by Christie Perkins
During my chemo treatments I was amazed at the power of the food on my overall well being. Even though I couldn’t taste what I wiggled down the food tube, I felt better when I ate better- when I ate foods from all of the food groups.
It was a simple choice that affected me as a whole. And even now with fully acting taste buds, I am more keenly aware of how my food choices affect me.
(And, boy, have I been flubbing that up lately. Who eats lemon bars for breakfast? Well, who besides my kids and I? Yep, bad mom moment.)
Yet, often times during chemo I just couldn’t force myself to eat the good foods because it didn’t sound good. It was hard. It wasn’t always convenient or easy to do.
But, the effort to do so had amazing benefits.
And so it is with words. We have to choose what we spew out of our mouths. Just like we have a choice over what we put into our mouths what comes out of them is also a choice. There’s a power on our whole being when we choose our words wisely. It affects how we feel, and how others feel.
It’s a simple choice. Sometimes you will feel the sweetness of your words but sometimes you just have to force them because you are numb to how you feel. Yes, it’s hard. And it isn’t always convenient or easy to do. But, all good word choices will affect your whole well-being.
The Pyramid of Word Choices That Will Make or Break Our Relationships
Use Whole Grain Word Choices. Did someone just get something that you wanted? Are they in the lime light? Share in their success. Do you open your sack of happiness and share it or only keep it only for yourself, and your successes. Be happy for others. Focus on words that are wholesome. Build others up. Don’t purposely take out the parts that will nourish others. Tell them what you really think don’t cover it up with a snide comment or not telling them the truth of the goodness you see. These words are often simple, not overdone. But these words recognize the goodness in others. The point of whole grain words is to not hold back the goodness that you see. Give the whole comment. Don’t hold back.
Whole Grain Words: Congratulations, well done, awesome, wow I had no idea that you were that good, I hope you enjoy that blessing, you deserve it, you’re good enough, you’re talented, you’re very creative, I always knew you were better than you think you are; your work looks great.
“…Your happiness will depend in substantial part on your ability to find joy rather than competitive disappointment in the accomplishments of those around you.” -Rex E. Lee
Use Peachy Words Choices. It is easy to see what needs to be fixed. Human nature has the ability to see faults. We use this to determine what we want to be or don’t want to be. But, tearing others down is never a good idea. Use words that are sweet. Give comments that you personally would like to taste all day. Kind words; true words. There is something good in everyone. Find an enemy or friend and share a peachy word with them. It will make you and them feel great. Tell them, don’t just keep it to yourself. And yes, sometimes you have to search to find something but if you look you will find some really great things. Tell them why the world is better because they are in it. Be specific. They add a sweetness no one else can.
Peachy Words: Your eyes are beautiful, you are so non-judgemental, I love your willingness to serve, you’re a hard worker, thank you, your smile brightens the room, your willpower is inspiring, you make my day, I noticed how you followed through with what was asked of you, I’m better because of you; your personality is so fun (or loving, kind, generous, etc.).
“I can live for two month on a good compliment.” -Mark Twain
Avoid Beet Word Choices. There’s a false notation that if you build others up you are somehow diminished. It’s not true. Everyone has something good in them and acknowledging someone else’s greatness only adds to your own light. You develop qualities of love for others when you can admit their greatness without shrinking. Stomping on others doesn’t make you rise higher, it causes you to lose ground and fall. On the other hand, lifting others can only make you stronger. Don’t “beet” others with your words. Even thinking these things affect our actions and feelings towards others. So be careful with the words you allow to rest in your head.
Beet Words and Attitudes: Idiot, stupid, jerk, etc. Attitudes and actions of bragging, criticizing, diminishing, arguing, fighting.
“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” -Marcus Aurelius
Use Chicken Word Choices in Moderation: Afraid of people shunning you for offering up your suggestions. Express your thoughts. Take a risk everyday, even in what you say. This is something you should risk. It will deepen your relationships with others because it will connect you to others who feel the same way. There are too many people pleasers (yep, I’m one of them). Learn to have an opinion and express it. I see nothing wrong with being agreeable but when you really have an opinion don’t be too chicken to share it. Practice it daily, even if in the small things. It will build your confidence and, surprisingly, your relationships. Don’t be too chicken to express how you feel. Sometimes expressing how you feel will be hard but it will be necessary to break down some walls.
Chicken Words: I don’t care, that’s fine, whatever, what do you want to do? Actions could include shrugging shoulders, looking down when asked an opinion, hands in pockets, avoiding eye contact, etc.
“I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.” – Jane Austen
Avoid Sour Cream Word Choices. Sour Cream words look pretty but are laced with jealousy, hatred, bitterness, crust, etc. On paper they sound nice but the way that it is said carries the meaning to a whole new level. Meaning of comments will be destroyed by the wrong tone. It’s easy to smell the sour feelings. Try whole grain words instead. Search for the why. Recognize that it most likely wasn’t just handed to them on a silver platter but that it was probably because of some blessing for how they live their life. Maybe hard work, immense struggles, generosity of others, etc. I recommend asking questions instead of plastering them with a rotten sour cream word choice. Discover the why behind the blessing. Then take notice your own blessings. Or even easier, just smile.
Sour Cream Words: how nice for you, you always have good things happen to you, it’s your choice, hmmm.
“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” -Thumper
Benefits from Daily Efforts
Some days you will find yourself flubbing up. Sometimes the natural tendency to eat a lemon bar will overtake us. But, it’s okay. Learn from it and try a little harder the next time. All is not lost in a little word flaw. It’s just lost when we don’t try at all. Let us be more careful with our word choices and realize the healthy relationship benefits from choosing more carefully the words we spew. This week focus on one area that you need to work on and make a daily effort to be a little better.
See if it adds a little perk to your life.
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