Do you ever think about how much power the pharmacist has?
Here is what I mean: they are sitting there with a bunch of brown, clear bottles. The bottles have nothing in them. The pharmacist is able to decide what goes in each and every bottle. They can choose to put something in the bottle, unbeknownst to you, that would poison you or, they could put something in the bottle that heals you.
Now, that might be a bit philosophical for someone simply waiting for a prescription. However, it got me thinking there are certain controls in the process. There are controls in place, so the pharmacist doesn’t accidentally put something toxic in a bottle when it is meant to be life-giving. I thought about this because it is the same with our words.
We take for granted how much power we have with our words. We get to choose each and every word that comes out of our mouths. If we choose to, we can choose words that are toxic and lethal, or we could choose words that are life-giving and affirming.
In a time where so much of life feels out of control, the hope is to transition energy from things we can’t control things we can control. Independent of circumstances, we can control, unequivocally, our words.
Right now, the world seems so troubled. There is so much anxiety, pain, hostility, and fear. If you assess it, what you will discover is that much about the world today that we find unsettling has to do with words.
Words that are spoken from one human to another: destructive words, hateful words, hurtful words, discouraging words, toxic and angry words. Think about what you see online. Think about what you see on the news. Think about your own words.
Of all the relational tools that we have: shaking hands, high-fives, hugging, intimacy, you name it; our words are the most powerful. Our words are the most revealing. Our words are the most convenient. They are the most readily accessible to use. Our words are the most freighted with personal influence.
Our words shape our relationships, our self-esteem, our families. Your morale at work is shaped far more by the words that are spoken to you than your salary.
Words are important. So, we ought to learn to control them.
Think about the words that have been spoken to you and their impact on how you view yourself. Isn’t there a correlation between how you think and feel about yourself and the words that were somehow spoken to you years ago? Someone, with their words, either blessed you or cursed you – not unlike the pharmacist – they chose words that either poisoned you or gave your life. And here is the weird thing, those people that used those words they probably don’t even remember saying them. To them, they were inconsequential, just a matter of speech. But to you they were impactful, words you might remember for the rest of your life.
How many of your greatest regrets have to do with your words? How many of your greatest joys have to do with words spoken to you? If all of this is true, our choice of words matters. Our lives are determined by the words we use to shape others and the words that have shaped us.
This isn’t news to anyone, but the tendency in life is to forget the power that words have. So, we just talk without thinking, never stopping to consider the impact of these words.
Think of fires, one tiny spark can burn down entire cities.
Think of your own life, a single word could probably destroy your whole career. Your marriage. Your family. What you say now can have ramifications that impact your entire life. You have the potential to release a string of hurt on your life, and the lives of others.
So, doesn’t it seem sensible to work towards gaining control of our words? If we understand how powerful our words are, why don’t we use them to change lives for the better?