Monday, March 4, 2013

If: The Power of Words

"Words are things, I'm convinced. You must be careful about the words you use, or the words you allow to be used in your house. In the Old Testament, we're told in Genesis that, 'In the beginning was the word, and the word was God, and the word was with God.' That's in Genesis. Words are things. You must be careful, careful about calling people out of their names, using racial pejoratives and sexual pejoratives and all that ignorance. Don't do that. Some day we'll be able to measure the power of words. I think they are things. They get on the walls. They get in your wallpaper. They get in your rugs, in your upholstery, and your clothes, and finally in to you."   Maya Angelou

I heard Alicia Keys speak about the moment she realized the power of words. Her response, she says, was to banish the word "if" from her vocabulary. And to change the way she spoke.

I've always heard that words are powerful. And I've found it to be true in my own life. Sometimes I forget this. Sometimes I get lost in the moment and run off at the mouth. I plan the inevitable disaster of an ending before I even begin.

I think about ifs often. I think about every possible outcome of any given situation because I want to be prepared for anything. But the energy and time I spend focusing on the possibility of failing could instead be manifested as an effort toward success. Does that make sense?

This is of course a process. Teaching oneself to change the way they speak is not automatic. But I've found that some words begin to lose their appeal. And eventually the way you speak changes completely. And so does everything else in your life.

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