I bet you have heard “If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all”. It’s a quick reminder that words have power; they can help and to heal but they can also humble, hurt, hinder, and harm. This is when silence is golden, it gives you time to think about what to say that can help others. Here are just a few tips to help your words remain uplifting and empowering without losing the message.
Respond vs. React
When faced with a situation we either react or respond. Reactions are quick, not very thought out, and often can have negative impacts. How many times have you reacted to something in a way you wish you could take back later? Maybe you found out more information that changed the situation, you remembered that there are two sides to every story, or maybe you hurt someone so badly that they carry that moment with them and that was never your intention. This is where a pause and deep breath matters. It’s very easy to put feelings and thoughts into words; however, it takes strength, control, and integrity to share thoughts in a positive way regardless of the situation.
Be Mindful of Your Language
Choose words that are loving, healing, uplifting, and positive even when the situation may not be. This can feel like a challenge but when we slow down and take time to respond it is a skill that we can sharpen over time. Wonder what this looks like? Take “You are really terrible at this, I may have to remove you from the project if you can’t figure out how to complete it” and turn it into “You seem to have some opportunities to learn new things that may help you finish this project more effectively. What if we took some time to learn these while you’re working towards completion?” There is always a way to get the point across without making anyone feel “less than”.
And finally, my favorite one….
Practice Positive Self Talk
Internal dialogue matters to external verbalizations. We are less likely to hurt others when we are practicing self-love. For many, it is so routine to speak negatively about themselves that they are completely unaware of how often it takes place. They may not even be aware that they are doing it.
Is this you? What if, for the next twenty-four hours, you take the time to pay attention to your thoughts and how you speak about yourself?
Would you be proud to say these things to someone you love? What kind of internal dialogue do you have? Are you verbalizing it?
Love always wins and it starts with loving yourself. May today be the day you begin to love yourself fully. Remember, if you don’t have anything nice to say, even to yourself, don’t say anything at all. It all starts with you.