It's incredible how a single word potentially has so much power over individuals! I had to learn the hard way over the last few years to use my words wisely as there have been times where I may have said something inappropriate and not even realised the consequences of it. But on the other hand, I've had others speak to me in a manner where I have felt inadequate and had to question my character.
I will be honest and say that I am a words person with love language - I thrive on positive words of encouragement and kindness! But in saying that, I do tend to take negative words quite personally and begin to doubt myself (I am actively working on changing that). I recognise that my occasional offending words towards others is my own 'defensive mechanism' in action - trying to find my own 'safe' way to deal with my own issues. But as I get stronger in character, this is happening less frequently.
Through my process of growing, I've had to take on the following mindsets in terms of how I use my words:
1. My words have more power than I think, so it's imperitatve that I THINK carefully before I open my mouth or place my fingers on a keyboard.
2. Other people's words have the power to impact me if I ALLOW them too. I have the power to respond with kindness and forgive what they have said. Although it doesn't change the fact it's out in the open and isn't easily forgotten, I can still choose how I handle it and how quick I move forward.
3. Those unkind words were not meant for me as a person, but rather a reflection of THEIR issues… this works in reverse as well! I need to work on what's eating at me inside that would make me consider saying something that's inappropriate.
4. My words will shape my daughter's future. I've had family say some pretty cruel things to me growing up and I am still working on overcoming them - so it's only right that I don't do that to my own child.
5. Sometimes I need to see words for what they ARE rather than what I THINK they are. Reading between the lines can potentially make things worse.
I know that I have a long way to go, but I'm ok with that. I am happy to take ownership of what comes out of my mouth and use it to grow as an individual. I look at it from the angle that I want to use one of my biggest weaknesses to inspire and impact others, rather than cause hurt and chaos.
In finishing, here is a quote by Mother Teresa that sums up the concept of words so well:
"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless."