I am officially a Taylor Swift fan.
1989 is an incredible album and you can judge me all you want for loving it, I’m judging myself a little bit. But seriously, she wrote her heart out and I love every single song.
One in particular that I jam out to is called Bad Blood. It’s pretty self explanatory. Someone (maybe a guy, maybe a friend) has betrayed her to an unfix-able point.
We’ve all been there.
She says it quite well when she says “Band aid’s don’t fix bulletholes.”
When I heard that line, it really got me thinking – how powerful of a role the people around us play in our lives.
And even more than who they are in our lives, what they say about us matters even more. We see ourselves through the people around us. If they love things about us, if they hate things about us, whatever they think about us shapes and defines the way we see ourselves.
Their words hold power. A lot of power.
But to go even farther, everyone’s words have power. Celebrities, bloggers, bullies, teachers, that guy on the side of the street, everyone’s words have the power to shape our lives for the good and the bad.
When I was in 7th grade, I was on AIM chatting with my friends. When a little chat bubble popped up from a guy in my grade. This guy was a jerk then and remained one all through high school. I had no interest in keeping conversation with him but for some reason he felt the need to message me this evening.
He said (and I will never forget this), “You could use some butter with those rolls.”
I don’t think I had ever even thought about being fat up until that point. I mean I knew I wasn’t as skinny as the other girls in my class but I wasn’t obese or anything. I remember saying something like “yeah well you’re a butt head and you smell” – probably really hit him in the jugular, you know. I then logged off aim and went upstairs.
I didn’t cry or anything because I really didn’t care about this dude but for the rest of my life I would think about his words. I would think, “well if he thinks I’m fat, who else notices? Is there something wrong with me?”
Heck I’m 25 years old and I still remember a conversation from when I was 13.
Words have power.
Especially the ones we choose to speak about other people.
Relationships are repaired and torn apart by words. We’ve all had that one girlfriend who keeps getting back with the jerk guy because of what he says to her. Words matter.
I once worked with an organization that wanted to call their orphanage a village and a family because if a child grows up thinking it’s an orphan, it will believe that but it if believes it’s part of a family, it will be part of a family.
The words that other people use to describe us, to tell us how we matter, to tell us what we can’t see for ourselves…these words change us.
In the same way that words can thrust us into greatness, words can also create wounds that sometimes nothing can heal.
Also, let’s talk about the phrase “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” – UHM I CALL SERIOUS BS.
I would rather be punched in the gut than have someone I love hurt me with their words. Psychological wounds, in comparison to physical wounds, take much longer to heal (if they ever even do).
Like TSwift says, “band aid’s don’t fix bulletholes.”
We as humans, have the power to shape people’s lives. As my life guru and (hopefully one day) friend Bob Goff says, “maybe we should start being pickier about what we say.”
Maybe we don’t always need to say exactly what we are thinking. Maybe we don’t need to tell every person what’s wrong with them and where they fail.
Maybe we just need to tell people how wonderful they are, how great they look today, or how much we love that smile of theirs.
Maybe instead of talking about people, we talk with people.
Maybe instead of discussing other’s life choices, we make choices on how we can change the world.
Maybe we start using our words to heal the world, instead of hurting it.
Often times, choosing to speak love instead of hate happens in a milisecond. Your mouth begins to speak before your brain even knows what’s happening.
Your words hold more weight than you realize.
Stop holding back the love that you can give to the world. Use up all the love you’ve got today, you will get more tomorrow.