Words. There has been a huge struggle with words happening for the past few days. Heck… to be honest the past two weeks. Writer’s Block is stretching it a bit far, because as you have probably figured, there are a bazillion topics I could totally reference to fill this page up with words.
Yet with all those topics, and all the words that surround those topics, this page remained white. A blank expanse of white… taunting me. After all, how hard can it be to write a bunch of words down? It’s just words. They are readily available. They easily flow right off the tip of one’s tongue. Oftentimes without any thought as to what we are saying, or how they are being received.
But what if we changed how we think about words? What if we added an addendum to the word words? Instead of just words, it would be words – planting seeds. All of a sudden a small, inconspicuous word, becomes a glaring reminder of just how powerful of a word, words is. Because anyone who has ever planted a seed knows only two things can happen.
In 7-10 days you will either see a beautiful, little green shoot popping up through the dirt and soil, or you will see the exact same thing you saw 7-10 days earlier when you planted the seeds. A big fat nothing. Nada. Zilch. Well other than the soil that is. And considering you planted the seeds to begin with, a guess could be ventured that you would be much happier with the first result rather than the second.
Power of Seeds (Words)
Well just like the seeds that are planted, every time words are spoken or uttered, an opportunity occurs to build one up; or to tear one down. Yeah, I know. We need to delve into that a little deeper don’t we?
Okay – let’s act out a scenario.
You are sitting at the kitchen table while your significant other, husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, whatever floats your boat … is preparing breakfast. Without looking up from the paper, you exclaim “Hey! Get me some more coffee wench.” (While I really kind of like that word for some unknown bizarre reason, I can truthfully say I would not want to hear it in the tone that I hear in my head when reading that sentence.)
Now again, just like the seeds, there are two primary options that are going to happen. The first is the person cooking breakfast is going to turn around and start hurling back negative words in your direction. (And honestly, if you talk like that, you deserve what you get.)
The other option is having your breakfast dumped into your lap. Neither of those are what you wanted… more coffee. Well wait, unless what is dumped in your lap is coffee and then you’ll probably have bigger things to worry about other than your coffee cup being empty.
Now let’s plant words of kindness. Same scenario except this time you exclaim, “Hey darling, could I have some more coffee please? Thank you for cooking breakfast. It was delicious.”
My guess is you will receive a big smile, perhaps even a hug or a kiss, as well as a steaming hot cup of coffee…. in the cup.
Think back to when someone said something to you in a hurtful, mean manner. How did you feel? Did you want to continue the relationship? Were you kind back? Or did you respond in the same way – mean and hurtful? When we are mean and hurtful, we do nothing but build walls or barriers. There is no connection when a wall is built of negative words.
Pruning the Seeds
Y’all know I am extremely passionate about brain science, child development, and how childhood trauma effects us our whole life – even if we aren’t aware of it. And if you didn’t know that… where have you been??!! Have you not been paying attention? Puppies, kids, brain science, my family, dealing with cancer … my top five. Now you know.
Eek, I digress. Again.
A huge component of surviving our childhood, is learning how to be resilient. Being resilient happens as a result of positive, nurturing relationships, where one feels loved, cared for, and most importantly valued. But the key word there is relationships. How are relationships started? If you guessed words – you’ve been paying attention!
Just like the seeds needed water and sunlight to grow, relationships need positive and caring words. The more positive and caring words, the stronger the relationship. The stronger the relationship, the more resilient one can be. The more resilient one is, the faster they can recover from a setback, or negative outcome.
As I am sure you are all aware, suicide is occurring more often, and at alarming rates. I don’t have any research to support or prove this, but let’s pretend. What if the reason for so many suicides is because they are not resilient. If we are talking about a high school student, perhaps all the negative words, taunts, and teasing have tore down any resiliency they might have had. What if they have no positive relationship, at least they don’t think they do because I am not in any way, shape, or form saying their parents were positive.
What if on the day they snap, it is because someone looked at them and said, “Hurry up! You are so slow!!”
How many times have you said that to a child? Heck, I know I’ve said it to my hubby a time or two. Perhaps ten. But who’s counting? Not me.
But we should be. We should always be pruning our words. Because there is no way to know when what we will say could be a matter of life or death.
I think back to my chemo journey. I know you’ve heard me say a time or two that while I know it is said to be kind and helpful, telling me I am strong is a bit of a pet peeve. In fact I just wrote about that a few weeks ago in Surviving a Rough Week. In that post I wrote about how changing the word ‘strong’ to ‘grace’ made more sense to me. Well today I am going to say, what about using the word resilient? You are so resilient. In other words you recover quickly and easily.
Not that bad things do not happen to you. But that you recover quickly and easily. Because let’s be honest – bad things happen. Especially to good people. But how are some able to recoup faster? If you guessed resiliency, I have done my job.
Let’s think back to that teenager on the day they are going to snap. What if someone had come up to them that day and asked, “Are you okay?” Or “Johnny, I really enjoy having you in my class. Your natural ability to see both sides of a story helps me to see things in a different way.” Making them feel valued. Making them feel honored. Building their resiliency.
Harvesting the Seeds
Unfortunately, just like after we harvest the seeds and ship them off somewhere, we may not always see the impact our words have one someone. Sometimes words take a long time to grow, to build enough strength in that the person can truly feel the words.
I think of raising a teenager and how easy it would be to resort to negative, demeaning words when dealing with some of the hormonal issues occurring. Then I think of when they become young adults, and how because positive, encouraging words were used, how much better they can handle adult life. If you’re lucky, you’ll even get a “thank goodness you didn’t listen to me” from said kid. Our words can build a wall, squash one’s spunk, tear down one’s tenacity. Or they can build a relationship, nurture one’s spirit, foster resiliency.
All because of words. What a powerful seed to plant.
Until next time, capture life kreatively!
P.S. Have you had someone in your life who made you feel unconditionally loved, cared for, and nurtured? Give them a shout-out in the comments below. I would love to thank them as well!
Disclaimer: I have not personally read these books, however, they have high reviews.