Loving words heal. Critical and angry words hurt. We need to hear loving words from friends and loved ones. Loving words from others help us know we are valued and deepen our relationships. Usually we are quick to share criticisms; to say words that hurt. Silence can also hurt. For example: “She knows how I feel without my having to say it.” Does she? We don’t know another person’s thoughts unless they are expressed verbally. Most of us crave more love and acceptance than we receive.
A study was done years ago to discover how tone of voice affected men in the Navy being given orders. The results showed that the way a sailor was addressed largely determined the kind of response he gave. When a sailor was given an order in a soft voice he responded in a soft voice. When he was shouted at his answer was also sharp. What we say and the way we say it affects the response we get and leads to either conflict or peace. The words that we say can give a mixed message due to our tone of voice. Sarcasm may seem funny but it isn’t loving.
Why do we withhold our thoughts of love from each other when these can heal past hurts and deepen a relationship? The reason lies in our own past. No one said these words to us so we feel strange, awkward and vulnerable when we say them. But the risk is worth it and will bring many rewards. Comment on positive traits such as kindness, generosity or thoughtfulness in addition to commenting on things loved ones accomplish or on their appearance. Affirmations heal our mind, body and soul.
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1