I don’t put any stock in the old adage, “Sticks & stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Words do impact us. Look no farther than former President Trump’s vocal accusations of fraud in our recent elections. Or Amanda Gorman’s stirring recitation at last week’s U.S. presidential inauguration.
Words stir our emotions. Sometimes, words rouse people to action. They can soothe, disturb, incite, or unite. How aware is each of us, really, of how our words effect those around us?
Since the transfer of power in our country last week, I’ve seen an interesting shift on social media. I’ve seen hopeful posts about the new direction of this leadership and about the healing of division. But I’ve also seen an immediate need for many to keep complaining, latching on to the most disagreeable thing they can think of, as if their lives wouldn’t be complete without sowing an undercurrent of constant dissatisfaction. I’m not talking about differing opinions, healthy debate, or trying to right social injustices. But there’s a way to express these without tearing people down or pointing out darkness just so it will weigh people down. We’re all low enough after a full year of living under Covid19’s shadow.
Have you ever pledged to spend a whole day without complaining or saying anything negative? Maybe this is easy for some people — but not for me. And I suspect it’s challenging for most. But I propose that we all try it. That goes for social media posts, too, by the way. And, to take it a step farther, find some good words to say instead. Let our words stir hope or soothe. Let them lift someone’s spirits. Let them call for change in a way that rouses others to positive action. We may find that the hope and comfort and inspiration they offer come right back around to us. Wouldn’t that be a blessing!
So, let’s put a few good words out there… and see what happens. 🙂