Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Power of Our Words

I've recently had some conversations with friends on the power of our words. Words can inspire, encourage, motivate, heal, and console. Sadly, words can also stifle communication and harm others.

Years ago I came across a wonderful website, Words Can Heal. It gives advice on the power of our words, and it also gives practical suggestions about how to avoid backbiting in very common situations. From the website: "Words Can Heal is a national campaign to eliminate verbal violence, curb gossip and promote the healing power of words to enhance relationships at every level". It's enjoyable to read and there's even a downloadable free handbook!

Here is the Words Can Heal pledge:

I pledge to think more about the words I use.
I will try to see how gossip hurts people, including myself, and work to eliminate it from my life.
I will try to replace words that hurt with words that encourage, engage and enrich.
I will not become discouraged when I am unable to choose words perfectly, because making the world a better place is hard work.
And I am pledging to do that, one word at a time.

Here's a fun video from the Polynesian Baha'i Youth Group Mana on the effect of our speech...
Enjoy! Hoo yaaaaa!!!!!

Quotations of Baha'u'llah, founder of the Baha'i Faith, from the video:

Backbiting quencheth the light of the heart, and extinguisheth the life of the soul.

Breathe not the sins of others so long as thou art thyself a sinner.

Speak no evil, that thou mayest not hear it spoken unto thee, and magnify not the faults of others that thine own faults may not appear great.

O Son of Being! How couldst thou forget thine own faults and busy thyself with the faults of others? Whoso doeth this is accursed of Me.


At 9:35 AM, Blogger Nikhil said...

Hmm such a simple yet powerful message. I'm always amazed at how all of us have so many opportunities to make the world a better place in so many small ways every single day, just by changing our own behavior and attitude. Yet we often feel a sense of despair at the state of the world and feel quite helpless, wishing there were ways in which we could positively influence it! Too often do we get daunted by the prospect of making huge changes to the world - and in the process become blind to all the little changes we can make right then and there.

At 11:04 AM, Blogger Racn4acure said...

Anne - so true.

I was taking a few minutes to look through a few of your older posts. You have such a wonderful blog! I just had to comment on a couple of your posts.

Your trip to Cape Cod looks just great. What a great vacation! It sounds like you got to enjoy all the things that you enjoy doing in one trip. Who could ask for more?

Then your post on your trip to Tinicum Marsh in South Philly brought up some great memories for me. First, as a kid growing up near Philly but loving animals and nature, it was a special treat for me was when my dad would take me to Tinicum to see all the (to me) exotic wildlife. It was like going to the Serengeti for a suburban kid! Then as a little guy, long, long ago, there was a plan to fill in a big part of the marsh there. It might have been to expand the airport, I can’t remember. Anyhow, I was probably about 10 and upset about it, and my mom said “why don’t you take a petition around the neighborhood?” So I did, even though it was a little intimidating for a kind of shy young kid. Everyone was nice, and most people signed the petition. A few wouldn’t because that was “progress”. I think I got about 80 – 100 signatures but can not remember for sure. I am willing to bet that most people smiled and thought to themselves “who gives a darn about a smelly old marsh?” but signed the thing anyway to be nice.

So obviously the marsh wasn’t filled in. I’ve not been there in years and years, but any time I pass along that section of I-95 and see the sign for the Heinz refuge there, I smile to myself and think that maybe my little efforts had a tiny part in making it so. Someday, I will have to go back there and see it again for myself.

Anyhow, thanks for sharing your trip there and bringing back some really special memories. Carpe Diem! Art

At 8:33 PM, Blogger Anne said...

Hi Nikhil,
Yes, so true! I have a favorite quote, it's in the side bar of my blog, part of it is "small things, lovingly done, are always within our reach".
Thanks so much for your comment!

At 8:37 PM, Blogger Anne said...

Hi Al,
Thanks so much! I'm glad you liked the Cape Cod photos. Yes, it was a wonderful vacation, all of my favorite things: hiking, bike riding, bird watching, the beach!

Glad that Tinicum Marsh brought up some pleasant memories! You were an environmentalist at an early age!

The motto of a group who takes children in to wilderness areas is "no child left inside". I think it's a wonderful idea! I would love to see more children have the opportunity to experience the beauty of nature.



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