Have you ever wondered how much power the things we say have?
I have been thinking about this lately…the things we don’t say that we should… like “thank you” or “I love you”, “you are special” or “I’m really glad you are in my life”. And conversely, the things we say that we shouldn’t… things said in anger or frustration; things we regret later, but no apology can erase from memory; things like “that’s stupid” or “you just don’t think” or ”what’s wrong with you”.
Can you think of a time you had the opportunity to say something nice to someone and you just didn’t? Can we afford to assume that people know what we are thinking; that they know they are appreciated, liked or loved?
I know that I can think of many times that I didn’t say an encouraging, motivational or loving word, but I could have – there was no reason I didn’t – I just didn’t. The truth is I don’t need a reason to appreciate someone for something special they are doing; or something they are struggling to accomplish that is worth a little praise; or just that they, themselves, are special, (but often I just haven’t made the effort). I know my husband loves me, but how would I feel if he never said it? I love my children – do they know? And yes, I know that love and acceptance are much more than words, but a little kind speech can do so much to reinforce a person’s feeling of self-worth and belonging!
I read, somewhere, once that a man could tell his wife that he loved her just the way she was a thousand times, and accidentally let one negative comment slip out about her weight, her dress, or whatever and that all those “I love you’s” would be filled with doubt. How fragile our self-worth is and how easily shook by our spoken words!
How would I have felt if my parents hadn’t always assumed the worst of me, or assumed that I was the one that was going to get into the trouble that the other two sisters actually got into? (Yes, they really did say this to me many times as I was growing up.) How could our words be used to help others who are hurting; or who have made mistakes, if we just found a way to say it differently?
We all make mistakes, we are all imperfect, but what if even while we were correcting a child for wrong behaviour; or disagreeing with a loved one, we took the time to speak our side with love and care for their feelings. What if we built them up and sent them off feeling better instead of breaking their spirits or angering them into ignoring us entirely?
If any of you remember the band Mike and the Mechanics…they sang a song called “In the living years” that spoke of missed opportunities and missed things he never got to say to his father. It is a powerful sentiment that I don’t want to forget. I don’t want to miss any more opportunities to say something and to say it from my heart!