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Our words can be very powerful.  “The pen is mightier than the sword” was first written by Edward Bulwar-Lytton in 1839 and has been echoed through the years.  Because it is true. Words impact us and when used properly they can give life to the weary, peace to the grieving, and joy to those that feel miserable.  However, they can also be used in the opposite way and bring weariness, grief and misery.

The great thing about words is that we have the choice in how we use them; we can make a daily or even hourly decision about the words that come out of our mouths and can contain them or unleash them.  This goes hand in hand with the way we treat people as the way we view people often drives the words we use with them. Sometimes it might feel good to unleash your words and let your words flow without thought and just say whatever is on your mind. However, things usually do not go well when that happens.  In my lengthy experience at learning to control my words I have spoken out without thought many times in my marriage, with my children, with co-workers and friends. Generally speaking, it did not go as well as the times I thought through what I was going to say and planned out my words to be more positive.  

When you think through your words, you can still talk about difficult things, or things that are making you upset or mad but you can do it in a much more positive way.  There is nothing wrong with having strong emotions about something, but how you handle those emotions and what words you let those emotions drive from your mouth can create vastly different situations in your life.  Now, if you want to destroy relationships and tear people down there is not much any of this can do to help but if the opposite is true then you can definitely benefit from practicing these skills:

  • Think, before you speak.  Take a few deep breaths and think about it before just letting your mouth go
  • Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.  How would you feel if someone said to you what you are thinking of saying?
  • Don’t attack the person, attack the problem
  • Remember that they are a person, with feelings just like you and that we all make mistakes
  • Practice thinking about what might have caused the situation to happen and what could be done differently next time to avoid the current situation
    • Most personal problems no matter where they occur do not happen all at once, they happen over time and little by little.  What can you do to alter the course of these kind of issues?
  • Care about other people, even though they might be mean, rude, uncaring or any number of other negative characteristics.  They are still an individual that matters, they might have a bunch of issues going on in their life you know nothing about.  This doesn’t mean you need to be friends with the person because let’s be honest, who wants to be friends with a person that has those characteristics.  But you can care about them, as a person.

So this is just a good place to start, work on these skills, practice them with your family and make them a part of who you are. Pretty soon people will wonder why you are so nice, and people might want to even be your friend!! You got this, you can control your words and be someone other people want to be around.