It was almost three weeks ago that I sat transfixed to my TV and my phone watching thousands of American citizens trying to over throw their government. Spurred on by baseless claims made by the current President of the United States, they destroyed property and took lives. There has been a lot of discussion about what brought us to this point in history and I shared my thoughts a couple times since then, but as I’ve had more time to think about what has happened one word keeps coming to my mind: words.
There is tremendous power in our words. The childhood school rhyme “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me”, though intended to make children feel better about bullying is a lie. Your bones might break, but they will heal. But words have the power to impact us for the rest of our lives. The siege on the government is a perfect example of that. Former President Trump used his words to spur on his supporters to do the dirty work that he would not do. He continued to repeat lies that the election was stolen from him, and that it could only be taken back through fighting. His staunchest supporters in Congress continued to be his mouthpiece and tell the same lies in hopes that the favor his supporters had would fall on them.
The Bible says that life and death can be found in the tongue, and this was never more evident than in the coup. But I started thinking how many times have we brought death into our own lives with the words that we say to ourselves? I’ve noticed that when I am exhausted I am most critical of myself. I will look in the mirror and the words that come to my mind, I would never utter about anyone else. I would also never tolerate another person speaking to me in that way. So why do I continue to do this? If my friend came to me and shared how they were feeling, I would offer them grace and understanding. But why can we not do this for ourselves? Our words can talk us out of opportunities, out of love, out of job openings, and out of the open doors that have been presented to us.
This is my goal for 2021. To make the words that I say to myself be full of love and grace. I know more than anyone what I am going through mentally and physically, and I need to be understanding of that. I will not continue to talk myself out of open doors because I fear rejection. I will not continue to criticize my body and my appearance, but will instead be grateful for this body that has housed me for thirty-one years. I will not continue to compare myself to people I see online, but will instead remind myself of my own accomplishments and will only compete with myself to be better than I was yesterday. I think if we start treating ourselves with love in our words, this will change how we talk to other people. Which will hopefully in turn change our world.
I hope that you will join me in this mission as we aim to love ourselves through our words. Let me know in the comments what are some of the kindest complements that someone has ever said to you!