SPEAK: Give By the Spirit – Give a Good Word

SPEAK! … By the Spirit™ with Erica A. Hawthorne

Give a Good Word

© 2011 Erica A. Hawthorne

August 26, 2011

Realizing the effects of our language allows us to become aware of the ways in which we can more effectively encourage and persuade others.  People feel motivated when we give them words of encouragement in a way that works for them and our eagerness inspires them to listen fully to our ideas, which is what leadership is truly about.

There a lot of things you can say in times of crisis or suffering.   Funny thing is, many people don’t quite know what to say in the midst of a friend’s crisis or personal dilemma.   Want to add an even trickier task?   Try finding something to say to a friend who seems to have the same issue or crisis every month and doesn’t seem to get “it” whatever “it” is.

I’ve always been acutely aware that words have power.  Said often enough and with enough passion they influence thought and those thoughts resonate with our feelings and those feelings vibrate out into the world bouncing off of our circumstances, situations and daily encounters.   So what we say is valuable…especially when the words we say are in the midst of crisis, depression, sadness or disagreement.  The intention should always hold the same.

May I do the greatest good with my words.

I have never been good with giving someone  a “piece of my mind”.   Not only does that sound terribly wasteful…you know to just hand over your peace of mind in order to make a point (that may or may not be understood), but it always seems a bit off-purpose.   If my ultimate goal is for something positive or good to come from what I say, then shouldn’t the way and intention in which I say it also be with mindfulness towards goodness?

Don’t get me wrong.  When I’m mad I am spitting-nails-mad.  And usually in those cases my words are limited because Lord knows what may come out will be far from good…truthfully it may even feel good in the moment to say those things, to “get it off your chest” so to speak.  But then what?  We don’t speak just to be heard.  Hopefully we speak to share in understanding which includes compassionate listening and the ability to release the need to be right. 

I’ve recently had quite a few conversations and situations where the words spoke were a bit rough.  They did not have within them a spirit of kindness or love…and mind you “well-meaning” is not the same as intentional kindness and love.   That takes mindfulness.  It also may mean we don’t say as much as we thought we would.

But when we do speak, especially during sensitive times.  Speak goodness into the moment.  Sometimes when someone is in pain or hurting, or even saying unkind things about themselves, the most loving thing we can do is to hold the center.  Many times our words of encouragement or understanding is the only thing helping to ground them in the moment.  Sometimes your words are the ringing bells that resonate in their daily thoughts, vibrate their spirit and send them back into the world hopeful.

And when we find that we must give a word, that is helpful, but tough because it also has a bit of constructive criticism in it…then my practice is to put it in a “sandwich”: compliment – constructive criticism – compliment.  I’m not asking you to “sugar-coat” anything or to be less than honest.  But the sandwich approach helps the speaker speak from a place of compassion and care so that the listener does not feel judged, or feel as though their feelings are disregarded.

A word spoken about good things, encourages good things, especially when the words come from a good place.


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2 Responses

  1. If only more people realized that constructive criticism helps us learn much quicker then criticism itself. Thank you for the great reminder to be good to others. This simple and lovely gesture is often times overlooked.

    • Yes I agree Grace…and not that you’d have to be less authentic by sharing good news…it’s about also knowing what will most uplift and inspire another…especially in the face of challenge.

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