That’s the average number of words a person speaks per day.
With this significantly high number, I cannot help but wonder how many of these uttered words are real, mindful, and have an impact.
The reality of things is that counting the number of words we use daily is not something we should be thinking about, however, being aware of the kind of words we use and the impact they have is imperative.
The words we use to speak with others, and even ourselves, have great power over us and the life we lead. Words have so much power that they can either help us thrive or completely destroy us. In fact, one study titled, “Do words hurt?” highlighted that negative words can cause stress and anxiety. The study also showed that painful words activate areas in the brain’s pain matrix. Another study also reports that negative self-talk in children results in anxiety.
In one of my favorite books, The Four Agreements, the author talks about the most important agreement that we have to make with ourselves, which is to “Be Impeccable With Your Word”.
“The word is the most powerful tool you have as a human; it is the tool of magic. But like a sword with two edges, your word can create the most beautiful dream, or your word can destroy everything around you.” – Don Miguel Ruiz in The Four Agreements
Whether we like to admit it or not, the words we say and hear have a tremendous impact on us. For instance, if you live with parents who continuously tell you how ugly and unworthy you are, you will grow up to believe and identify as ugly and unworthy. Perhaps that is why so many coaches and mental health advocates believe in the power of affirmations and speaking kindly with ourselves. Words are seeds that get planted in our minds, and if you plant the wrong seed, it will devastate you. That is why it is imperative that you choose the words you speak wisely and mindfully.
In the same way, it is important to speak kindly and honestly with ourselves, it is also instrumental that we choose our words when speaking with others. Words can hurt. Even if hurting others is not our intention, the words we use can inflict genuine pain onto others. That is why we need to be mindful of the words we speak.
However, saying something and implementing it are two very different things. And while many of us try to be mindful and speak the truth, we all say things that are mean or unnecessary at times. The secret is to be aware and learn from our mistakes.
Here are some ways that can help you use your words mindfully:
– Ask yourself, are my words kind, necessary, and true?
If whatever you plan to say is neither of the above then chances are you should not be saying it. Many people speak only for the sake of speaking. They do not think about the words coming out of their mouths and the impact they might have.
Knowing what you are about to say, evaluating it, and determining how necessary and true it is will help you choose your words mindfully.
That is not to say we need to calculate every word we say, instead, it is all about practicing mindfulness and the right choice of words.
– Trade low-energy words with high-energy words
One of my close friends once told me to trade the word “busy” with “productive”.
She said instead of saying to yourself and others: “I had a busy day”, say, “I had a productive day”.
While this might be a small example, learning to trade off words that have low energy will make you feel better. In fact, hearing myself say that I was productive rather than “busy” made me feel like I spent my time on things that mattered to me.
Knowing how to speak with ourselves and the words we use is an essential part of being kind to ourselves and others. For instance, try to remove the words “I cannot” from your dictionary, because the reality of things is that we can do most things, we just CHOOSE not to. And the same way we have a choice over our lives, we have a choice over our words.
Words have energy. Therefore, make sure to use ones that bring you good and high energy!
– Speak the words you would want to be spoken to you
We have all heard how we need to treat others the way we want to be treated. And while I do not personally agree with the saying, I do believe that it is important to speak to others with the same honesty, respect, and kindness we want others to speak to us.
Because the same way a kind word can uplift our spirits, another word can poison us and our relationships with others.
At the end of the day, words have power. And it is our choice whether or not we choose to use this power to bring us closer to peace, honesty, and truth, or to completely drown us and those around us.
“Words can inspire. And words can destroy. Choose yours well.” Robin Sharma