In the creation story in Genesis 1, God created the heavens and the earth by speaking.
There is a beautiful rhythm to the creation story. On each day God creates something new. Each new act of creation is preceded by the phrase “And God said…”
And God said, “Let there be light.”
And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.”
And so on.
In the Judeo-Christian tradition, God brought about the most powerful act, the creation of the world, by speaking.
There is something incredibly powerful about the spoken word. Words have great power. Words can encourage and inspire us to do great things. Words can also tear down, dehumanize, and bring us to our lowest common denominator.
Martin Luther King Jr. used words to fight racism and support equal rights for African Americans in the United States. Adolph Hitler also used words to convince the German nation that Jewish people were a dangerous threat, eventually resulting in the murder of 11 million people.
Perhaps the most important words are the words we tell ourselves. Our self-talk can encourage us to reach our goals and be our best self. Self-efficacy is one of the strongest predictors of success in various life domains. But we can also use our self-talk to tear ourselves down, leading us to feel depressed, anxious, and ashamed.
In his book, ‘The Four Agreements,’ don Miguel Ruiz talks about the importance of letting our word be impeccable. The origin of the word impeccable is ‘without sin.’ When speaking to others, do you use your word to gossip and tear others down, or do you use your word to encourage and build others up? When speaking to yourself, do you judge yourself harshly, or is your self-talk aligned with the principles of truth and love?
Our words not only reflect the world we live in, but they create the world we live in. Make sure your words are creating the world you really want for yourself and others.
Action Step: For one day, keep track of all the words you say, both to others and to yourself. How many of your words are negative toward others and yourself? How many are positive? When you catch yourself speaking negative words, try to redirect yourself to speak words aligned with the principles of truth and love.