As children, we were taught “sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you.” After a few short years, we quickly realized this nursery rhyme wasn’t accurate. Even the toughest exteriors walk away with internal scars when words are used as weapons of mass destruction. What amazes humanity is that the tongue is the lightest organ we possess, yet it has started more wars and has been responsible for more tragedy than anything else. We’ve put men on the moon, tamed gigantic animals and explored the ends of the earth, but we are still unable to harness the power of our own words.
A few months ago, Eddie Murphy starred in a family movie in which he was tasked to do something totally out of his nature – shut up. Murphy played a literary agent named Jack McCall. Jack is notorious for being a fast-talking, slick-natured guy who will say anything to close a deal. Upon meeting a mystical healer, Dr. Sinja, he is made accountable for the words flying out of his mouth. A tree appears in Jack’s backyard, and its leaves are directly connected to his words and life. I don’t want to spoil the movie for you, but it is definitely one you should rent to experience its positive message.
Murphy takes on a visual journey of discovery, introspection and healing as he is forced to limit his words and save his life. I walked away with a deeper appreciation of not just what we communicate, but how we choose to communicate. In a world where everyone is screaming “I keep it real when I talk,” we’ve forgotten that compassion should be the root cause for all we seek to say.
- Words come from somewhere: Have you ever wondered where the words you choose to speak come from? They don’t just pop into your head a second before you say them. Our words are born from the part of us known as our soul. The soul is our mind, will and emotions. The place where our past experiences meet our future potential. Our words are a sign or symptom of what’s really going on inside us.
- To change our actions, we must change our words: To change our actions without addressing our words is like chopping down a tree but leaving the roots in the ground. We are the sum total of the words we speak. This is a harsh reality for some. But if you view your words as a seed, it drives the point home. Every time you speak, you’re planting a seed containing that very reality. If you don’t like what you’re growing, change your seeds.
- Our words are framing our tomorrows and our expectations: Whether you believe it or not, you have what you say. It is a universal law. Our consciousness leaks out with every single word we speak. Over the years, you have heard yourself speak internally and audibly millions of times. Those words have shaped what you expect from life. To get something different will require a different conversation.
Our words can heal, and they can hurt. A true sign of maturity is the ability to govern and be accountable for the words we speak. I’ve learned that just because I think something doesn’t give me the liberty to say it. It takes discipline and discernment to learn how to use our words as a source of uplifting to the world around us.“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”