Words are powerful. They are important. We know that, right? They have the power of life or death within them.
Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.Proverbs 18:21 MSG
Yes, our words are powerful.
We’re taught from our youth to only speak words that are kind. My mother used to tell me, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” That didn’t stop me, however, from speaking unkind things to my younger brother when we would have childhood fights. (Sorry, Pat!)
In the heat of the moment I’ve also been known to say not-so-kind words to the person whom I’m closest to, my husband. Over the years, I look back and wish I could take back or erase every unkind one I’ve spoken to him or anyone else. But, in reality, that’s like putting toothpaste back in the tube after it’s squeezed out. Once the words are out, they’re out. Sure, we can apologize (and that’s of most importance), but they can linger long after the apology’s been spoken.
What about the words we say to ourselves?
In talking with a friend a while back, I mentioned how the words I had been saying to myself were not so kind. They shadowed the mistakes I’ve made, the disappointments I’ve experienced, and the goals I’ve never met. They highlighted my failures, faults, and flaws. Sadly, what I was saying to myself had become unkind, condemning, and extremely negative.
The unnerving thing was, I was caught off-guard. The words appeared in my mind without me fully realizing they were there. Until the day I told my friend. It’s no wonder I had been struggling with a negative attitude and an unhealthy perspective!
The thing is, they were ones I would have never said to anyone else. They were too mean, too critical. The question my friend helped me ask myself was if what I’m saying isn’t appropriate to say to anyone else, why am I saying it to me?
What have you been saying to yourself?
Things that are kind or condemning? Uplifting and encouraging or negative and discouraging? Are you saying what your Creator–the Lover of your soul–would say to you or about you?
Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.Proverbs 16:24 NLT
We can replace what’s negative with what’s healing and healthy.
My friend encouraged me to take a couple pages in my journal and write on one page the negative things I had been telling myself. On the opposite page to write healthy words to replace the negative ones. (So wise!) I then looked up scripture for what God has to say about them.
For example, to replace words of worthlessness, I wrote in my journal, “I am worthy.” I then searched the word “worthy” in my Bible app or in the back of my Bible. I found Colossians 1:10 and Psalm 139 and wrote down how God says I’m worthy.
Since God’s words are much more powerful than my own, I continue to replace what’s negative and unhealthy with God’s perspective. That’s the one that matters most! I go back to my journal when necessary, which tends to be often.
If you’re realizing you’ve been saying unkind things to yourself, give this a try. What a difference it has made for me! My self-talk is much more encouraging and God-honoring!
Our brains believe what we tell them.
Friend, what you say to yourself is important. I encourage you to be aware of the words you’re telling yourself today. The thing is, our brains believe what we tell them. Tell yours how God sees you. How you are chosen, worthy, loved, wonderfully made, set apart, forgiven, and brave. Write them down. Read them often. Believe them. Tell them to yourself often. Because those words, my friend, are true.
God bless you!