Kind words do not cost much. They never blister the tongue or lips. They make other people good-natured. They also produce their own image on men's souls, and a beautiful image it is. -Blaise Pascal
I have been thinking a lot lately about the power we hold just because of the words we are able to say. I think we underestimate how much what we say (or sometimes, don’t say) can affect others in our lives. Words are such a fascinating concept. With a single word, an individual’s life can be changed. Of course it is the meaning behind the word that makes the difference, but that is all it takes. And that power is within us! Honestly this scares me. I often speak without thinking about what I am saying and how it may affect someone else. There are many situations when our words (or lack of words) get away from us. First, when we are angry. Now I keep mentioning lack of words. And this is because I am more the type of person who, when angry, will shut down and not say anything. Some people blow up and say everything, not me. This is a problem, when, I am angry or upset and should be there for someone else, but because I am upset, I won’t say the words they may need to hear. In this situation, my lack of words is affecting someone else. On the other hand, anger can bring about hurtful and upsetting words that can be just as devastating, if not more so. Another situation in which we may loose control of what we say is as a result of jealousy. Jealousy puts up within us a wall of defense in which we feel we have to protect ourselves from someone else’s successes. Why is it so hard for us to be happy for others who are given or achieve something we don’t? I will be the first to admit I have such a hard time with this. And when these situations arise, I have a hard time using my words to build that other person up. A third situation revolves around lies. Lies have the potential to ruin relationships, lives, reputations, and self-esteem. An untruthful word can hurt so much even if the lie is eventually accounted for.
I know this blog is supposed to be about health and healthy living. So why am I talking about words? I am coming to realize more and more the intensity in which our interactions with others affect our outlook on life. In my last posting I talked about the different aspect of health- including spiritual and mental in addition to physical. I question the importance of physical health without mental and spiritual health. If our own mental and spiritual health is significant to ourselves, then we can assume this is the case in others as well. And if our words have the potential to injure the spiritual and mental health of others, than we need to keep our words (or lack of words) in check. Wouldn’t you agree? Yet why do we, on a daily basis, say words that can hurt someone else? Even if said in a joking manner, these words are not aiming to benefit the other. I’m not saying don’t joke around and have fun. But be aware of the things you say and how they might make the other person feel.
If, then, our negative words have the power to influence someone in a negative manner, would it be accurate to assume our positive words can influence someone in a positive manner? This is obvious. You give someone an encouraging comment, and they are given a little bit of optimism for the day. I know several people in my life who are naturally good at this. Each time, after I finish talking to them, I walk away feeling uplifted and in a better mood. These people have had such a huge impact on my life through the kindness behind the words they share. I so desire to be this type of person, who uses every conversation to better the mental and spiritual health of another.
I don’t know if you’ve ever given a second thought to the power your words can have on the health of someone else. If not, I would encourage you to try to remind yourself on a regular basis to intentionally use the power of your words to generate a more healthy culture of people around you.