Personal Growth

Who Taught You To Use Those Words?

September 11, 2012

I suddenly have a heightened awareness of words. Too often they are thrown around like old dish towels and leak out of mouths as oil through a tipped jar. Many people are completely unaware of the effect of their own words.

Friendships are made and broken by words. Nations are moved and minds are formed by words. Words can be as destructive as hail or as life giving as a soft rain.

They bring sunshine or sadness, hope or despair, courage or fear.

They precede you. They represent you as a flag does a country. They never stop as the ocean never stops moving. They flow always in your mind and press constantly on the door of your mouth.

Words are birthed from thoughts. Thoughts are learned.

Who has taught you to speak the way you do, think the way you do? Are the habits you have learned healthy ones? Are your words bringing life to those around you? Are they words of wisdom burnished through hours of reading, learning, and self assessment?

These are questions I love to ask myself. They help me realign when I feel my mouth has become a dragon, blowing fire on all those around me.

Our own words (whether spoken or thought) are the most influential part of where we end up in life. Our own ears and the ears of our spouses and children are the main recipients of our words.

Words need to be chosen with extreme care and caution. After all, our own life’s compass is set by them.

“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”
~Rudyard Kipling

Question: Who has taught you to think and speak the way you do?


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  • Reply Ann Musico September 11, 2012 at 5:47 am

    I guess we are all influenced by our parents and families and how we are raised.  I think that’s why I have always been so extremely aware of how my language was influencing my children.  Where I hear “you can’t do that” and “that’s not for you” I was determined to let my children know they could do whatever they really wanted to and were willing to work at – and they have!  Not that I did it perfectly – I know I didn’t.  There are things we each have to overcome and just being aware and having the intention to improve is huge for me.

    • Reply Claudia Good September 12, 2012 at 10:33 pm

      Indeed Ann, 
      It plays a big role. Thankfully we all have our own minds and can make changes in our own lives and ways of thinking!
      I love how you were so intentional when raising your children! You not only allowed them to dream, but encouraged it! 

  • Reply Chris Peek September 11, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Beautifully written post, Claudia. What came to my mind is how media culture has successfully transformed our everyday vocabulary. While it may seem trite, millions of people use the same expressions and phrases rather than being uniquely themselves. If we’re not careful, we can lose who we are because we’re so busy trying to speak like someone else.

    Words have meaning, and I’m hopefully using mine to encourage and build up.

    • Reply Michael Wright September 11, 2012 at 12:59 pm

       I agree with Chris on the media here.  A word I hear so much now is “Whatever” and a phrase “It is what it is” kind of pushes others aside emotionally and distances us from taking a part or getting involved.  I don’t think people were saying those words 20 years ago.  At least I don’t remember it in certain contexts.

      • Reply Chris Peek September 12, 2012 at 10:35 am

        I can’t really reference a time before mass media shaped our words, since I’ve always been a part of a culture that is inundated with messages. However, I’ve continued to see imitation rather than uniqueness. Certainly I’m guilty of it, as I have casually used the phrase “it is what it is.” If we want to be imitators with our words, let’s at least be imitators of Christ.

    • Reply Claudia Good September 12, 2012 at 10:31 pm

      Thanks Chris!
      You definitely hit the nail on the head there! I think media is so sneaky that way. It sucks you in and it is so easy to let down your guard and turn off your mind and just let other people think for you.
      On of the best things we ever did was get rid of ours. Ahhhhh so freeing!

      You are indeed using your words to encourage and build up Chris! We have found great encouragement from meeting you and connecting with you through… well, now, multiple avenues! Keep it up, you are appreciated and making a difference!

  • Reply Michael Wright September 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Wow.  I still have to keep a filter over my words.  Thankfully, my introverted-ness saves me from alot of troubles verbally!  My upbringing of course influenced my words, reactions to events, but then my wife has influenced me as well.  We do this on each other.  I’ve read in many places you become like the average of the five people you spend the most time with (and the books we read – more words).  We better make ’em good.  And as Chris points out, the amount of media consumption is slowly telling us how to think.  That’s why I stay away from it most of the time.

    • Reply Claudia Good September 12, 2012 at 10:27 pm

      Haha being in introvert definitely is a plus in this area Michael!! 🙂 

      The people we are around and media consumption are def. huge. Sometimes I find myself just saying things without even knowing if it is true but I heard someone else say it and it sounds good. 

      This is exactly why we got rid of our tv. I realized we were constantly being told how to think and what to say without even realizing it! 

  • Reply Jody Berkey September 11, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    This week Tony Horton is influencing me via my new P90X2 workout regimen.  I’m trying to drown out the voices in my mind that say, “Go ahead and sleep past 5:30.  You were up late last night.  You deserve it.”  I’m in a battle against my mind to get into better shape.  I need to continue to surround myself with those who encourage me and continue to drown out my own interval dialog. 

    • Reply Claudia Good September 12, 2012 at 10:22 pm

      Hahha! I’ve heard those workouts are super intense Jody! I commend you for continuing the pursuit even though the bed voices lull you back to the pillow… no, don’t give in to them!!! 

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