According to Google, the average person speaks at least 7,000 words a day. Ladies, it is reported that we speak an average of 20,000 words each day, while our male counterparts are closer to the 7,000 word count. Shocking, right? Not really! 

Regardless of our gender, these numbers show that we are given the power to build up or tear down the human spirit, including our own, at least 7,000 times every day. This data can be viewed as awe-inspiring; knowing that we have the power to change someone’s life or our perception of ourselves at least 7,000 times a day. On the other hand, depending on the season, month, week, day, hour, or even the minute, these numbers are a bit unnerving. Along with the opportunity to brighten someone’s day or build up our own self-esteem, our words also hold the power to blame, shame, and hurt.

Words are Herculean. They can create joy, beauty, love, happiness, strength, security, and peace. They can also destroy trust, belonging, self-esteem, spirit, friendship, family, and morale. One word can change a person’s entire day for good or for bad. So, we must be mindful and choose our words wisely.

For me, choosing words wisely does not come easily. I am a reactor. I react big. I react loud. I react happy. I react sad. I react patiently. I react frustrated. I wear my emotions and my heart on my sleeve, and words flow freely from my mouth. I think those closest to me would say, for the most part, that my words are for the good. But, I know there have been, and still are, times when words are spewed from my tongue without any reflection or thought. Every day, I am working to react less. Every day, I am working on being more reflective and appropriately responsive. Every day, I am working on choosing my words more wisely.

Our words reflect our perception of reality, but they can also change it. The way we speak to others often reflects the way we feel about ourselves or our circumstances. So let’s be kind to ourselves. Let’s use the uplifting language of compassion, empathy, respect and love toward ourselves. For then, we will also speak to those we love, care about, and respect with words that build them up rather than tear them down.

I know this is not as easy as it sounds, especially given the societal circumstances and uncertainties that we have been living in and with this past year. We are still struggling to overcome and survive. We are tired, weak, and weary. We are frustrated and disappointed. We are anxious, and many of us feel like we are coming undone.

But hold on tight, dear friends. We are so far from over. We can take the words we have assigned to our current state of emotions and use them for good. We can use them to grow and heal. We can use them to lift ourselves; and, more importantly, we can use them to lift others. We can use them to change our perception of reality for the better.

Regardless of what the future holds for us, we can make a promise to ourselves and each other that we will choose our words more wisely. Let’s be more reflective and responsive. Let’s do our best to be less reactive. I am not suggesting that any of us become less. Please don’t shrink or hide. Don’t cower or feel less. Don’t say less. Do not be less than what and who you are; but, do be the best version of you. My prayer for all of us is, “Holy Spirit, hold our tongues until you have our hearts.”

We are set apart. God set us apart from his other creations when he gave us the ability to speak and use words in order to express our thoughts, feelings, desires and needs. But, somewhere along the way, in our fast-paced, high-achieving, performing, pleasing, perfecting society, we have lost the use of the most important words we were ever given. Words such as help, ask, brave, strength, weakness, give, dare, show, trust, refuse, peace, surrender are not spoken nearly enough.

-We often don’t ask for help when we need it.

-We refuse to show our weaknesses by daring to do something that may lead us to fail.

-We often give with the assumption that we will receive.

-We are brave when we can hide our fears and show only our strengths.

-We lack trust and peace because we refuse to wholeheartedly surrender to God’s plan.

God has blessed us with the ability to create and craft the words we are going to use. So let’s be less reactive, and become more reflective and responsive. Let’s choose to speak words that will serve as the cornerstones and building blocks of beautiful people, families, and communities. 

The power and purpose of our words can and will make a difference. Let’s be sure the difference that is made with our words is for the good of all. And when we fail, when we choose the wrong words, the hateful words, the hurtful words, let’s first forgive ourselves; and then let’s forgive each other.