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A rose by any other name

Words have power.

We’ve seen this time and time again. It’s the reason books get banned or burned in difficult times.

But smaller words, labels, have power too.

I’ve become more mindful of my own words especially once it was pointed out to me how often I say I hate something.

Hate is a pretty powerful word. There’s no denying that it’s extraordinarily negative and yet I was tossing it around willy nilly.

I hate the holidays.

I hate snow.

I hate people who drive below the speed limit when the road is clear and dry.

I hate that I am allergic to peanuts. God how I miss peanut butter, beer nuts and everything peanuty.

None of these things deserve that intensity of emotion. Not one.

So I started changing the words I used and an amazing thing happened: I lost a lot of animosity towards the things I used to hate.

I found moments during the holidays that I truly loved and treasured.

I found colours in the snow, and a gratitude that my climate means we don’t have ginormous spiders.

I found compassion for people who may be driving slower because they’re having a bad day or aren’t confident yet.

The peanut thing? Well…I love that I only developed this allergy ten years ago, so I do know what I’m missing. And I’m grateful for that.

But this translates farther than that…the words we use to talk to ourselves have incredible power. I used my own self talk to keep me small for the longest time.

I told myself I was awkward and clumsy. Uninteresting. Easily forgettable. Definitely hateful. And my favourite: I always say the wrong thing at the wrong time.

It served no one for me to be my own worst abuser. It affected all my career decisions until I finally had enough. ENOUGH!

So I challenge you to pay attention to your inner and outer words. Soften them and change them if they’re hurtful and see what happens.

Because the world doesn’t need more hate; it needs more compassion, softness and kindness. Let’s be the change we want to see in the world.

Start small. Start with your words.