“The words we say to people we love shape them, for better or for worse.”
— Bryan Stevenson
We all get angry and say things we come later to regret. This is just part of being human. But when negative patterns form, especially patterns of criticism or condemnation, those we love are affected to the point of not only low self-esteem, but their overall sense of themselves takes a hit.
Negative patterns aside, those with the gift of encouragement speak the wonders of love into those lives on the receiving end. Perhaps nothing lifts a soul into the stratosphere of serendipity than a kind word, for the appropriate reason, in good season.
It is clear that words either dignify or destroy.
Times When Our Words Hurt
Sometimes we deliberately say things that hurt, and sometimes we hurt people unintentionally. Our words have about them the reflection of our hearts, and we all know our hearts are far from perfect.
Our words can be especially hurtful when they are expelled from the mouth when we are tired, hungry, confused, upset, lonely, etc. When we are emotionally vulnerable is when we need to somehow pray for the discernment and energy to say the right things, and, more so, mean them.
When we are hurt we are more likely to hurt others by what we do and say.
Of course, when we have said something—the wrong thing or something hurtful—we can (and should) redeem the moment and the wobbly relationship, if we are genuinely sorry and focused on restoration.
Times When Our Words Heal
It’s reasonably well known that we need five positives for every negative when it comes to speech that builds up. In some relationships we find that easy to manage. But in others we find it a challenge even if the reverse were true.
Our words have a healing property about them when we take the time and make the effort to appreciate people. As we intently notice the praiseworthy, and we think innovatively about how and when to encourage someone, particularly a loved one, we engineer opportunities at love.
Our words are representative of our hearts. When we nurture kindness, compassion, empathy, and respect, our integrity is vocalised, and the people we love are urged on, strengthened, and encouraged.
Words mean so much. When we honour people through the focused integrity of our thinking we are an encouragement. But when we criticise or condemn we miss the mark and nobody wins.
Our hearts produce seismic motions, gravitating through the words we speak. Issuing words of encouragement is about nurturing a heart of love.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.