Since I always wanted to be a writer, I have felt a tremendous sense of honour in being able to use words to uplift and inspire others with my column. But I haven't always been so sure about what to write. Writing has been my therapy, my release and the only thing I knew how to do properly.
The great thing about writing is that it can be edited, unlike our spoken words.
My mouth has gotten me into plenty of trouble in my short lifetime. Perhaps, then, it's ironic that, as a teenager, I learned that my spiritual gift is Exhortation, or encouragement.
Although I do love to lift people up, there is also a part of me that is fully capable of tearing others down. Often, in moments of my own pain and insecurity, I have hurt those closest to me.
I have experienced extended misery as a direct consequence of words I have spoken. My entire world, all of my happiness, my relationships, my sanity, all have been held in the balance on my tongue. But for almighty grace, I would have lost everything, time and again, because of what I chose to utter.
I have spent my entire life learning the power of our voice and how we use it.
When I was younger, I was often lippy, sarcastic, critical and boy, could I nag and complain!
It often seems that negative utterances, such as complaints, are not only normal, but people will look at you weird if you say positive things or want to give accolades when there are no cameras or microphones listening!
To be truly effective with our speech, we need to activate a filter in our heads, subjecting our thoughts to scrutiny before opening our mouths.
We have all tuned out the girl who states every random thing that enters her head and we have all known the man who keeps quiet until something important needs to be said. Often, when the latter person speaks, we are all blown away by his wisdom and clarity.
We need to decide what is worth saying. Keep in mind, preparedness packs a punch.
Speaking your truth also doesn't mean you'll keep your friends. Take-backs are not always available, depending on the nature of the relationship.
Some of us don't lash out at others unless we know that those individuals will forgive us, because they love us unconditionally. We feel safe to work out our fears, disappointments, frustration and anger in the company of our loved ones. To love anybody through anything, we must use innocent perception. We have to try to see everyone as a hurt child who is healing. Although it is not always pretty, healing is entirely possible when one focuses on healing and not on injury.
Words are always more powerful than we realize, especially when spoken to children. We can create little super heroes or we can create little villains, depending on the words we choose.
Words can pick people up when they are down, or they can kick them when they are down. They can do the same thing if we think or say them to ourselves. Our bodies respond to our words, which is why so many self-help books advise vocalizing affirmations.
If you knew that your words were the key factor in the success patterns of your entire family, would you be more impeccable with your speech? We must tell our children how proud we are of them, for being who they are, not only for what they may have accomplished.
You can make somebody's day by telling them that everything is going to be alright. Tell her she is beautiful. Tell him he is loved. Be willing to risk the vulnerability of paying a compliment and remember, a smile is the shortest distance between two people.