Daily and forever taunting us is the reminder of the power that words possess. We grew up believing that “sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will never hurt [us].”

But we all knew from the moment we sang the rhyme, it was so very and deeply untrue. Yet, because of that little rhyme, we believed that pushing our emotions or responses to hurtful words deeper into the dungeons of who were are, was our only defense mechanism from the sting that words can bring.

It’s amazing to me, how many of us carry around words from even our childhood that can haunt us in the middle of the day; when our partners make comments,  when a co-worker talks behind our backs, when our children say something to us or about us that carry more weight than they should, because we suppressed those words that were uttered before our nursery rhyme.

And so those words, never come up for air, until we throw them back at some other undeserving recipient as they fester and poison in the back of our minds and in the pits of our stomachs. Landmines in our lives for any and all to set off as they too throw their childhood words back at us.

Words have the power to heal or destroy.

I sat in my first phycologist office when I was 21. I didn’t continue going for long, she would ask the same questions that I would ask myself but never had the courage to answer. So I learned to respond to my own questions. Shortly thereafter, the phycologist rate wasn’t in the budget. But there was one session, that made all the difference. It was one of those moments that are replayed in color when we think of them. The slow-motion reel of a frozen moment in time; a time that obviously was powerful enough to cut through all the other seconds that pass in our lives.

She pulled out a toy chest. Yes, I’m serious: a toy chest. I thought, “well at least she didn’t pull out puppets.”

She asked me to pick out a toy figure that represented each member of my family. I won’t divulge every toy because perhaps there is a book hiding somewhere in the confines of my mind’s library that will cleverly and creatively grant you access to those secrets. But I will give you one. For my father, I picked up two toys. One I will not mention. The other: a volcano. More lava covered the toy volcano than did mud and ash. It was an active volcano waiting to burst its destructive power over every proverbial city of Pompii hosted in our hearts.

As I went through the collection of toys with the psychiatrist, and finally fell to those last two toys, the response after the sigh and stating of who those represent has been one of the single most powerful comments on the road to my discovery: “You give him too much power.”

I think we give so many people and things, to much power. This is true for passive aggressive comments I receive about my blog. This is true concerning the office comments about my ‘undeserving’ successes or title. This is true when in an argument with family or a nasty stranger that attempts to ruin my day.

Words have the power to heal or destroy. But that power belongs to the one receiving the words, not the one wielding.

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MAA Log: Day 13
Mindfulness, Acceptance, Appreciation

Mindfulness
I am mindful that I, as well as all others, wield words in a careless and destructive manner. I am mindful that I can not change or stop others from doing so. I am mindful that words have the power to heal or destroy. I am mindful that the power of words is not possessed by the words of those that wield them, but in and by me, the receiver.

Acceptance
I accept that only I have the power to allow words to heal or destroy me. The nursery rhyme of old is a big lie that keeps our heart shackled to the very words the rhyme was meant to reject. Words hurt deeper than broken bones –  if we let them.  I in return accept the accountability that the words I use with others can heal or destroy. It is not my power that uses them in these manners, but it is my responsibility to be sensitive to the very nature and environment of other’s hearts that may use them how they wish. I can not control this, but I can be mindful before I speak.

Appreciation
I appreciate the power that is naturally ours to direct our own paths and hearts to healing and life. I appreciate those in my life who continue to encourage me with their words. Those who choose, instead of picking apart things that I do, even in their disagreement, find the pieces that speak to them in a positive manner and in return speak with me in the same tone. I am appreciative of the ability to communicate with others and the many different ways the same experience can create different perspectives and language. What a powerful tool we all possess.