The Power of Words

This has been an interesting week for sure. Amidst all the excitement I was feeling about my book being published, I hadn’t even thought of the possibility that others wouldn’t share that joy.

While I don’t believe, for the most part, that people intend to be hurtful, that doesn’t change the fact that words can sting the heck out of someone.

Words

I work in a place that can be fraught with negativity on any given day, and I truly try my hardest to make the room I walk into a better place when I leave than when I got there. But sometimes that’s easier said than done, as some words can suck the breath right out of me.

Like the first time I got an “exceeds expectations” on my annual evaluation and I felt led to share it with a “friend” that also works there. Her words were, “I don’t want to bring you down, but it doesn’t matter what you do around here, it’s whether they like you or not.”

Ouch!

And the first time I received the employee of the month award, and a co-worker stated that it’s only a popularity contest.

Again…Ouch!

Ouch

This past week I hung a flyer up on the refrigerator door in the break room about my book being on Amazon and that I will have copies the week of the 23rd should anyone desire to buy one, well…

Conversation #1:

Co-worker: “So I hear you’re a writer. I read what your book is about and you do know there’s a book/movie with a similar plot line. I’m sure you’ve heard of it.”

Me: “I don’t think I have.”

Co-worker: “When I think of the name I’ll let you know. I’m sure you know it.”

Me: Nothing. Sometimes there simply isn’t a suitable response.

Conversation #2:

Co-worker: “I heard you published a book. How did you do that?”

Me: Nothing.

Conversation #3:

Co-worker: “So I see you published a book. Congratulations.”

Me: “Yes, I have. Thank you so much.”

Co-worker: “I don’t know how you can have the time. I would never have the time to do something like that.”

Me: Nothing.

While the words themselves don’t appear too hurtful, the tone and body language that accompanied them were.

I also received supportive, positive  comments like:

“I like to have friends who are ‘doers.'”

“You really are my inspiration.”

“I’m so thrilled for you!”

In fact the supportive comments were much greater in number.  But negativity can carry quite the punch, leaving the soul battered and bruised without knowing what even happened.

Said flyer came down until my thin skin grows a bit thicker, and I can sift out the harsh criticisms from the kindness.

In the meantime, I pray I’m aware of my words–and the way they’re conveyed–as I write and speak; that my words build another up, rather than tear another down. That they help rather than hurt.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  (Ephesians 4:29)

And I pray I use the negative for positive, not letting the enemy get his foot in the door. I have stories to tell, and I’m going to tell them. After all, isn’t that what we writers do?

Write on, my writer friends. 🙂

Here is a short video that proves the power of words and is well worth taking a moment to watch.  🙂

 

 

What Do You Mean It’s Not About Me?

“You’re needlessly beating yourself up and trying too hard to find an answer that isn’t there.”

My husband.  A wise man with such wise words.

We had gone on a long, peaceful bike ride this morning, surrounded by nature’s beauty.  At one point we stopped and were sitting in a park as I was filling him in on a text message I had received that hurt a bit.  Actually, “hurt” is a bit too gentle of a word.  It stung.  And the sting persisted stubbornly, intensifying as my mind imagined all kinds of reasons why what was said was actually said at all.

Texting on a qwerty keypad phone

My husband’s words, few in number, quality far surpassing quantity, stopped that sting dead in its tracks.  It all started making sense. All because of a few words.

And as we once again hopped upon our bikes and began riding, it began making even more sense.

When I’m riding my bike, surrounded by birds–both those flying above me and the ducks and geese swimming in the river below the bank–little critters scampering across the trail and in the woods that borders the opposite side of the trail as the river, the green of the trees, the silence…well, I’m able to piece together, and even make sense of, pieces of my life that I had been unable to understand prior to that moment.photo-7[1]

If someone says something hurtful to me, it’s not about me.  Unless I’ve done or said something to earn that arrow, alerting me to the fact that I had acted less than acceptable, it’s not my business to get upset.

What other people do or say isn’t about me.  In fact, the world isn’t about me at all.  Now isn’t that a wake-up call?  But immensely freeing, nonetheless.

It’s not my business to criticize, condemn, nor judge anyone else’s words or actions.

What is my business is to simply treat others with love, kindness, and compassion.  To forgive.  No matter what.  Usually easier said than done, but a work in progress is better than no progress at all.

Whether they return those blessings, or accept an apology I’ve made, isn’t in my control.  I can’t force anyone else to act or speak in love, or to forgive.  God can, and doesn’t.  Rather He allows us free-will.

My husband is a man of few words, but sometimes the words he says are like God speaking through him to me.  Knowing me well enough to know what–and how–I will truly hear.

It only takes a few simple words, spoken with kindness and love, to make a dramatic difference.

Grace to You.