I’m back on one of my favorite subjects again – words. In recent postings,Poetry- Words Painting Pictures, Musings- Sharing Our Gifts And Talents, and Reading Or Writing- It’s Still About Words, I have spoken at length about my fascination with the written word. Seeing the way that words are strung together by different authors to achieve different descriptive effects gives me great pleasure and reaches into my soul.
However, words, ether written or spoken, can be used for negative purposes too. Just a few days ago I was witness to a small scene between two people that reminded me of this. There is no need to go into the details of the situation. Suffice it to say that one of the parties involved was extremely hurt at the end of the exchange and it gave me pause to think, once again, about the power of words.
Words can be used to build up or tear down a person’s sense of self worth, their self esteem. Words can comfort or they can cause pain. They can be a generous gift or a piercing sword. Words can cause laughter or tears, they can bring enlightenment or they can confuse. In the mouth of the speaker or the writer, words can be veritable weapons far more destructive than a bomb.
Sometimes the words themselves are not at fault. When delivering a message about the death of a dear one, or giving the truth about a harsh medical diagnosis, the messenger cannot change the words in order to not cause pain. Bad and difficult situations happen in life and we need to be informed of them. That is part of Life itself. But the way in which such information is given can make a huge difference to the receiver.
I am well aware that in the past I have cut people down, usually those closest and dearest to me, by thoughtless and scathing criticism. I have also been on the receiving end of such word lashings and I know how that feels. Over the years I have learned to curb my tongue, to take a deep breath and think twice before speaking.
How many times have I wanted to take back words spoken in haste. But the word, once spoken, cannot be erased. The most I can do is make attempts at reparation and ask forgiveness, as quickly as possible, and pray that the damage caused is minimal and that the injured party finds it within their heart to “forgive and forget”.
I try to remain on high alert when I know that I am going to be involved in discussions on sensitive issues. I always pray and ask God to keep me in a state of compassion. One of my favorite prayers is the Prayer of St. Francis. This is the prayer that I take into many difficult situations or before going into a retreat process. I would like to share that prayer with you now.
- Lord, make me a channel of thy peace;
- that where there is hatred, I may bring love;
- that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness;
- that where there is discord, I may bring harmony;
- that where there is error, I may bring truth;
- that where there is doubt, I may bring faith;
- that where there is despair, I may bring hope;
- that where there are shadows, I may bring light;
- that where there is sadness, I may bring joy.
- Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted;
- to understand, than to be understood;
- to love, than to be loved.
- For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
- It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.
- It is by dying that one awakens to eternal life.
Our brain does exactly what we tell it to do. This has been proved over and over again by psychologists, psychiatrists and scientists. Much of what we tell our brain to do goes on at a subconscious level.
There are programs in our brain that have been stored there ever since we were born. Some are positive, some are negative. They represent the collection of our experiences as a human being from birth.
Although we human beings are unique as a “thinking” species, we are also rather like robots when it comes to gathering information. Do you remember that strange robot character in the Star Wars movie – R2D2? He was in constant “input mode” devouring every thing he saw and heard and storing it into his system. Well our brains are constantly alert, even when we are babies, and we are constantly absorbing and filing information.
However, a very important thing to remember is that we can start putting powerful, positive programs in our brains right now! Starting this minute, we can build a store of self empowerment that can help us to improve our level of self esteem.
With a higher level of self esteem we will be able to face life with a more positive attitude. This new positive attitude can help us to deal with life’s problems rather than run from them. The quality of our life can improve tremendously. Remember ….
YOU ARE THE PERSON WITH THE POWER TO DO THIS.
One of the simplest yet most powerful tools discovered by man is the concept of “self talk”. What is self talk, you ask. It is quite simply all of the things that we say to ourselves inside our own head – our internal private conversations. And no, that is not a sign of insanity!
Whether we realize it or not, self talk is going on in our head all of the time that we are not actually speaking out loud. Self talk is all of our unspoken thoughts, opinions, judgments, questions, and ideas. However, our self talk can be a conscious level of conversation that we choose to create.
With practice we can build positive thoughts about ourselves which can help us get through tough situations. This leads us to feel good about ourselves – thus increasing our sense of self worth. It is a method that we can use to move out of negative thoughts into positive thoughts. When our thoughts are positive, our attitude becomes positive too.
There are many things we can say to build our self esteem. Here are just a few suggested ideas.
I am a unique person. There is no one else in the whole world exactly like me.
I am blessed with many talents and skills that allow me to live a full life.
I radiate joy and people like to be around me.
I am a beloved child of God.
I am a worthy, valuable person and I deserve to be treated with respect.
I am a sincere and honest person. People can trust me.
I am a caring and loving person.
My thoughts and ideas are intelligent and worth listening to.
Why don’t you take some time right now to write some affirmations about yourself. When you have written them, put your pen down and read them back to yourself. If you are in a private place read them out loud and see how good it feels to hear positive things about yourself.
Pick one or two of your affirmations (or choose from those written above), and commit to saying them to yourself every day for a week. Notice how different you feel about yourself. Write some more affirmations as they occur to you; continue to say them out loud to yourself. Learn to affirm yourself often. You are worth it. You deserve it.
As a Life Coach, I encourage people to use self affirmation as their number one tool. It is always available. You do not need any special materials or any special environment. It is a tool that can be picked up and used any time, any where.
It is of vital importance to all of us to give ourselves the time we need for ourselves. We are valuable and important beings. Just as we would dedicate time to a specific project, so we need to dedicate special time to ourselves. We are our number one project!!
Any professional, whether they are an artist, a brick-layer, a teacher, a carpenter, or a doctor, will confirm that they have to practice using their tools and skills constantly to benefit the most from them. Self talk is a tool. We need to practice using it – OFTEN. We need to set aside a few minutes each day to practice. Choosing the time that is best for us we should make it a regular commitment to ourselves.
So let’s all remember: We have the power to program ourselves positive. Let’s start doing it now!
Here are some more pearls of wisdom from women. They work really well for men too!
“My Declaration of Self Esteem
I am me. In all the world there is no one else exactly like me. There are persons who have some parts like me, but no one adds up exactly like me. Therefore everything that comes out of me is authentically mine because I alone chose it.” (Virginia Satir)
“I have come to believe in the ‘Sacrament of the Moment’, which presupposes trust in the ultimate goodness of my creator.” (Ruth Casey)
“When I am all hassled about something, I always stop and ask myself what difference will it make in the evolution of the human species in the next ten million years, and that question always helps me to get back my perspective.” (Anne Wilson Schaef)
“Surround yourself with people who respect and treat you well.” (Claudia Black)
“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.” (Helen Keller)
“Expect your every need to be met, expect the answer to every problem, expect abundance on every level, expect to grow your spirituality.” (Eileen Caddy)
“Don’t compromise yourself. You’re all you’ve got.” (Janis Joplin)
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.” (Martha Graham)
“I want to find out who I am and give up letting everyone else define me.” (Anon.)
“The two important things that I did learn were that you are as powerful and strong as you allow yourself to be, and that the most difficult part of any endeavour is taking the first step, making the first decision.” (Robyn Davidson)