Most of us underestimate the power of our words. We sometimes miss how our words set a tone. A few words can make someone’s day, or shatter it. Words can inspire someone to buy, or to go away without buying! Our words can move someone to do their best work, or to work against us. Your spoken words serve either to build up or to tear down. They serve to empower and inspire, or to disempower and hurt. Words are either life affirming or destructive. For this reason we should choose our words carefully.
When you are talking to someone ask yourself this question: “Who am I being and what does the impact of my words have on the people around me?” The power of your words lies in the intention behind them. Is it your intention to create a resolution or to be right?
We communicate best when we are clear about who we are and what we intend. This kind of clarity prevents us from saying words that are harmful to ourselves and others. It may prevent us from engaging in harmful gossip and complaining.
Gossip is usually destructive. It is often a careless use of our words. We just aren’t thinking about how we are affecting others. Sometimes gossip is mean-spirited and intended to cause hurt. Whether gossip is careless or intentional, it causes pain. We may be hoping for a little humour or self-justification, but the results of gossip are anger, suspicion, embarrassment, and fear. These creations of gossip negatively affect morale, service, and productivity. You cannot both care about someone and gossip about them.
Similar to gossip is chronic complaining. Complaining about people and situations makes us feel and look powerless. Chronic complaining leads us into a dead-end street where there is nothing to be done. We become victims who are powerless to change anything. While venting frustrations to a trusted friend can be helpful in releasing negative feelings, complaining to everyone tends to reinforce negative feelings. Like gossip, chronic complaining disempowers us.
Our power to do harm is exceeded only by our power to do well. A simple, sincere apology (given without expectation of return) can heal a relationship. An uplifting word at the right moment can change a life, launch a career, or convince someone to go beyond perceived limitations. By consciously looking for evidence of greatness in others, and by using our words to tell them, we help others to build confidence. When we sincerely speak well of others we uplift ourselves.
There is great power in making the commitment to keeping our words as positive and life affirming as we are able. As an affirming presence our influence grows. We feel better about ourselves. Constant negative speech imprisons us and prevents us from finding joy and success. Developing the habit of speaking well of self and others frees us to enjoy life more. We become a blessing to ourselves and to others.
Our spoken words originate from our thoughts. The best way to increase the positive power of our spoken words is to clean up our thinking. We must become willing to think well of ourselves. Constant self-criticism needs to become unacceptable. We free ourselves to think and speak well of others by thinking well of ourselves.