Words are powerful.
If the phrase “positive affirmation” brings to mind a yoga mat and green juice, try diving a little deeper.
Speaking positively over yourself and your life may be practiced heavily by a certain subculture, but it wasn’t invented by yogis, nor does it derive its power from practicing a lifestyle of asceticism or even meditation.
In fact, the bible says:
What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words.*
Words have the power to change things, more than physical force or external circumstances.
Let’s not forget that words actually release sound waves, which are able to manipulate matter. What you say—what you speak about yourself, and about others, has an actual impact on your brain and body. If you joke about being unattractive, or less-than-competent at your job, or given to “bad luck,” you’re going to continue to see the fulfillment of what you say. As you listen to what you say, you absorb it as truth, feed a negative outlook, and believe that things will never change, are only getting worse.
Speaking badly about others- even if it’s true- can have an equally negative impact. If you ever want to reconcile with a friend or heal a relationship, try taking a break from gossiping or complaining about him/her. You might find your perspective totally transformed, and your feelings towards that person change—even if he or she has hurt or betrayed you.
When you name-call, complain, speak bitterly, or even joke (with a seed of truth), you rewire yourself- and those around you- to believe the worst. And the result of genuine belief is always concrete.
Meaning that sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can destroy your spirit.
Take it from a girl who struggled for a decade + with negativity. I used to put myself down, complain about my circumstances, and forecast the worst-case scenario. Deep down, I’ve always been an optimist. But afraid to say it out loud, I chose coping mechanisms: gloomy prophecies that couldn’t disappoint me.
Prophecies don’t need to be generated by God to come alive. Like the scripture says above, we have the power to preserve life or destroy it.
I held onto my ugly habit of negative speech until my mom (and Jesus) set me straight- about a million times. Ultimately, I began to feel a twinge of regret every time I said something that expressed a lack of hope or joy. Instead, I began to speak words that expressed faith in myself, in my future, and in my current circumstances.
And let me tell you, the fruit of speech that expresses joy and gratitude is joy and gratitude.
If you’re not sure where to begin in learning how to speak positively, “words that bring life” can look (or rather, sound) like a number of things.
Try telling yourself:
My future looks bright.
I’m skilled and gifted, and have something to offer the world.
Or try saying to the people around you:
You’re amazing at what you do.
You have a beautiful smile.
I believe in you.
If these little phrases sound cheesy, that’s because we live in a culture that has made unabashed positivity laughable.
If others are afraid to say things that seem like they hope or dream or believe the best, they’ve been hurt by disappointment.
Don’t set yourself up for disappointment.
Set yourself up for a life that’s embarrassingly joy-filled, thriving, and physically and spiritually prosperous.
And speak life.