There is power in words.
They have the power to harm or heal. They can incite an uprising or inspire a revolution. The right word at the right time can change the tone of your whole day or alter the trajectory of your life.
I grew up surrounded by books. My parents were very literate. Scrabble was a favourite family board game, and dinner conversation often centred on the correct spelling, usage and origin of particular words. My dad kept his university dictionary by the kitchen table under the fish tank.
I learned to read with the Dr. Seuss books my parents ordered by mail. As a preschooler, I would eagerly await the next monthly delivery much like online consumers today await their smiling Amazon packages.
Later my parents would subscribe to numerous magazines to satisfy our growing minds. I had already finished reading every volume of our World Book Encyclopedia many times over. The McGill branch of the Burnaby Public Library was our second home. My mom and I would reach our borrowing limits of 20 books each week.
The books I read were transformative. They opened my mind to whole new worlds of knowledge barely touched in my classes at school. I learned about the beliefs and lived experiences of people around the world and throughout history.
I was moved by the poetic mastery of great authors including Dickens, Shakespeare and Hemingway. In creative and original ways, they used words to portray the human experience. As a teenager, I was uplifted and inspired by the classic self-help books of Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Maxwell Maltz and Wayne Dyer. Appreciating how I had been enriched and helped by these books, I imagined how wonderful it would be to inspire and help others through my own words.
We each wield potential power with the words we use. The words of our thoughts are our self-talk. They shade how we see reality – our circumstances, our lives and our relationships. They can limit or enhance how we conceive our selves and one another.
Your first thoughts in the morning can shape your mood throughout the day. So choose them carefully, and as each day unfolds, consider the impact of your words on others.
Here are some ideas to get us started each morning for the next few weeks:
Today, what can I do to make someone smile?
Finally I will express gratitude to an unsung hero in my life.
I’ll tell others how they make a difference to the world . . . and to me.
I’ll say to someone, “I’ve always admired this quality in you . . . .”
How can I make someone else’s day?
I belong here; I am a part of a greater whole.
Being young means a future of surprises, wonder and potential. Being older means having enjoyed the gift of many decades of adventure, learning and love.
Today, I will take one more step in the direction of my dreams.
I am an agent of positive change . . . in my life . . . and in my world.
Words have the power to heal or harm. What will I say today to heal another’s pain, support our relationship and lift our hearts?
I’ll be returning to the McGill branch of the Burnaby Public Library on Saturday, February 10th, 2018 at 3:30 pm to give a free talk as part of the Burnaby Division of Family Practice’s Empowering Patients public health education program. The title of my talk is “Healthcare is Self-Care: Achieving Your Positive Potential for Health.” I’ll talk about preventive and proactive care, the keys to a healthy lifestyle, screening tests and tips for making positive changes in your life. You can register online or at any BPL information desk. For more details, call (604) 299-8955 or online https://www.bpl.bc.ca/events/mcgill?page=2