When it comes to living an altruistic lifestyle, a lot can be said for what we say. As author Yehuda Berg states, “Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity… Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.” The words we choose and how we use them can build others up or tear them down; bring the community together or rip it apart.
Our words are powerful, and should be treated with respect. So how do our words impact others, and how can we choose them wisely? Today, we’re going to find out.
Your words have meaning.
The greatest mistake we can make is believing our words have no value in other people’s lives. Have you ever had a conversation with someone and, for whatever reason, can still remember it practically verbatim years down the road? Now consider a similar conversation in someone else’s life: your words could be the ones they have in their head.
The words we choose mean something. Whether that meaning is positive or negative is up to you. If you want to live altruistically and make an impact in the world, try starting with the daily words you choose. How do you talk to others, to yourself, to your superiors, to your inferiors? When we recognize the value our words have, we take the first step in bettering our community.
Your words are remembered.
If words have meaning, then they are definitely remembered. Consider the child in class whose teacher tells him he’s never going to be as good of a student as his older sister. This comment, which could mean nothing to the teacher, will always be remembered by the child.
In contrast, think of the child whose teacher tells him how much she believes in him. Even a simple comment can forever make an impact—either uplifting or defeating. To live an altruistic life is to recognize our words aren’t just for today; they’re for every day after today. What you say now could be remembered for years to come, so choose carefully.
Your words make a difference.
Words. Are. Powerful. Think of powerful words throughout history which have had a lasting difference in our world. “Four score and seven years ago.” “I have a dream.” “Tear down this wall.” Our words, when chosen correctly, can make a positive contribution in our own lives and the lives of those around us.
Words filter through us and seep into our community, where they are absorbed then reasserted by others to people they know. When we recognize the power our words have, we see the impact they can have and we choose them based on what kind of difference we want to make.
Speak with mindfulness.
So how can we choose our words wisely? By being mindful of those we use and the effect they have. Mindfulness is more than just thinking before speaking. It’s recognizing the people around us and promoting a more compassionate society through our language choice.
Rather than speaking out emotionally and uncontrollably on any issue, mindfulness means giving careful consideration and thought to how your words could impact others. It means recognizing poor language choice and readjusting to live a more loving life.
To live altruistically means to first speak altruistically. The words you choose in your life have meaning; they are remembered; they make a difference. When we recognize the power our words have, we can harness that power to be a force for good in the community around us.
When we speak with mindfulness, we create a more positive and altruistic world. So go ahead, get out there, and choose wisely.