Kind Words Move Mountains
Today there is so much vitriol and anger in our public discourse and in our interactions with others. Political opinions have created two distinct camps: Us versus Them. While I agree we stand at a critical time in the history of our Republic, I think it’s time to take a step back and try and solve our problems without all of the angry words and attitude. I know what you are thinking, “I will be kinder when the other side starts being more civil.”
The reality of the situation is this: you can’t control what others say and do, but you can control what you say and how you react. A prime example of this occurred the other day when I watched two people debate a critical social issue on T.V. One side was calm and armed with facts as their position was presented. The other side allowed their emotions to take over and was belligerent to the opposition and used personal attacks to form the basis of their argument. Guess which side had the more compelling argument? Give yourself a cookie if you said the calm debater.
Anger does not help defend a position or belief. Personal attacks do nothing to further your cause. Be calm…be informed…be direct….be kind. You can be passionate in your beliefs, defend your position, and disagree with someone without anger and personal attacks. With this in mind let’s take a look at the effects of kind words.
Think back to the last time you were on the receiving end of a kind word. Was it a word of encouragement? Was it simply a thank you? Did someone at work praise you for a job well done? What about a family member or spouse letting you know they loved you? How about a friend reaching out by phone, text, messenger, or letter to let you know they value your presence in their life?
Recall how these words made you feel. Did you have a little extra “Spring in you Step?” Was there a bit more sunshine in your life? Did a word or two of positive affirmation help you finally reach that goal? Was your passion increased. What about that attitude? Did the “stinkin- thinkin stop? Was your spirit renewed and you felt you could take on the world? Did a kind word give you a sense of purpose or worth? Kind, positive, and encouraging words can make the difference between success and failure.
Speaking kind, positive, and encouraging words has a dual effect on the psyche of both the recipient and speaker. Both get a shot of positive adrenaline in their systems. I truly believe positive thoughts and words have a “multiplier effect.” The more sincere kind words you send out the kinder words you receive over time. Now this doesn’t mean you offer kind words, praise, or encouragement to someone expecting a “payback.” The motivation for kind words must be sincere and not manipulative when offered.
A fable I learned as a child illustrates the difference kind words can make versus using angry words when trying to convince someone to change their mind. I will put the fable in my own words so if you recall it in a different way, that’s ok, the message is the same.
The “Wind” and “Sun” were in a competition to see who was most powerful. The object of their battle was a man walking through the forest wearing a coat. The “Wind” challenging the “Sun,” boasted “ I am so powerful I can blow off the man’s coat. The “Wind” blew and blew, harder and harder. The man simply clutched his coat tighter. No matter how hard the “Wind” attacked the result was the same. The “Sun” on the other hand bathed the man in warm sunshine. As he was feeling the warmth increase the man removed his coat. To me this old fable clearly shows the difference between anger and aggressiveness (The “Wind”), versus the effect of love and kindness (The “Sun”).