“The words that people say to us not only have shelf life but the ability to shape life.” Bob Goff
I was a tired young mommy as I grabbed a grocery cart that Monday morning. My son was 2 months old and far from sleeping through the night. I spent many of my days in my sweats and a T-shirt as I navigated my new role as a mother; nursing, diapers, laundry, nursing, diapers, dinner….you get the picture! I loved my new role and my little guy but, clearly, I was tired.
On this particular day I had the opportunity to shower, put on “real clothes”, and head out to grocery shop all on my own. I was feeling a little refreshed, happy, and actually excited to be out and about. I think it was somewhere near the milk and cheese aisle when a woman came around the corner, smiled at me, patted my tummy, and asked me when my baby was due! Right now you are thinking “Oh no!” right? Though she meant no ill will, my day was hugely impacted by her misplaced words. I was dashed!
Our words hold a great deal of power to bring encouragement or hurt, to breathe life or suck the air out of a room. I wish I could say I’ve always been great in using my words for good. In those moments where I’ve been sharp or unkind there has never been a positive outcome! Never!
Author Michael Hyatt says ” Our words carry enormous weight. More than we sometimes think. They often impact people for decades, providing the courage to press on or one more reason to give up.”
We are human, fallible, and do say careless words. However, we should always strive to choose our words well and wisely. That little phrase that says “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is a really good measurement for us all. How do I want to be spoken to?
Am I saying that our words must always be cheery, happy, and encouraging? No. There are times when we will find ourselves in conflicts. I would suggest that we speak what is true with good timing and tone; with a desire for understanding and clarity. Words spoken in anger are like little daggers, they’ll eventually have to be pulled out and given time to heal ~ we’ve all felt them and said them ourselves.
Benjamin Franklin said something really insightful, “Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”
Be the source of encouragement and “life” to somebody today!
(oh, and I just smiled at the lady in the milk aisle and said I that I already had my little guy weeks ago. By the embarressed look on her face I probably should have just smiled and kept walking; I think her day was impacted too.)