Words are powerful. They can lift you up, and they can tear you down. They can make you feel full and loved and they can make you feel empty and alone. Our words can be used as weapons, on ourselves, and those around us, and they can repair cracks and tears and make those places stronger. We choose how we use our words and right now it seems more important than ever to use them for good, to use them to connect, for understanding, compassion, and comfort. It doesn’t take a lot of time to convey how we feel, we can do it with a few short words, words that may mean the world to someone who may need to hear them. We may choose to use our words sparingly as we listen to someone else sharing theirs who needs you to hear what they have to say, or just needs to be heard, which is why it’s so important to choose the words carefully that we use and say for anyone to hear.
Before walking the path I do today many times I used my words to hurt, I used them to push people away, to manipulate and to spin whatever narrative I wanted to tell, regardless of the truth. I told myself I was making those choices to protect myself, but I was really choosing my words for selfish reasons and the words I chose to use on myself were just as harsh, if not harsher, which kept me down and away from the light. I knew I wasn’t the person who spoke those words and so when I did I tried to justify my choice but it would only fuel the negative voices in my head that told me I was a bad person which kept digging me in a deeper and deeper into a darker hole. My choice to use the words I was kept me sick and kept me from connecting with those around me. I lashed out, even at loved ones, if I was having a bad day or wasn’t getting what I wanted. I was told, early on in my recovery, before I learned to use softer and more caring words, that I had a barbed tongue, something that, before I made a commitment to get better, I would have been proud of. The truth is I used those harsh words because I was scared, I was in fear all the time, and, having a gift for thinking quickly on my feet and knowing what words hurt the most, I would throw them out like missiles when I felt I was under attack, or, I was the attacker. Learning to speak with a language of love took time, and it started with the words I used to talk to myself.
When we speak to ourselves we are listening, and those words sit deep within us and are absorbed into our tissue and cells, they don’t go away. We believe what we say to ourselves, and so does our mind and body, those words we say make a huge impact on who we are and what we feel we are capable of. I had to learn to speak to myself like a loving parent would, or partner or friend. I had to ask myself what I wanted to hear, and then I had to make a point of saying those things to myself, but a big part of my changing the words I used also had to be the way I spoke to others. Sometimes it was easier to speak kindly to others than it was to myself, and when I did, I felt good saying those words which then allowed me to say nice things to myself. What we think and what we say are connected, when we speak with kindness we identify that kindness within ourselves.
Before we blurt out the first words that come to mind, we should ask ourselves if the words we are choosing to use are going to hurt or heal. The answer to that question will have a ripple effect on how you feel about yourself and how others feel about you. As you go about your day ask yourself, what do your words do? SLAY on!
SLAY OF THE DAY: Do you think about the words you use or do you just speak without asking yourself if you should say them? What has been the result of you just speaking without thought? Have your words hurt someone? How did that make you feel? What was the result of that? Have you consciously used your words to heal? Give an example. How did that make you feel? How do you speak to yourself? Do you speak lovingly? Or do you tear yourself down? How does tearing yourself down help you? How does it hurt you? The words you choose to use are important, they not only convey who you are to the outside world but your innermost self. Remember, you are listening.
S – self L – love A – appreciate Y – you