The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. ~ Proverbs 18:21
Did you know that the our words can bring life and death to those around us and even to ourselves? According to the bible, not only our words have power in it, we also reap what we sow verbally.
If we plant good seeds (i.e. good words), we get to eat good fruits. If its bad seeds, then we end up with rotten fruits.
This is also known as the law attraction, which by the way is actually biblical. We attract the positive or negative, according to what we think and speak.
One of keys to being a refined and graceful person starts with our words, in the way that we speak to others and even to ourselves.
Speaking with class and elegance is not about being eloquent, or using big and flowery words. Its about being intentional in speaking words (whether it is in English or in our local languages) or in a manner that will build others up and not tear people down.
And I don’t only mean the usage of bad words (e.g. cursing, swearing, using expletives), it also applies to the manner we speak to and about others.
Whenever we gossip or speak ill of others, complain, being sarcastic, or saying negative things, we are indirectly implying that the other party is ‘not worthy’ enough and we esteem ourselves ‘higher’ than the person.
Now I have to admit, it’s easier to be said and done.
How do we maintain our composure and hold back our tongues when someone is saying nasty things to us? When the driver in front cuts into our lane suddenly? When we are being cheated of money in a foreign country? Or when are the victim?
In fact, I think I have to be a saint in order to become a person who does not speak or react negatively, even when faced with people or situations that are the worst of the worst.
What I do know is, I may not be perfect, but that does not mean that I don’t try to become better and learn how to speak more gracefully.
And it’s also not true that we can’t get angry. Being angry is human nature and is inevitable. However, dwelling on it and reacting to it, either verbally or physically, is a totally different thing.
One of the ways is to avoid getting personal by trying to see things from a different perspective as much as possible.
Here are some examples:
1) Focus on the issue, not the person
People do certain things because they are actually struggling with some issues, which can be internal or external. Sometimes the issues are so deep-rooted that they can’t help it but to do this.
For example, the person who speaks nasty things to us may be struggling with low self-confidence issues. That’s why he or she has to speak in such a way to feel good or important. When we think that way, our anger soon turns into empathy and we begin to feel sorry for that person.
Instead of shouting back, we can walk away without needing to prove that we are right or feeling that we are losing out because that person is battling with an issue that we are not.
It’s not proud to think this way, because if we start shouting back, it means we have the same issue as that person. In fact, it’s only when we are not battling with low self-confidence issues can we then help those who are.
Think it more like a reverse psychology.
2) Everything is a lesson to be learned
Yes, the person who cuts into our lane abruptly might be rude and inconsiderate, but the existence of rude drivers are sometimes what we need to train up our patience.
I believe that God teach us lessons using people and circumstances. And if certain issue keeps repeating in our lives, it usually means this is one huge lesson we have to learn until we get it right.
How do we learn to love or be kind if there’s no unlovable people? It doesn’t make sense to love a lovable person, I mean who will not love them?
How do we learn self-control if there’s no nasty people pushing our buttons?
How do we learn to be peaceable and diplomatic if there’s no sarcastic or argumentative people who want to win all the time?
3) Guard our Hearts
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. ~ Proverbs 4:23
You see, it all begins with our hearts. What we put in our hearts will affect how we think, which in turn affects how we speak.
Our heart represents our inner core, which leads to our thoughts, feelings, desires, will, the choices that we make, and even how we speak.
If we fill our hearts with good things, then good will flow out of it, including the words that we speak. If we fill it with bad stuff, then the bad will flow out. If we fill it with nothing, then nothing will be poured out (i.e. our words don’t encourage anyone or make an impact).
One of the great ways to fill our hearts with good things is to read personal development books, watch inspiring videos, or listen to empowering/life-changing podcasts that will change our mindset and shift our perspectives. Just like we need to exercise to stay fit, the constant renewal of our minds is very important because it affects who we will become.
The Bible is an excellent choice that offers so much wisdom and empowerment. I often looked up the bible for guidance on what I should do when I face difficult or negative situations. In fact, the book of proverbs is a powerful chapter that offers lots of daily wisdom on how to live life well.
Another way is to stay away from as much negative stuff and people as possible (e.g. news, complainers, whiners, pessimistic people). Hanging around positive people is also a great way to stay positive.
We are actually invest in others by speaking good, positive and encouraging words into their lives. The same applies to our own lives too.
We shouldn’t be speaking nice words to others with an agenda, to be in someone’s good books or get something out of it. Our words have to be sincere and for the good of the person. Otherwise, it’s better that we keep our mouths shut.
People need affirmations to become better, to think positively, grow their potential and change their lives. When we speak positively, we attract good things and also create an encouraging environment for people around us to thrive.
And in turn, you’ll find people more drawn to you as they like you more and see a difference in you.
We can all become a more graceful and elegant person simply by using our words wisely.
The best part is, it’s free and costs nothing.
Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything. ~ Proverbs 13:3