@Ecotrain 's question for this week, not really a question but asking us to share, is
Life Lessons: Share a lesson you have learned in life
Find the details here
I learned early on in life to fight, to stand up for myself. I also learned about the power of words, how simple words can put you in a dark space, also how that dark space can be lifted by certain realizations plus finding strength that is within us (we all have this although some don't realize it.)
Image by Marek Studzinski from Pixabay
When I learned this lesson I was a young girl who was born with red hair into a family that had darker hair.
My older sister would tease me about my hair and say I was ugly. Being young and naive I believed her. That was until a hairdresser said I had a lovely color of hair. At home I looked in the mirror and saw that it was not red but a golden color with some red highlights.
I confronted my sister and told her I was not ugly and that my hair was not red it was golden!
This may seem like a trivial matter but the point I want to get across is the power of words. They can be used to hurt or they can be used to heal. They can be words of kindness or mean words like my sister spoke to me.
Often we don't even realize the impact our words have on us (self talk) and others.
I wrote a previous post about Dr. Caroline Leaf's, author of Switch on Your Brain, research on the power of words and thoughts in our daily lives. You can read it here
She found positive thoughts created new pathways and built your brain while negativity brings toxicity and the brain fails to grow these pathways.
I will repeat what I wrote in that earlier post for I feel it warrants repeating -
If you discover that you are having negative thought patterns Dr. Leaf set up 5 steps to break down toxic paths in the brain and these 5 steps you can use to build your brain too.
These five steps are:
- Gather. It's an investigative process.
- Deeply Reflect - go deep into trying to track trends, patterns. Embrace the physical and emotional indicators you may find.
- Genetically Process - Get your brain writing! Write it out, get it out and written down.
- Recheck. See what little task you can do for the day. Make it a tiny task, some activity you can do to make progress bit by bit.
- Active Reach. This works on the principal that what you don't think about doesn't grow. So if you are worrying about something put it aside for a number of hours then get back to it later. You will find after about 6 hours or whatever you felt comfortable with extending it to, after those hours pass it has lost some power. Heck! 95% of worries don't even materialize at all!
Given the choice it is better to offer kind words towards ourselves and others.
A reality is that there are some people who like to bully. A way to meet a bullying situation is to approach it with positive thinking and when you face these difficult situations it helps to build confidence.
If we’re self-focused, self-possessed and find it difficult to see beyond ourselves at those around us we will not see how our actions affect others.
But our actions do affect others, sometimes in large ways and sometimes in small ways that create a wave of actions. The Butterfly Effect in Chaos Theory states that on tiny event in one area of the globe can have a substantial effect somewhere else. The same is true with small acts of kindness.
Every time kindness is performed it creates a ripple effect. It spreads from person to person, continuing endlessly. You could say kindness is contagious, like a disease in which the outcome is beautiful.
So think about your words before you speak. If what you’re thinking isn’t kind, stop what you’re doing. Think about how to better phrase what you’re thinking or perhaps don’t say it at all.
It is important to be mindful of how you treat others. Be considerate of everyone.
“Use your voice for kindness, your ears for empathy, your hands for helping others, your mind for truth, and your heart for compassionate love.”
– David Scott
It's interesting the findings of Jamil Zaki, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University and Director of the Stanford Social Neuroscience Lab after he conducted a series of studies observing how witnessing kindness inspires kindness, saying it causes it to spread like a virus.
“We find that people imitate not only the particulars of positive actions, but also the spirit underlying them. This implies is that kindness itself is contagious, and that it can cascade across people, taking on new forms along the way.”
Kindness is a contagion. It ripples and grows, effecting the unsuspecting and the observing. One act of kindness can change thousands of lives. In the words of Maya Angelou,
“People will forget what you did, they will forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
Want to be apart of spreading that contagion of kindness?
Respond to Negativity with Kindness
Don’t mirror others negative actions and thoughts. Treat folks kindly.
Even if you are stressed there is no need to react negatively to others. Instead, act in a way that is kind and considerate of the feelings of all involved.
Remember kindness begins with yourself. Be kind to yourself when you take a misstep. Being angry and negative over a mistake you made can lead you to being angry and frustrated with others.
Begin with compassion, then with kindness. Recognize that we all have challenges before making a comment or making an assumption about another person or situation Follow up your compassion with an act of kindness.
Be of service to others. Do a kind act for someone close to you, an acquaintance or stranger or yourself often, even if it is a simple act of kindness like giving a stranger a smile.
Again choose to be kind even when others are not. Being kind is a choice you have every day!
Here's to spreading kindness and love!