Are You Hostage To Your Opinions?
With tongue in cheek I ask, have you noticed the current climate of robust words and divided opinions about our political scene?
Of course, the news about the Brad and Angelina divorce, the last shooting by a police officer, or an individual shooting a police officer, add to an already fertile field of heated debate and conversation.
Let me be clear, while this series is NOT about the current opinionated political climate, at the same time, I do understand the fear, anger, pain and rage that is rampaging throughout the country.
Personally, I view this climate as prayer requests. We can hold all of what occurs to be in disarray in our world, as an opportunity for the power of God to be expressed though and as us.
God can move through each one of us to bring a new order, a new peace, a new healing and a new beginning, if we choose.
Meanwhile, lets continue exploring how the power of our words play a significant part in the healing process.
Invitations – Will You Accept?
I see this climate as an invitation and reminder for us to consider the energy field of our thoughts and words, and how they may be contributing to or adversely affecting our well being.
It’s an invitation to be more conscious about planting the kind of word seeds in the energetic Universal field of Spirit that empower and uplift ourself and the collective consciousness.
It’s an invitation—rather than join the voices of anger, discord or hopelessness—to ask ourself, “Am I willing to see my circumstance, event or this person differently?” “Are my words and conversations coming from a place of peace, love and harmony?”
Over time we may forget how powerful words are in informing who we see ourselves and others to be.
In case you become aware that this post has more than my usual references and quotes, my intention and hope is that these multiple sources will reinforce our remembrance of what we already know.
Those who know me, frequently hear me say that everyone is doing the best they can given their life’s circumstances. I deeply believe this as true.
This belief serves me in forgiving myself when I have spoken or acted out of what I value as my higher self. It also helps me forgive others when I perceive that they have done so.
Nevertheless, my years in ministry and my own experience have taught me that there are times when it is challenging to live on a consistent basis, from the “Truth” that we believe.
Words of Fear or Faith
I know that it isn’t lost on you how the media promotes fear and separation. And Isn’t it true, there is a part of us that wants us to forget we are interconnected? Rather, it/ego would have us believe we are separate. That there is an “us” and “them.”
Having this awareness, we also know the diligence required to the spiritual practices that align more with our identification with our Divine Nature.
Charles Fillmore, cofounder of Unity World Wide Ministries offers this observation: “Know that any seed words that are planted in Omnipresent Spirit will germinate and grow and bring forth fruit “after their kind.” Just as the farmer selects the best seed for planting, so I must choose the words that will bring forth the rich harvest of plenty.”
As we know, words that are written, can be erased, but words that are spoken have an energy behind them that are not easily forgotten.
God and Conversation
One of the abbreviated definitions of ‘word’ that Webster’s dictionary gives is: “a brief remark or conversation.”
When we go to the New Testament, in the book of John, we find these words, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…” What I find interesting, is the ‘Word’ (translated from the Greek word logos) is also thought to refer to the Mind, idea, thought, concept, image, and/or the conversation of God.
I love how Carlton Pearson in his book God Is Not a Christian,
writes, “God is never more than a conversation (a reasoned thought) away….” Pearson goes on to pose the following questions:
“What if God is the very language we are speaking? What intimacy could be possible?
“How are we making ourselves manifest in our conversations with God and with others?”
Words Bring Forth After Their Kind
As divine creations of the Mind/Word/Conversation of God, it’s also important to acknowledge that the words we speak and hear can be misunderstood.
Someone has said and clearly makes this point, “I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”
Michelle’s Story: My friend Michelle gave me permission to share an excerpt from one of her recent experiences about a misunderstood conversation with her niece. See if you can relate. I certainly can:
“Yesterday my baby sister…let me know I hurt my niece’s feelings PUBLICALLY and needed to do damage control.
“At the time of the words leaving my mouth, I caught what could have been pain as she [niece] abruptly left the livingroom, but when I queried her mother, she responded that my niece was like that and prefers to spend time in her room.
“After my sister admitted that there was harm, I reached out to my niece and apologized…though my intent was not to cause harm. She received it well, but I know first hand how pain can last…”
I dare say there’s not one human being on the planet who has not had a similar experience. Thank you Michelle for your willingness to be vulnerable in allowing your experience to be shared publicly.
When you stop to think about it it’s truly a miracle when what we communicate is truly understood by the other person. I found this potent reminder on Face Book, “The tongue has no bones, but it is strong enough to break a heart. So be careful with your words.”
Let’s dive deeper into the power of your/our words and read the following poignant poem by Ruth Bebemeyer:
Words are Windows
(or They’re Walls)
“I feel so sentenced by your words,
I feel so judged and sent away,
Before I go I’ve got to know
Is that what you mean to say
Before I rise to my defense,
Before I speak in hurt or fear,
Before I build that wall of words,
Tell me, did I really hear?
Words are windows, or they’re walls,
They sentence us, or set us free.
When I speak and when I hear,
Let the love light shine through me.
There are things I need to say,
Things that mean so much to me,
If my words don’t make me clear,
Will you help me to be free?
If I seemed to put you down,
If you felt I didn’t care,
Try to listen through my words
To the feelings that we share.”
Ruth eloquently expresses one of our basic needs, which is to understand and be understood. In other words, our need for connection.
Marshall Rosenberg in his book, NonViolent Communication offers this advice:
“To communicate consciously requires attention to two areas:
I need to speak from awareness of what I am perceiving, feeling and needing, and
Through watching and listening, I need to be aware of those same needs in others.
When we focus on clarifying what is being observed, felt, and needed rather than on diagnosing and judging, we discover the depth of our own compassion.”
When we think about building strong relationships, without a doubt the words we say are essential to that process. Proverbs 25:11 gives us this reminder, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”
Connecting With Your Word
When you come from the inner space of love, peace and harmony, you want to make everything you touch better, and uplifting to humanity.
On a practical level here are some suggested phrases that are useful in navigating life in a more conscious manner:
We never want to shame or judge others. The relationship with ourself is equally important, therefore, we never
want to use our words to shame or judge ourself.
Be clear about what you want. Rather than your current situation, focus on an out-come that leans toward win-win.
Let’s use Marshall Rosenberg’s NonViolent communication model of observation, feeling and need on the following example: :
The house needs cleaning, (observation) You are frustrated (feeling) because you want help cleaning the house (need) instead of saying . . . “You never do anything around his house,” consider saying . . . “The house needs cleaning (observation). I am frustrated (feeling), because I need some help (need). Would you be willing to be responsible for vacuuming the house once a week ?” (request rather than a demand)
Will Bowen, author of A Complaint Free World suggests this phrase “You’re probably not aware of this…” when faced with something that bothers you,
He gives this example: Someone in a theater starts to text during the movie and the light from the cell phone is distracting…say, “You’re probably not aware of this . . .” and express your observation in a neutral fashion.
Compassion and empathy can bring healing to a difficult conversation.
Jill Spiegel, author of the book How to talk to anyone About Anything offers this suggestion for asking for what you want by substituting the use of “but” for “at the same time”:
Example: A friend is late for lunch for the 3rd time … “I love our lunches together . . . ‘at the same time’ I feel hurt when you arrive late . . . I feel you don’t value my schedule or me. I needed to tell you because I want our friendship to remain positive.”
In Ecclesiastes 10:12 we find this observation, “The words of a wise person’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.”
When your opinions and efforts to be right are holding you hostage from your peace of mind and sense of well being, consider this familiar statement, “You don’t see the world as it is, but as you are.”
Most Important Words
The six most important words: I admit I made a mistake.
The five most important words: You did a good job.
The four most important words: What is YOUR opinion?
The three most important words: If you please.
The two most important words: Thank You.
The one most important word: We.
The least important word: I.
- Author Unknown (offered by Peggi Willis)
Would you be willing to join me in observing your thoughts, opinions and words over the next 48 hours. When you notice something you would have preferred to have said or done differently, be compassionate with yourself, and at the same time, try to determine what need of yours was not being met. Journaling is a great tool to support expanding your awareness.
In the upcoming posts we will explore the keys to creating connection, health and happiness with your words. If you know of someone who may benefit from this series, I would love it, if you would take a moment now to like this post and share it with them.
I love hearing from you. If you have any questions or comments regarding your experience of and usage of words and/or how you are challenged by them, please share them in the comment box below.
And If you would like more personal support, you may contact me through the contact box below.
As always, on this site there are, affirmations, and meditations to support you on your journey to self-empowerment.
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