Power of Words

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The Power of Words

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me!”

We all heard that saying when we were children, and, like so many other childlike chants, it was a great myth. Words do have power, immense power, and they can cause much pain, because when they are repeated in negative fashion, people, especially children, may end up believing them. “You’re a bad boy,” “You’ll never amount to anything.” “You’re a loser,” “Does your face hurt? It’s killing me.”

These are only slight examples of the negative language we often hear. We have all heard them, and unfortunately have been guilty of dishing them out as well.

During the 1980′s ( my dad told me) there was a big push for building self-esteem, and workshops were available everywhere teaching us how to make people ‘feel good about themselves.’ This 180 degree turn seemed valid in theory, but what happened in many cases was positive feedback became the new mantra, and yet the effect didn’t always achieve the desired results. Why? Because recipients only benefited from the praise if they believed it was genuine.

This brings us to an important point. Self-talk and self-belief are the keys. No one can ruin our day without our permission, and always feeling good about ourselves is impossible. I hold this to be true – that self-esteem and self-worth are not synonymous. Self-esteem is having pride in oneself and generally feeling good about who we are. I don’t know about you, but I certainly have had moments in my life when I wasn’t too proud of my actions, and without question I have had times when I didn’t feel good about me.

This moment of “lack of self-esteem” would indicate that something is terribly wrong. Contrary to the education of self-esteem, nothing is wrong – we are simply human.

Self-worth, on the other hand, is acceptance of who we are – all of our strengths and weaknesses, all of our abilities (or lack thereof), all of our joyful moments as well as those times of sorrow; our contributions and our refusals, etc. See a pattern?

We are worthy simply because we are God’s creation, and we are loved for every part of us.

Whether we are in a good place or a bad one, whether we are contributing or contaminating, whether we have done something to be proud of or something to be embarrassed or ashamed of, nothing diminishes our worthiness.

The negative actions and the ensuing consequences may affect our self-esteem, but it has no impact on our self-worth!

Be the person you were born to be…believe, use that tongue to encourage, to build people up, to help, to empower…your words can mean something and can be tremendously powerful….understand the power of speaking good….the power of words !

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