We’ve all heard the old expression, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” While the sentiment behind the saying is nice, words actually do hold incredible spiritual power, and it’s easy to underestimate the role they play in our lives.
Whether it is the sting of an insensitive comment or the crushing weight of a brutal criticism, most of us have felt the effect of a negative word. But it isn’t just other people who can hurt us with words. Our own words can be just as damaging to ourselves.
Here are 3 ways our negative words have the power to hurt us:
- Negative words make it harder to be happy. Our experience of life is truly up to us. When we see the good that exists in others and all situations, we experience the good. Alternately, if we choose to see what’s negative, our experience will be negative. For instance, have you ever wanted to vent about someone but found yourself getting even more worked up and frustrated the more that you recounted the situation? Even complaining about someone can create a negative energy around us like a dark cloud. The more we focus on the negative, the more we feed this dark cloud, making it nearly impossible to see the positivity that exists all around us.
On the flip side, when we speak words of positivity, we create positive energy. This positive energy allows us to draw blessings and fulfillment into our lives. We have the power to use our words for good.
- When you speak badly of others, it speaks volumes about you. We’ve all met people who gossip or endlessly speak ill of others. It’s important to recognize these moments. The way in which a person speaks to you about others is how they will speak to others about you.
The way we speak about others says way more about us. Everything that bothers us about other people is in some way a reflection of ourselves. When someone gets under our skin, rather than speaking badly about them, we have an opportunity to ask ourselves: Why does this affect me? Why is this person in my life? How is this an opportunity for me to grow? There is always a hidden lesson to be learned.
- What you say to yourself about yourself matters more than you think. It’s not just other people we speak badly about. Many times, the person we are hardest on is ourselves. Whether through negative speech or negative thoughts, the words we use to describe ourselves can have devastating effects on our wellbeing.
It’s natural to question or assess ourselves at times, and that can be an important step in our spiritual growth. But all too often, we get down on ourselves and question our own self-worth with words like: I can’t do anything right, I’ll never be good enough, I’m ugly, I’m not talented, No one will ever love me. These negative thoughts can plague us, and the more energy we give them, the stronger they get.
When we start believing these negative words about ourselves, we give up on the idea that we can grow and change. When we don’t fundamentally think we can change our own reality, we become pessimistic about the world as well – change on a global scale seems impossible.
It is not easy to combat our inner critic. But we can reinforce ourselves with positive statements, even if we don’t believe them at first. Make the positive a lot louder until the negative becomes inaudible. It’s a process that takes patience, acceptance, and lots of practice, but ultimately makes us happier and more fulfilled.
We live in a time when spreading our words is easier than ever. With a push of a button, our thoughts can go out to hundreds or thousands, if not millions, of people. It’s easy to take this power for granted. Not only do our negative words hurt others, but they also hurt ourselves. It is so important that we take the time to think: are my words coming from the right place? The more we practice this thinking, the more naturally it comes to us.