Friday, October 25, 2013

Words

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I've always been a person greatly affected by words--I've cried listening to songs on the radio, worn out pages of poetry reading and reading the same passage, and been so consumed in novels that I could barely find my way out. When words are directed toward me they impact me even more. I wish I could say that I'm one of those people who don't care about what other people think or say about me, but I do care, deeply. It's a curse sometimes, but mostly a blessing. It's part of the reason I've surrounded myself with people who speak encouragement and support into my life. That's not to say that the people around me just tell me how great I am all the time--far from it--but they are truthful, even when the truth isn't easy to hear, and they are kind.

To be transparent, I've had a rough few weeks lately. Work has been frustrating on many levels, I've felt really stuck creatively, and I've just been feeling really very average in almost every area of my life. I don't know why or what caused it, but I'm in a rut or a funk or whatever you want to call it. The worst part is, I really didn't even see it happening or realize I was there until about a week ago.

A week ago, I met up with some professors that I had in undergrad and grad school--some for professional reasons, some just because I saw them wandering Hill Hall and wanted to catch up. I chatted with all of them for at least half an hour, and I was struck first by how much I felt like a colleague rather than a student--not sure when that change happened, but it was incredibly strange. We talked about therapy, licensure, music, and childhood stories. The second thing that was striking was just how genuinely encouraging they were, without even meaning to be. One asked my opinion as an "artsy, creative type" (um, what?), another asked me to submit a CV to teach a class in his area of expertise, and another mentioned that he has always been impressed with my "natural professionalism." I'm not relaying all their compliments to toot my own horn, but to illustrate this: I'm still thinking about their words a week later. Honestly, I'll probably be thinking about their words for much longer than that.

I walked around the rest of the day feeling incredibly efficacious and proud. Life seemed a little brighter, and I felt a burst of creativity. I remembered what it felt like to really believe in my abilities and to know I'm good at what I do. All of that--from words. Nothing but words from people whose opinions I respect. That's it. The Bible says that the tongue holds the power of life and death, and I've never seen that so clearly as I did last Friday. I wonder how often I've been careless with my words, and how many opportunities I've had to breathe life into someone that I've let slip by. So this week, I'm making it a point to speak true, life-giving words to the people around me, and I encourage you to do the same. You never know how long they'll be thinking about it.


10 comments :

  1. i totally feel the same way about the magic of words- it's so neat how they can push an emotion out of you that wasn't there just a second ago (and i totally cry over songs too haha). That's also why I try and give out honest compliments as much as possible- you just dont know how a simple sentence can affect someone :)

    xo marlen
    Messages on a Napkin

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    1. It really is neat--and it just happens so easily that it's almost easy to miss it. So glad I'm not the only one who cries over songs, because it definitely makes me feel silly sometimes. :)

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  2. Wow! What a powerful post! I am honestly the same way. Really, I analyze things and then I over analyze them again. I'm that person who if you say something to me, especially if it's hurtful, I'll remember it years later. (awful I know!) It can definitely be a curse, because I still remember those hurtful words (or ignores/ or if a person is passively aggressive) that was said. *Lord help me forgive!* But it is so nice to see the brighter side to it. Being able to be encouraged and to be an encourager to others! How refreshing! It's so nice to see that I'm not the only one who is like this, but also makes me all the more aware of my own words!

    Jess, we are meant to be such good friends. I'm sure of it. I can't wait to meet you sometime soon!

    Xo, Emma

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    1. Oh my gosh--the over analyzing. I'm definitely that person who replays conversations over and over and tries to think of what I would say differently after someone's been a jerk to me. Things like that do stay with me, too, even though I try to get them out of my head. I'm just lucky that my memory is equally as good for kind things; I know so many people who can only focus on negative exchanges, and it's heartbreaking.

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  3. So excited to find your blog! You write beautifully. I've been thinking a lot about my own words lately... often I'm too shy to really say how I really feel, but I really want to start being the friend that uses her words to bless others and build them up. Thanks for sharing your heart! It was just what I needed to hear.

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    1. I definitely understand--I'm the shy type too! So glad you stopped by!

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  4. Great reminder!!! I have been working recently on telling people the positive thoughts I have about them. I'm generally a quiet person if you don't know me, so this isn't always easy... but I think about when someone compliments me or notices a positive quality I possess, when they acknowledge these things it really makes my day! So if we have that opportunity to make someone else's, why not take it?

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    1. Believe me, I understand! I'm definitely the shy-ish, introverted type. It's definitely not easy, but I think that sometimes the fact that we don't say much makes our words even more meaningful when we do speak.

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