A few simple words can change your entire world. The difference between “I believe in you” and “I don’t believe in you” is a mere four-letter verb. But, oh, how much better do you feel when you hear the first of these two statements?
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sachs said, “God created the natural universe with words. We create – and sometimes destroy – the social universe with words”.
In today’s world, we can both ingest and share information with just a few clicks at any given time. The Internet and social media constantly expose us to others thoughts and beliefs and give us the opportunity to share our own. And, as we all know, this can both benefit and harm us. For every message of positivity, it sometimes seems like there are three negative to follow. It is my belief then, that words hold more power than we can sometimes imagine or often recognize.
The Internet and social media only exemplify the power of our words. But every message and thought we share with the world, both online and offline, can truly change a life and a community.
I’ll admit that I’m a sensitive guy. When someone says something hurtful to me, I really take it in. And the things I say to myself can be the most destructive. To be quite honest, self-directed statements like, “You’re a failure. You’re a fraud. I don’t believe in you”, produce more anger and shame than words anyone else says could.
The social destruction Rabbi Sachs spoke of doesn’t happen overnight or even with a few statements over time. It happens when we continually choose to accept prejudice over tolerance. Cruelty over kindness. Hate over love. It happens when we aim to belittle and tear others or ourselves down with harmful and derogatory words. It happens when we speak out of fear and anger versus decency and compassion.
Conversely, words have the power to awaken peace and positive transformation in the world. We can use our words to lift someone’s spirit, to pray, to remind others of their value. We can be the voice of compassion, the voice of love. When we’re down, we can change our thoughts and feelings by telling ourselves that we will be OK, that we are strong, that we can succeed and that we can overcome.
This week, create a narrative that makes you feel happy and well. Keep that narrative going and choose words and statements that serve to make others feel happy and well, too. It may seem like a small change, even silly, but try it. And let me know how you feel at the end of the week. How did others respond to your new narrative? When you use words that promote love and security, I anticipate you will get the same in return.
Unconditional Love, Accountability, Community
-Asher Gottesman, CEO & Founder of Transcend Recovery Community