Words have power. They make us feel and think and move and act. They can make us laugh and make us cry. The can motivate us or they can crush us. They can take us to distant lands and lead us through emotional times. They have the potential to be many things and we should think hard about the words we use every day because they matter; to ourselves and to others.
How we talk to the world is usually how we think about the world and the things we say to other’s are usually the things we say to ourselves. And while there are many things we say to ourselves and others that have the power to cut deeply, I wanted to take the time to remind us all about the things we can say that can heal nearly all of those wounds that we occasionally create.
These are the things that we should say, not only to those people we love and care about but also to ourselves.
I am sorry.
What phrase more humbling? What liquid words more apt to extinguish the consuming flames of anger? If I were anything in this world I would be a sorry. If for no other reason than to be the soothing balm that heals the wounds that words and actions so often cause. So few sorries in this world and so many to-blames. There is no shame in being sorry – in admitting your guilt and taking responsibility for the pain you have caused someone else. There is only bold courage in facing your faults and in reaching out to truly make heartfelt amends to someone you have wronged. Learning from that action and resolving to never hurt someone like that again is your reward for a meaningful, I’m sorry.
I forgive you.
In these words is an implicit vow. You are saying: I will not carry with me the injuries you have caused. I refuse to hold onto the hot coals of the hurt or anger or betrayal you have thrown at me and I will not burn myself further, waiting for a chance to throw them back at you. I release myself by forgiving you.
No words more prone to settle a creeping, crawling animosity and resentment than those uttered in forgiving. Forgiveness is a strength disguised as weakness in an utterly unforgiving world. But know that we lose nothing by forgiving. It is not giving in. It is not accepting a wrong. It is merely having the wisdom to see that mistakes have been made and forgiving is the best way to release ourselves from the weight of those pasts.
You are beautiful.
Every single person in this world can have ownership of these three words. And why? Because everyone truly is beautiful. Not because they embody some mutating standard of what is temporarily attractive in this world, but because everyone is unique and original and they are the only one of them there is. There is an undeniable attraction we feel towards exclusivity and everyone you see is a rare, original work of art. Spread the word. Tell everyone you meet. You can see their beauty and you would like to know more about how it came to be.
I miss you.
In French, they do not say I miss you. They say, “tu me manques”, which means, “You are missing from me.” And I think that is closer to the truth of the feeling of longing. If only I could say more often when I feel that someone is missing from me. If only I had the strength to admit that I feel just a bit more empty when the people I love and desire to be with are parted from my side.
But if for longing’s sake I can not put into words how much I miss you, I can at least spread my arms as wide as they go and say I miss you this much. Because everyone knows that is the universal sign for I miss you to infinity. And that is how much I miss you when we are apart.
I love you.
These are words so powerful and expansive that they say all the other things above. They bundle up the sorries and forgivings, beauties and loss, and they create a whole, entire, wonderful world in which to live. We should not dive lightly into these vulnerable and beautiful words, but when they are right to say, we must say them bold and say them often, with all the passion and honesty we can muster.
To a child, to a sibling, to a parent, to a friend; to a lover, to a stranger, to ourselves and back again. The more you say I love, from the depths of your heart to the expanse of people who mean that to you, the more you will realize that words can change your world.
But words are not enough…
Though words are powerful, it is action that does the carving of these words into the rock of our souls. It is action that proves you mean the words you say. It is action that matters most of all. The words are just a reminder. A promise to follow-up. Use them as bookmarks to remember how you feel and how you think but when the chance comes show these words to the people you love, and to yourself. It will make all the difference in how you see the world and ho the world sees you.