“Sticks and Stones May Break my Bones, but Words Will Never Hurt Me.”

How often have you heard or said that age-old nursery rhyme about words — to yourself or someone you care about? Probably more times than you can remember. And while it has good intentions, the reality is it couldn’t be further from the truth…

Words have tremendous power. They can hurt, and they can heal. They can tear down someone’s world or build it up.

Thanks in part to broadened lines of communication (like social media and text messaging), people are more likely than ever to rip each other apart with hurtful words (as they hide behind the veil of technology.)

If that wasn’t bad enough, we are the masters of getting in our own way. Yes, it may seem like the world is out to get us, but we’ve got enough going on under the hood to take ourselves out of the game with self-sabotaging negative thoughts (i.e., inner dialogue) and harsh speech toward others.

In his seminal book The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz urges readers to be impeccable with your word:

  • Speak with integrity.
  • Say only what you mean.
  • Avoid using words to speak against yourself or to gossip about others.
  • Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Your words have the power to both create and destroy.

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