Dear Why Team member,
I hope this week’s message finds you well and in good spirits. This week we consider the words we speak.
Why attend to the words we speak?
Of all the spoken words you will ever hear, the ones that most impact your life are the ones you speak out loud. Not only are the words you speak closest to your own ears, they provide great insight into your current state of being.
It is written in the ancient text that from the heart the mouth speaks. Attending to what is coming out of our mouths is a powerful tool for evaluating the condition of our heart. Why?
Because our heart is, sometimes, irrational. Feelings should be filtered through reason to ensure clear expression. And mastering the art of balancing speaking from our heart, expressing emotions, to speaking our mind, speaking rationally, will change our interactions with ourselves and the ones around us for the better.
When we get what we need, we become more of what others need. It is not uncommon that we will literally cry out those needs in our speech. If we are speaking hurtful words to others, it is a powerful indicator that we ourselves are hurting. To maintain compassion for those who hurt others, I often remind myself of a powerful awareness I heard long ago, that “hurt people hurt people”.
I will always remember the powerful insight Lou Cassara, author of the book “From Selling to Serving”, once shared with me: all of our relationships with others are a reflection of the relationship we have with ourselves.
Now that’s cause to pause...
Do you have a great relationship with yourself? Are you a good friend to yourself? Are you overly critical of yourself? No matter your relationship with yourself, you can bet it is reflected in your relationship with others. Notice the words you speak to others, are they not similar to how you talk to yourself? Many studies found one’s communication and lifestyle positively changing when internal positive words of affirmation were part of a daily routine. So work on improving the conversation you have with yourself first.
Isn’t it true that when we get upset with ourselves that we become less patient with those around us?
It can be particularly helpful and very loving to quickly notice the words we speak that are not reflecting the best version of ourselves. Looking within with compassion, understanding and forgiveness will empower us to quickly do the same for those around us. It is not easy to acknowledge our own fears and anxieties, but if we don’t own them and address them, we will likely lash out at others; hurt people hurt people.
Just over 30 years ago in September of 1988, I moved from Orlando, Florida to Chicago, Illinois to begin my career as a wholesaler in the financial services industry. My first job in this industry had me covering four states by car: Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. At that point in my life, I had never lived farther north than Alabama. I didn’t even own an overcoat and driving in the snow was completely foreign to me. But it was during that time in my life, hundreds of miles from friends and family, that I got to know myself. I was driving into large cities that were new to me, in a profession that was new to me, in weather new to me and living with the only friend I had: me. Who in many ways was new to me. For the first time in my life, I developed the ability to enjoy my own company. I learned to be patient with my ignorance, I learned to pick myself up when I was down and those skills have served me so well in the many years since.
How are we to be good friends to others if we are not good friends to ourselves? To this day, those who know me, notice how I can often crack myself up with my own jokes. Why? Because I used to be the only one who heard them. I distinctly remember driving past a cemetery one day, alone in my car, saying out loud “wow that place is beautiful, I bet people are dying to get in there” - and then laughing out loud. I wish everyone had the opportunity to learn....themselves and their heart early on in life-it can eliminate many heartaches.
Make sure you take time alone to become your own best friend. Notice the words you speak and if they are hurtful in any way, step away and look within. Be more loving and encouraging to yourself and you will no doubt become more of the same for others.
This week, consider being more attentive to your speech than ever, speak more lifting words and notice how both your own life and the lives around you are lifted.
Make it a great week!