Recently I was excited to go have a spa treatment and receive a pedicure. I had never visited this lady before and hoped I would be feeling terrific after some foot pampering.
The visit didn’t go so well. After telling me how young I looked (that was a bonus!), she proceed to find a number of challenges with my feet. I won’t bore you with the details. It went downhill from there… she started to massage my feet and informed me she was practicing reflexology… something I had not asked for… (and suspected she was not licensed for), and then shared with me the various parts of my body that were toxic… it was quite the list.
I was then informed that I would likely feel ill after this “treatment” because of the flushing of the toxins, and I was dismayed… I had dressed up, looking forward to going out, and hoping to feel like a million bucks.
Instead I left, feeling more like two cents worth….
I had to process that. And tell myself some truth. And I did not get sick.
As well-intentioned as she might have been, her “words” were devastating to me.
I was reminded again, (and this was a very good lesson for me) how the words we speak are powerful and can impact others.
I recall in recent months someone coming up to me and telling me how tired I looked.
Immediately, I felt tired. And started to evaluate how I really felt….
On a brighter note, there are so many who are encouragers. I received a beautiful note today, thanking me for something I had done. I was touched by the fact they would take time to write me, a relative stranger, and bless me with their words.
The words “I love you” or “I appreciate you” are precious words, and when I hear them my heart is blessed! And I hope I bless others with encouraging words that bring life and lift the spirit.
I think about this, as I visit many who are sick and discouraged. My words can be powerful, for good or bad. When one is sick or depressed, it is challenging to look one’s best.
But one can always find truthful positive things to say… like admiring one’s smile, or cheerful attitude, or something about the room that is cheery.
Our whole physical demeanor can change when we are fed positive information. It can feed those positive hormones like serotonin that help us to be calm and peaceful.
As I thought about this further, I was reminded about the awkwardness of words after a bereavement. I have experienced this first hand, and have talked to many people who have experienced awkward conversation or even worse… no conversation at all. “I know exactly how you feel” is one response that is NOT helpful to one who is in great pain or grief. “They are in a better place”, while it may be true, is very painful to hear.
Others don’t know what to say, and avoid the griever all together. As one who has heard these painful stories, I want to encourage people to not be afraid to have those conversations. One can always be honest and say “I don’t understand your pain, but I want you to know I care.”
Words do matter. The old saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” is a lie. We all have a choice of how we receive what we are told – acknowledging that there might be very good intentions, and to receive words with grace. I was reminded that I often have to sift through what I am hearing, and ask, is this true? Do I receive it?
So a challenging experience for me really turned out to be a good thing. I’m taking better care of my feet, for one! 🙂
I am also reminded to use the filter of love when I speak. Is it thoughtful? Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Will it lift up or bring down?
I like that thought. To live life through a filter of love. Good words…