March 23, 2015 2 Comments
I AM WHAT I SAY: The Power of Self-Talk
What is the power of words? Our words? What we think and what we say?
I’ve been listening to people talking about everything and nothing, and what I’ve heard has captured my attention and is troubling. It’s what’s being said by people about themselves, about others, and about challenges, and even about their successes.
We know from the Bible that our words have power. Speaking them carries power and creates the reality. We’re warned:
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs: 18:21 (NIV)
Mark 11:24 tells us: “whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Over and again, we read throughout the Bible that the spoken word has come to pass, and we’re encouraged to guard our minds and our mouths because what we say will direct the course of our future.
Maybe because I’ve been thinking about this, I’ve noticed more what we’re saying and how we’re saying it. Maybe we’ve always spoken negatively about ourselves and others because, well, it’s human. But whatever the reason, we would, in my humble opinion, be wise to pause and consider the consequences of our words on us and on others.
Let me share a specific example:
A writer friend and I were conversing and I shared something with her. Later it was mentioned, and she didn’t recall our conversation. “I am losing it. I keep forgetting things.”
Weeks later, she repeated that—“I can’t remember anything anymore.”
Now, she’s saying that same thing far more often—and it appears to be true. She does seem to have a lot more trouble remembering.
That benign example got my attention, and what’s happened memory-wise got me to thinking. We’ve all heard, “I am that I am.” And we know what it meant. What we might not have recognized—at least, I didn’t at the time—is that we are what we are, too.
If we believe we have a poor memory, we’re accepting that as real and valid and a part of our nature. It’s part and parcel of our personal, I am. And believing it—when we speak it, we voice our belief for better or worse—we grant it authority. We’re saying it our thought that our memory is poor carries our conviction that our memory is poor. Therefore, our memory is or becomes poor because that’s what we’ve deemed it. We have exercised our free will choice on the matter.
We’re all going to have negative thoughts from time to time. They’re human, as natural to us as breathing. They are attempts to influence our spiritual selves. But thoughts are fleeting. And if we don’t act on them, they flee, fade and fall away.
If we don’t voice them (with our focus or our spoken words), then we deny those negative things authority. They’re powerless without the authority of our free-will choice.
My point is we should exercise care what we say we are because, if we believe it and grant it authority, we will become it. This makes the way we see ourselves and how we talk with and about ourselves extremely important.
The Proverbs verse tells us the tongue has the power of life and death, and if we love it, we’ll eat its fruit. It doesn’t say we’ll eat the good fruit and not the bad fruit. Or we’ll eat the positive fruit and not eat the negative fruit. It says we’ll eat the fruit. All of it.
To me, that’s good and bad, which means how we talk about ourselves is directly relative and it impacts our future.
I’ve long said we need to guard our minds. You can’t fill your mind with trash and pull out treasures. (You reap what you sow, right?) I think we should extend that to our mouths.
What comes out of our mouths about ourselves and others should be constructive, positive, honoring us and respecting God. Good fruit bears good fruit.
Will we always do it? No, we’re human. But we should try. Hard. Our futures, I am convinced, rely on it.
Vicki Hinze is a USA Today Bestselling Author. She has written over 30 novels, 4 nonfiction books and hundreds of articles in as many as 63 countries. She is also a columnist for Social N Global network and a former radio talk show host.