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  • Writer's pictureJohn Whitehead

The Power of Words

Updated: May 22, 2023

At sixty-three, I am patently aware I am not as young as I used to be. The mirror reminds me of this each day and no matter how hard I may try to live an active and healthy life; I know I am older than I once was and getting older each day.

The interesting part about aging is it has also allowed me to become more self-aware which helps me to be self-assured.

In other words, I know who I am and why I am the way I am.

Even as I say this, I am reminded of people who recently communicated my age was creating an inability for younger people to identify with me.

This comment has left its mark on me and caused some consternation as I have tried to understand how that can be. When I had a visit from my son recently, he gave me the impression through some of his comments, he sees me as old and out of touch too.

I began to ponder this further.

You see, I think both people may have had well intentioned thoughts when they said what they said, but I do not believe they ever realized the impact their words would have on me.

This is the “power of words”. In many cases, it can be dramatic as our words can both encourage and discourage those we speak to.

The thoughtlessness I felt was shown to me, even if unintended, created a window I had to open, even if I was unprepared to do so. If they are right, and I am old and out of touch, I want to know it and I want to use their words as an opportunity to learn.

As I do, I am learning I need to be sure I think before I speak, and should I choose to speak, I want to be able to receive what I am about to say in the way it is intended.

My hope is this will help me become a more thoughtful and considerate person going forward.

This is how I have learned most of my life. I have observed and listened to those around me. As I have done so, I have tried to emulate the positive things I have been exposed to while using the negatives as a springboard for becoming a better person myself.

Has it always worked? Perhaps not, but it has allowed me to understand when I have been hurtful and when I have been helpful.

I have applied this lesson to my life for many years now, and when given the opportunity, I have shared this truth with those I encounter.

This is the best part of aging, being able and willing to learn.

I wish I had discovered this secret earlier in life, but the beauty is, it is never too late.

So, before I comment on someone’s age, be it young or old, I will ask myself whether this will be constructive or beneficial? If I deem it will not, I will not say what I intended to say.

My hope in writing this is that someone may be able to identify with what I am saying and consider “the power of words” before they speak, regardless of age, theirs, or mine!

Proverbs 12:18,” The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing”.

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