I believe in the power of words.
Very, very much so.
All my life it’s been one of my strongest beliefs along with one of my greatest loves.
Maybe it started back when I finished my first Steinbeck novel and felt like somewhere deep inside of me, the fictional characters had changed me. Or when I first watched Martin Luther King Jr. give a speech with eyes of fire and a voice that quivered with raw emotion. Maybe it was the first time I was made fun of for my weight back in middle school and those words made me wrap a sweatshirt around my waist for a week afterward. Or perhaps it was the time when I was struggling with math homework and my Dad simply said, “You are SO smart, Kayla!” And I aced the assignment like no one’s business.
Honestly, who knows? It could have been a multitude of things. But I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t completely aware of the strength of words and how the spoken–or written–word can literally change things and create things. But with that said, being aware of something doesn’t mean I’m always on top of my game with it. In fact, it’s a struggle for me.
And it might be for you.
From what I’ve seen, it’s one of humanity’s greatest struggles and greatest downfalls.
By nature I can be slightly *depending on the day*– cynical. And it can be a little too easy for me to slip into negativity. You wouldn’t know it by knowing me that I deliberately say “It’s going to be a good day” every morning that I step into the bathroom to get ready to combat pesky worries, stresses, and the never-ending to-do list. I often write lists that count my blessings and say things I don’t quite believe at the time but WANT to believe, so I’ll say it anyway and build faith in it. I consciously have to work at staying positive when the day looks like anything but.
I’m not saying my life is horrible because it certainly isn’t in the least bit. But perspective is everything. And it’s something that I–and I feel so many others– are lacking at times when the winds start to blow and the negative thoughts attack us about our bodies, our finances, our families, our work, our faith.
There’s power in words–so why do we use choose to use them so loosely?
One of my district managers sat down beside me at a company dinner the other night and said something that really made me self-reflect. “We live in a world where we constantly say what things aren’t,” he said. “We talk about everything we’re not even when we don’t mean to. The way we word things, even random sentences, are often so negatively worded, and believe it or not it has a negative effect on our attitudes, our relationships–our entire life.”
It couldn’t be more true. Since talking to him I’ve really noticed how prevalent it is.
How many times do we hear “Not bad” when someone could say “I’m great!” instead. How many times do we say, “I don’t want to fail” instead of “I want to succeed”, or “I don’t think it’ll work” instead of “Who knows? This might work”. Our sentences in today’s culture and world are straying from the affirmative and becoming a wash of reminders of everything that hasn’t happened, everything that we don’t have, everything that we aren’t. We constantly measure ourselves against expectations in our minds, magazine spreads, fears, insecurities stirred by the negativity of others, and those around us who happen to measure us right back. But why do we do it?
Because we forget who we are.
We forget the power we hold in our minds and in our words. We forget we’re powerful beings who can create our lives–or ultimately destroy them.
The words you speak, I once heard someone say, become the house you live in.
And too often, I think, our houses crumble.
“Write,” my grandma used to say when I would scribble stories in my notebook, my short legs not hitting the floor quite yet. “Write beautiful words so you can create beautiful new worlds to go to.”
Now looking back on that I realize the truth of those words can go a step further even.
Write. Or sing. Or speak aloud beautiful words so you can then create your beautiful world.
It really is that easy.