrue phrase spoken, but we've all heard it or said it. "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." I think we can all agree that the phrase is so untrue. Whenever I hear it, it reminds me of a scrubs episode when Perry says something hurtful to JD.
It is true sticks and stones can break bones, but words can hurt in a way that is far deeper. In a way that no sling, or cast, or visit to the doctor can even begin to heal.
Have you ever been on the giving side of these words? Where you have said something and as soon as you said it, you wish you wouldn't have. If you have, try to think back to that moment. Did you recognize the other person's posture change? Maybe they got timid or became quiet, or maybe there was no change at all. But for better or worse, recognize that your words have power. Your words are powerful.
Someone once asked me, "Do you know the difference between a good leader and a great leader?" I thought for a bit and he answered, "the difference is a good leader allows you to succeed, a great leader creates an environment in which you want to succeed." After I thought about his answer, I couldn't agree more.
Words have the power to create and destroy. Words can heal, and words can crush. The right words can build up, but the wrong words can tear down. Ultimately, there are words that feed and give life or there are words that eat and disrupt life.
Gentle words are a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. Of course I am not saying anything new, and I am sure this topic is something we could agree on. Even more, I would be willing to bet that you have been on the receiving end at some point. And if I had an open forum, stories would pour out about how words have been spoken to you that were not life giving, words that pierced.
As you are reading this, if a particular story comes to mind, you know this is true. Words can stick with us for a very long time. For motivation or desolation, people can hold on to words for a very long time.
"Why don't you look more like her?" "You are the worst mistake I have ever made." "You're stupid, you're just not as smart as him. You know that right?" "You're gay, you don't belong." "You don't have worth. No meaning in this life." "You don't have anything to contribute. You say nothing worthwhile."
These type of words can follow you for quite a long time. But the good news is, there are the opposite kinds of words. Words that give you meaning and hold dear to your heart.
There are words out there that when spoken in the right way just infuse life. They make you feel warm and energetic. They make you want to succeed and share it with others.
"I see something in you.. and it's good. It needs to be shared with the world." "You have a gift. Do you know that? You have a gift and you need to use that, hone that, people need that." "You are special, there is something beautiful within you." "You know how much I respect you? The way you carry yourself and treat others." "Let me tell you something, the world is better with you in it. I wish there were more of you." "My life is better because you are in it."
See the difference? Words have an incredible power. They can make a break a person. If you're the type of person that continually shows gratitude, people will swarm to you. People will want to be around you, and you should take that as a responsibility.
Laying A Foundation
If you are using uplifting words towards other, people will thrive around you and you will notice. This doesn't just happen over night though. This is a repetitive endeavor.
Consider when you were growing up, did you ever have to question what your parents thought of you? Did you know that they would always love you no matter what? Or when you missed the game winning shot at the buzzer, did you know when you got home, that they are still incredibly proud of you? This comes without question, without even a doubt, when they are breathing life into you.
No matter how small the achievement may be, celebrate it. With everything you have, celebrate it. Constantly nourish that tree. "You know that you have been given a gift right? Don't you dare hide that. Don't you ever let fear get in the way of you sharing this gift. You keep writing, you keep leading. Big things are going to happen for you, just you wait."
Now you may not have realized that this foundation was being paved for you until you were much older, or maybe even just now; but now that you are older are you laying a foundation for anyone? Are you sharing that gift that you have?
For me, when it comes to people I care about, I don't want a lack of life giving words to be the thing that holds them back. Because I know from experience that words have power.
Having A Team
Of course there are going to be moments when you struggle yourself. Know that it isn't "an army of one" out there. Without others to lean on, it is very difficult to live your life. If you don't already have someone that you can lean on, find someone.
Don't believe lies about yourself. When you get down on yourself and your confidence is lacking and you start to become exhausted. When you want to just curl in a ball and wither away. Having others there to step in and intervene is crucial. "Remember who you are. Don't believe what you are telling yourself right now. Others need you, depend on you. Remember how you got here."
It is amazing how just those words alone can lift you up, give you life again. You will not be able to breath life into others if you don't know who you really are, and you start believing those lies and allow them to define you.
Keep Your Guard
Above all else, guard your heart. Your heart and soul is the fruit of life, so guard them. Don't believe lies when other use a deceitful tongue. Don't believe lies that you might tell yourself. Lean on someone. Find that comfort and get back on track.
Craig Groeschel says "you can't control what other people say about you, but you can control what you believe." Remember who you are. Don't concern yourself with intimidating lies.
"You are perfectly and wonderfully made. That you have been knit together in your mother's womb. That you are not an accident, in fact you have been created with great intention. That you are hear on purpose and with a purpose. That you are worth every penny at any price." - Aaron Loy
The Bottom Line
Help people. Lift them up, don't break them down. Be somebody that makes someone feel like somebody. Lay that foundation.