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  • Melinda K. Bowens

Keeping It Simple: Words

Happy Monday (or whatever day you’re reading this post)! I hope you’re ready for day eight of Keeping It Simple! Shall we begin?!

Do you all remember the adage “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?” You do? Great! If you don’t, you’re not missing anything. This is something teachers, parents, and generally well-meaning people used to tell us. Typically, this phrase was followed directly behind someone using words that did indeed hurt us. So, while the notion may have sounded cute, it clearly did not age well. And just so we’re clear, it didn’t age well, because it is 100 percent false.

Words have exponential power, in both directions. Spoken (or typed because texting is a thing) words can be the lift we needed to get over a hump in life. But words can also be used to pull us down to our lowest point. It all depends. None of this is probably a giant revelation to you…maybe a reminder…but not breaking news. However, I wanted to make sure we were all on the same foot moving forward.


Now we could go several directions with how to use words appropriately and all that jazz, but I’m not your mom. I’m your neighborhood-friendly therapist with faith, a blog and a pretty determined focus. My focus is seeing people whole because it’s really hard to live a full life when we feel like a partial person. I also believe nothing comes out of us that isn’t already in us. Good, bad or indifferent, it was inside of us. With that being said, I want us to shift the focus to our private words and not our public ones. Why? Good question.

Some of us have nearly mastered the art of saying all the right things when we’re with other people. We say just enough to appear engaged and pleasant. How-and-thee-ever, sometimes our conversations to ourselves aren’t as polished. And what we say when (we think) no one is listening weighs greatly into everything. More specifically, what we say to and about ourselves influences every interaction we have in life. So, what are we telling ourselves?! Are we using the same language on us that we would use for a friend?! If we wouldn’t dare use these words on others, why use them on ourselves?


Just so we know, we cannot privately down ourselves and expect to be publicly at peace. That’s not how this works. We must use the words we want to live…both publicly and privately.

I firmly believe in using gentle words with ourselves, but this is not an opting out of accountability. This is more of an invitation to bring our private words in line with the life we desire to live. So, if we state that we are followers of Christ, committed to living in purpose, and open to what He says, then what we say to ourselves needs to match.

Speak well of yourself…and do it often. Private words form our public life.


Let’s do the work! Keep it prayerful!

1. What are three things you say to yourself that don’t match the life you desire to have?

2. Write three affirmations that confirm the life you desire.

3. Post these affirmations in a place you can see them daily.

Helpful verses:

Kind words bring life, but cruel words crush your spirit.

Proverbs 15:4 GNT

What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words.

Proverbs 18:21 GNT

In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.

James 3:5 NLT

Words of thanksgiving and cursing pour out from the same mouth. My friends, this should not happen!

James 3:10 GNT

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