From my earliest days on the playground, I heard this familiar quote, “Stick and stones may break your bones, but names can never hurt you!” Useful words for minimizing black-eyes and bloody noses on the school-yard. However, as I transitioned from boyhood to manhood, I learned that it isn’t true! Names or more accurately words do hurt deeply, often leaving profound life-long wounds
Wounding words cut deep, leaving painful gaping wounds that tend to grow larger over the years. The persistent pain causes men like you and me to withdrawal your heart, impairing your ability to allow anyone to get close to you.
Devastation from this kind of wound eventually hinders all attempts to be relational or real, even with family and friends. All the while you hide our hurting heart, yet yearn to love and be loved! You become one of the “walking wounded,” men who wear masks to hide the hurt from the world and sometimes even from yourself.
In his book; “The Five Love Languages of Men,” Dr. Gary Chapman reveals the five ways we tend to both give and receive love. They are, Words of Affirmation, Gift Giving, Quality Time, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. Of these five love languages, Words of Affirmation tends to be one of the top three love languages by most family members.
Dr. Chapman defines Words of Affirmation as: “Compliments, words of encouragement, and requests rather than demands that affirm the self-worth of your spouse, your child, or a loved one. Words that create intimacy heal wounds, and bring out the full potential of your loved one.”
Don’t miss this; your words can; “create intimacy, heal wounds and bring out the full potential of your loved ones.” This is the power and promise of your words! Furthermore, it sheds new light and understanding on the hurtful words others speak to or have spoken to us. No wonder your heart hurts so much.
The dust covered dictionary on my desk defines and provided pronunciation for over 65,000 English words. Reportedly the Oxford English Dictionary, the largest dictionary in the world, is composed of 20 volumes (weighing a combined 138 pounds), containing over 500,000 words!
So many words, words that can either heal or hurt! However, do you realize the power of your words? Do you recognize the potential for your words to heal and to hurt? More often not.
The True Weight of Our Words
A longtime mentor of mine clearly understood the weight of words spoken recklessly when he wrote; “A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it!”
Now understanding of the weight of your words, how do you purposely and intentionally change not only what you speak but also the way you say it?
First is to remember that it begins with an examination of your own heart. For what you believe affects what you think. What you think affects how you feel. How you feel affects your actions, your words, and your conversations.
If you believe in the best of your loved ones, your thoughts, feelings, and words should reflect that. If you believe the best in your loved ones, you are looking and affirming what’s “right” about them, not what’s wrong.
Social media bombards you and your loved ones with messages that reinforce feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. Think about how that constant barrage of wounding words impacts them. Not good, right?
That’s why your intentional, heartfelt words of encouragement can be a source of strength to your family. Encouraging words of admiration, appreciation, or affection that speaks to what’s “right” about them. Make sure that your words that remind them of their uniqueness and your unconditional love.
Simple but consistent encouraging words initiate a profound response — kind of like, a yard sale sign stapled to the telephone pole. The sign wasn’t a fancy illuminate billboard urging us to buy something we don’t need. It’s a small cardboard and magic marker sign, seemingly un-noticeable. I would bet that each weekend more people look for and respond to these little homemade signs than the big billboards that line our highways, just like your warm words of encouragement.
Be mindful that your consistent affirming words of encouragement make them smile when they think of you, family, and home.
One additional recommendation, become a life-long learner! Books like “Stepping Up,” “The Five Love Languages,” and “The Language of Love” provide insight becoming an “apprenticing word-smith” who can speak words that affirm, inspire, and encourage loved ones. These books are also available in audio format so that anyone can benefit from the great content.
You have an opportunity to express heartfelt intimacy by intentionally watching or looking for the good, great, and wonderful in your loved ones. This requires purposely developing a mindset of asking “what’s right about you” instead of what’s wrong. By focusing on what’s good, great, or wonderful, and then acknowledging these qualities, you become inspirational, more intimate, more influential, and an encouragement to your loved ones.
If today’s blog resonated with you, make sure you sign up to receive blogs when posted on Tuesdays and Thursdays. That’s why I’m here. TransformingFamilies.org to guide you through the restoration process of developing your heart, mind, and strength, enabling you to become the man God created you to be.
I also provide one-on-one coaching, if you want to improve your relationships, let’s connect through e-mail at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’. My hope for you is that through these blogs, references, and resources, God will transform you from being bruised or broken to an abundantly blessed man.