So often, people say: It goes without saying. It’s usually used when someone is saying something kind, complimentary or loving. What a crazy notion, that saying something beautiful and supportive could be unnecessary. What a shame that phrase even exists.
What could go without saying are so many of the negative things we utter or others have said to us.
Little “t” trauma, the incessant put downs so many children experienced growing up, has been shown to have far deeper negative consequences than what some experts erroneously call big “T” trauma, things like war, your house burning down, bankruptcy, etc.
If only humans could realize that sticks and stones may not break your bones, but they can break your spirit. Harsh words linger. They can even form one’s deepest opinion of oneself.
While you can’t go back and redesign your childhood, you can be the change you wish you could have seen. Think before you speak. That doesn’t mean you vet every word before it comes out of your mouth, it means you lovingly assess whether what you are saying is helpful or hurtful. Will it lift someone up or put someone down? What if it were the last thing you said to that person?
Of course, it can be difficult to express loving feelings when you haven’t cultivated loving kindness towards yourself. So few people grew up in an environment where they really felt cherished, seen and heard for who they were, not whom their parents wanted them to be. That makes it incredibly hard to have self-compassion, and especially challenging to give it out to others.
The exception is often with one’s own children. When you didn’t get what you wish you had gotten as a child, it can be the first thing you want to give your own children: a feeling of safety, security and respect.
If you find yourself emotionally constipated sometimes, in other words, holding back from saying something loving, kind, appreciative or complimentary, please, for your sake and the world’s, speak up! Every time you positively affirm someone else’s being, whether it’s as mundane as complimenting their choice of attire or as deep as the way they show up in the world, you’re changing their day and the day of everyone with whom they interact.
Everything good you think and feel deserves voicing. Empower yourself, empower others, and change the world with your words. Don’t deprive yourself of the joy you feel when you share your heartfelt appreciation of others. It’s a revolutionary act.
Copyright Nicole S. Urdang