Negative Words & Their Impact
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”.
Let’s be honest…this is totally not true.
As a child I remember saying this phrase on more than one occasion. The truth of the matter is that words possess the power to hurt us. Negative words add weight and contribute to the number of masks that we hide behind. Words spoken can either edify and lift us up or destroy and tear us down.
Words are a powerful source as they they help to shape the reality and opinions that we have of ourselves. The powerful effects of negative words should not be underestimated. We have all been there and know how horrible and degrading it feels when we are told that we are stupid, or when you are told that you will never amount to anything.
I have been there and know first hand how damaging this can be. Negative words are even more devastating when they come from a love one such as a parent, or spouse or sibling. No matter how you try to tell yourself otherwise these words continue to echo and scream quite loudly in the forefront of your mind.
What Negative Words Can Do
Negative words may not leave physical bruises but they certainly leave indelible footprints in our self conscious. Words negative or positive help to shape the picture that we have of ourselves. If you continue to hear that you are worthless, your subconscious will begin to believe that it is true. You will hold an image of yourself as worthless. All because of the words that someone spoke over you.
Now let’s look at it from the flip side. If someone is constantly speaking positive words over you the effects are the same. The positive words will also help form a picture and you see yourself as worthy, intelligent, smart and beautiful. Positive words paint an awesome picture. They edify and inspire.
The word states….
“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29)
This verse provides three characteristics of wholesome speech:
Wholesome words build people up. This is the meaning of the word “edification.” It’s the same word from which we get “edifice” or building. As children of the most high we are called to lift others up.
Wholesome words are timely. The right words at the wrong time can be just as damaging as the wrong words. Words left unsaid can also be hurtful. It takes discernment to know when and if to speak. The right word spoken at the right time can make all the difference for someone.
Wholesome words provide grace. I see grace as also the power of God to do His will (see Philippians 2:13). Our words can either empower people and make them want to press on or diminish them and make them want to quit.
Turn Negative Words Into Positive Words
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue”. Every day, we have the power to shape someone’s reality by the words that we choose to use. How will your words impact the lives of others?
Positive words will lead another into greatness. As humans we respond to and perform on a higher and deeper level in a positive atmosphere of accolades, affection and appreciation.
The next time that you have the opportunity to speak words into someones life ask yourself these 3 key questions:
- Does what I a am about to say serve to build this person up?
- Will my words better the individual?
- Can my words be said gently, kindly and with love?
From the oracle of your mouth is life and it flows like rivers of living waters in the lives of others. Sow life changing, inspiring and encouraging words and you will be astounded at how it springs forth.
Pleasant words are a honeycomb; Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. ~Ancient Proverb
Question: How have the words of others—positive or negative—impacted your life? Please leave your comments below.