The Power of Words
By Breezy Hamilton
Words do matter, a lot. Language shapes the way we think and how we perceive our world. This includes our mental, physical, and emotional states. While the mind can seem separate from the body, it is rather the complete opposite. I am no scientist, nor do I have concrete facts to prove this; however, based on my own life experiences, I can confidently say that how we think, what we hear and what we say can directly affect our mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing.
Words have an effect on the mental, physical, or emotional state of a human being whether they are aware of these effects or not. New words and phrases have become so commonplace that our everyday language may seem harmless at first. The phrases below are examples of words that are not meant to be harmful, but often come with some sort of negative connotation.
“You have no hamstrings!”
“Your lateral meniscus is torn.”
“You reacted too slowly to get to that ground ball.”
“The bar path looks like a rainbow.”
“You are the weakest swimmer on the team.”
“You core just isn’t strong enough.”
“You don’t have that mind-body connection.”
“You are decent.”
I have either said these things personally to members and/or I have heard them from coaches, friends, and doctors over the years. In absolutely no way are any of the phrases above meant to be malicious but, unfortunately, sometimes that is how the message is received. We are just ‘feeding’ information to those who need it in the best way we know how to. Luckily for us all, we can slow down and simply think before we speak. Rephrasing/rewording information can go a long way in delivering a positive message.
“The meniscus is fortunately one of the faster knee recoveries.”
“Stay in your legs, see the ball off the bat and react.”
“I will give you things to work on each day to gain that mind body awareness.”
“Let’s build your confidence in the water this year.”
“Getting better every day.”
“This back has carried me around the world.”
“Your core isn’t quite there yet, but it will be in time.”
“Trust the process.”
Life is too damn short to not slow down enough to focus. Be present in the moments of your life. We should not overwhelm ourselves with specifics, with what or who is right or wrong, but merely focus on the bigger picture. Slow down and embrace the little things in life, even something as simple and small as the way we speak to one another.
Humans are incredibly resilient and adaptable, but realize the power of your words. How we speak to one another is a conscious decision. Life can be so much more enjoyable if we all just take a second to think before we speak.
Coaches, friends, doctors, family members, and anyone else: if what you say, think, or hear contradicts these ideas then you should probably reassess what you are doing and where you are in your life. If you are on the receiving end of harmful words then you should speak up and let that person know how those words made you feel. It is not being overly sensitive, it is trying to better understand the meaning of another’s message. Just realize how far something as small as a smile can go, or how noticing someone’s new haircut can improve their day. Just imagine what healing words can do for someone!