Words have the potential to heal or hurt. Can you remember a time that someone said something to you and it stuck?

It may have been a compliment or a criticism, but either way it stuck.

Our words can be bullets or seeds, shooting people down or helping them to grow.

Have you ever overheard other people speaking? Sometimes it’s difficult not to hear when you’re in a crowded café, or when people speak loudly.  Some people give voice to any passing feeling or thought they have.  Their talk is trivial and mindless and they gossip about others, without any thought of the consequences.

I’ve often found myself leaving and walking out not wanting to listen to the put downs and criticisms of others. They just don’t seem to think or be aware of the impact of what they say.

What we say has power so lets always be aware of how we use words. Be conscious of what you say and how you say it. Words are powerful transmitters of feeling and can build or break relationships in an instant.
Practice noticing how the words you say and hear affect your body and your emotional state. Not only do our words matter, but also the tone, which we use, has a huge impact.

Notice how different communication styles of the people in your life make you feel.

Notice how your words come out and what affect they have on the people around you. 

Speaking quickly, without thinking, doesn’t carry the same power as when we speak slowly and confidently. This gives those receiving our words time and space to take them in.

When we really listen to others, respecting them and giving them space before we speak, our words have more integrity, and when we take time to centre ourselves before speaking, that’s when we can harness the power of speech.

The more conscious we become of our words and their meaning, the more we deepen our relationship to the words we choose to use.

Before speaking take a few moments to contemplate what you will say and how you will say it; consider the impact your words will have on the listener.

There are certain rules that should guide our communications with others. Always speak the truth, don’t exaggerate, be consistent in what you are saying, don’t use your words to manipulate others, and most importantly do not use words to insult, belittle or criticise anyone.

Thich Nhat Hanh, a contemporary Buddhist monk wrote, “We must discipline ourselves to speak in a way that commands respect, gentleness and humility”.