UpBeat Spiritual Living: Your Life From Your Words
© 2012 Kebba Buckley Button. World Rights Reserved.
James 3:5 advises us: “[L]ikewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.” Truly, the power of speech is great.
So how are you using the power of your tongue? Obviously, we use our words to reach out to others, to share, and to respond. Our words convey to other people our mood, intention, our gentleness or aggression, encouragement, and even fear, anger and blame. However, we also are affected by our own words. This is profoundly true mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Whatever you say, your brain and nervous system are always listening.
Recently, a segment of a Facebook page drew my attention. Having a fond interchange with a female friend, a 20-year-old female commented, “yah, I miss your a– too!” Why add “your a–” to her expression of affection? Does she think she is being hip and trendy? In her social group, is it more valuable to be vulgar? To those raised in other decades, one didn’t ever mention the posterior. This brings to mind the expression, “get your a– over here!” Why add the posterior portion to this request? Is the asker wanting to sound more aggressive, thinking this is authoritative or powerful? Will the child or employee be more likely to get over there, or likely to get there faster, when spoken to with this wording? Certainly, the demand form of the request to “get over there” suggests impatience, disapproval, perhaps “trouble”.
What would be other forms of the request to come to the speaker? Imagine film star Mae West [1893-1980] for a moment, offering “[H]elloooooo, Sugar! Wouldja like to come up and see me sometime?” Or how about a friendly excited whisper, eagerly asking,”[H]ey! Come over here! You have to see this!” These 2 forms of the request express completely different relationships than the often-used, “[G]et your a– over here!” We can choose the relationships we want with others and use our words and tone to help create those.
Ditto for our relationship with our Self. If we speak harshly or angrily to ourselves, our inner selves respond just as if another person had spoken harshly or angrily to us. It hurts or makes us cringe. Over a period of time, self-bashing language can damage our self-confidence and hold us back greatly. It sometimes gives us a heavy heart, even a dark soul. So why would we continue to speak to ourselves in a negative way? One reason is that we have heard so much criticism, blame, and anger as children. We have effectively stored those emotional language forms over a period of years. We’re good at being negative and it’s easy. There is a lot of cultural support for being negative. Even mild-looking forms of self-trashing are harmful, such as the smiling person who is always saying, “[I]t’s just me messing up again!” or “with my luck [that would never work out]…!”
But people who speak in a lighthearted, positive way, are more likely to succeed in many ways. They are popular. They are easier to work with and, in organizations, they get the promotions. You can bet these people don’t call themselves, “[Y]ou idiot” or [Y]ou oaf”. If you were one of the light-souled winners, how would you talk to yourself? Think about it. Wouldn’t you rewrite your internal script to program for worthiness, strength, joy, beauty, effectiveness, love, success, and perhaps elegance and class? Certainly, you would never badmouth yourself again, because you would want all the best for yourself, and you know your whole body/mind/heart/spirit system is listening to everything you say, inside and out. And you know God wants only the best for you.
And as for your posterior? You would never again let anyone order it around. In the life you create with your words, wonderful, classy people come to you unbidden.
● Rev. Kebba Buckley Button is the author of the 2012 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core.
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