Words have the power to build people up and bring them down. They can uplift and enlighten, or depress and destroy. You have complete control over the words you use, so choose them carefully.
The first step is awareness. Think before you speak. Focus on communicating positives: strengths, praise, encouragement.
Handle negatives carefully. Your intention is a powerful tool. At the learning and life skills, SuperCamp, it is called "Speak With Good Purpose," which is one of the 8 Keys of Excellence kids ages 9-18 learn while at camp. Communication is the bridge between people—it's the glue that holds all relationships together. It's what forms the link between husband and wife, between parent and child, between teacher and student, between friends, siblings, partners, and co-workers.
Your relationships thrive or wither depending on the quality of the communication that serves them. Speaking with good purpose can be a challenge—it takes courage, effort, and practice. But when you master this skill the quality of your relationships will change and you'll find the satisfaction of deep, meaningful connections with others that may have eluded you before. Words are powerful. They can build or destroy. A few cutting words, let loose in a moment of anger, can wound someone for a lifetime.
Remember when your best friend in high school said you had a "retarded smile," or when your teacher discouraged your progress in math ability with "you're no good at numbers"? I remember to this day the pain I felt hearing my mother snickering to her friend in the stands at the ice skating rink while watching me flounder. Hurtful comments can stay with us a long time. Words matter. I don't know who came up with that phrase about "sticks and stones," but they were wrong.
Words can hurt. They can also heal. What you say has an impact.
On the other hand, there are times when a few kind words make all the difference. Have you ever had someone whisper, "I believe you can do it," just when you needed to hear it the most? Catch yourself—why was I going to say that? How can you make sure you're speaking with good purpose? How do you make it happen? How do you direct your speech to forge strong bonds and create safe environments? We begin by thinking about our words . we think before we speak. Ask yourself, "Am I going to say something useful right now? Will my words be encouraging or damaging?" Positive communication is a habit. It's a matter of training yourself to monitor your thoughts before they become speech.
With practice, you'll learn to focus on giving words to positive thoughts, to recognizing people's strengths, and to offering praise and encouragement. Don't stop expressing negative thoughts, just be careful with them We don't have to avoid expressing negative thoughts, feelings, and experiences, but it's best to recognize them for what they are and decide whether or not we need to say them. Treat a negative thought like a wasp that gets into the house. Don't overreact; don't throw lots of energy at it. Simply think, "Okay, what am I going to do about that?" If it's simply a random unpleasant thought—you don't like a person's whiny tone or wish another person wasn't so pushy—acknowledge the thought and let it go. Choose not to give it the power of spoken words.
But if it's something that needs resolution, you may need to express it. Handle these times carefully. Think about the intention of your words. Are they meant to support the person and build a stronger relationship? Are they focused on finding a solution? Speaking honestly—without the masks of sarcasm, condescension, or disdain— requires you to state your true thoughts and feelings, even if they're not pretty, even when they're not what the other person wants to hear.
Honest speech is about revealing the true you. The power of Speaking with Good Purpose Speaking with good purpose allows us to harness the awesome power of our words. When we speak positively, honestly, and directly, with the goal of keeping relationships strong, words cease to be a random force and begin to show their positive power in our relationships and in our lives. Affirmations for SPEAK WITH GOOD PURPOSE: - I speak with good intent—no swearing, put-downs or gossip.
- I am honest and direct. - I walk my talk. "The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives. —Anthony Robbins.
SuperCamp summer programs fill up fast. Go to http://www.SuperCamp.com now to learn about enrolling your son or daughter while spaces remain. Age-specific programs are available for students in grades 4-12 and incoming college freshmen. At the website, you also can get a free eBook that gives you an inside look at what works with teens from a world leader in youth achievement, SuperCamp co-founder Bobbi DePorter.