It’s been a hot minute since I’ve written one of these posts, hasn’t it? I used to use these coffee break posts as a way to share more personal things that were happening in my life, but that quickly became overwhelming and around that same time, I also started using my Instagram story to share those same things, making these blog posts unnecessary.
So anyway, I’ve decided that instead, I’d like to write about a specific topic each time; something that has changed the way I think or has provided some value in my own life.
My topic for this week is words.
What words we say as well as the way we say them can play a huge roll in our relationships and interactions with friends, family, or even strangers we meet at the grocery store. Yet, so many of us (myself included) throw them around like the’ll soon be forgotten. But let me tell you friends, that is certainly not the case. Our words can hang around forever.
Read that again. Forever. As in, they may never be forgotten.
I won’t bore you with all the details of the situation I found myself in recently, because it doesn’t really matter; but what does matter is the lession that came out of it.
I found a quote (which I posted on my Instagram story earlier this week) that said:
“The tongue has no bones, but is strong enough to break a heart, so be careful with your words.”
I found it particularly fitting for my situation and for the way I was feeling because the words that had hurt me came from someone who was pretty close to me, a friend, someone I had shared with and listened to, someone who had asked me for advice and then to find out they actually felt very differently about me left me feeling hurt, and betrayed.
I had been broken by…words.
I’m not going to lie, my first reaction was to be angry and vengeful, but with the help of my very level-headed and always-professional-and-respectful husband, I decided that wasn’t the right thing to do.
Instead, I decided to let it be and to ask myself some hard questions. How much thought am I putting into my own words? Have I done the very same thing, intentionally or unintentionally to someone close to me? How can I use this situation to make ME better?
The truth is, this painful situation had opened my eyes. I could use some improvement myself – actually, I think we all can. After a lot of pondering, I came up with these ideas to help me speak intentionally and with kindness.
- The most import one, but also the hardest one (for me anyway), is to think before you speak. Try not to just let words fly out of your mouth without a second thought. Ask yourself, is this factual? Helpful? Inspiring? Kind? If not, then maybe hold back.
- Don’t let your mood influence your words. It’s easy when you’re happy to say kind and positive things, but it’s much more of a challenge when you’re angry or upset. I find that reverting back to #1 if you’re in a bad mood is very helpful, still hard, but helpful. Think it through, will there be repercussions?
- The other thing that I find helpful when my mood is less than ideal is to go out of my way to be kind. I like to genuinely compliment people. Genuinely. Making someone’s day with a compliment has a way of bringing a smile to your own face and might just improve your mood. Therefore making #1 and #2 much easier. I do this one All. The. Time. It works.
- Chill on the complaining. In general, no one wants to listen to someone complain, but think about this, complaining about things will not resolve your issue. Especially if you’re complaining about someone else. Complaining really does no good at all. If you have an issue with a person, try going directly to them to find a resolution. It’s amazing what a solid conversation will do, you both might learn a lot. If you have a complaint about a situation, find someone to help you improve the situation. There’s always a way.
- Try to remove judgment. This is also a toughy in my opinion because we all make snap judgements based on the way a person looks or something we’ve heard from someone else, but really, who are we to judge? Isn’t it better to try to put that aside and find out things for yourself without someone else’s spin on it?
- And finally, remember this – you are the words you speak. Words can literally change you (and your brain). Speaking kindly and positively to yourself can and will influence you to speak kindly and positively about other people and situations. I challenge you to try it. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it.
Words will always matter; they are one of the most important tools we have as humans. They have more power to do good than a bag full of magic wands (okay, I made that up, but really…), and the best part is, we can use them to do SO MUCH good with so very little effort. And if you do inadvertently hurt someone with your words, you can use a whole new set of words to make amends.