The Power of Gentle Words

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He’s a whirlwind of creativity. I can tell when he gets that squinty, far-off look in his eyes that an idea is simmering and he must.act.NOW!

Out comes the paper… run run run… rummage, rummage for watercolors…run run run… “Mom, where are the brushy things?”

It’s like watching a tornado in fast-forward. He literally sweeps up everything in his path, spinning and swirling until he lands on the front porch to draw.

First with pencil outline, then colors follow. I notice he pays careful attention to the feathers, using only water to blend the wings into a soft gray hue.

I’m going to be an artist when I grow up. May as well hand him the diploma now. He’s nonchalantly pragmatic about his future career.

I don’t argue.

Until he’s done.

Then I’m in awe. Because this boy who wants to be an artist, I bend my knees and squish his soft cheeks in my hands. You”- I look straight into those intense sapphire eyes – ” you are an artist.”

The words we tell ourselves are powerful. We believe them as they echo about our minds and come out of our lips. We follow their lead and share them with those around us. Are they gentle words?

An hour later I’m in our bedroom folding a mountain of bed laundry near our other boy. Homework under his nose, he hunches over reading prompts and questions.

“I’m so stupid,” he muffles searing words under his breath and I find myself catching my own.

That familiar electric thread races through my body. I recognize self-loathing and negative talk. I lived in it for years. Shaming language dragged me into a dark vortex a handful of times.

Before bed, we grab a stool and plop him at eye level. We tell him what he says about himself is not true. How negative talk will only weight him down and slug him around, make him believe he is stupid and never enough. I tell him of the years I beat myself up for everything under the sun.

There’s no freedom in telling yourself lies because before long you’ll believe those words and live from that space and that is NOT who you are.

Instead we affirm with truth.

You are loved before your feet hit the floor.
You don’t have to do homework perfectly or know everything at the ripe age of 9. You will mess up and when you do, the greatest gift you can give yourself is gentleness of words. Be so very gentle with your inner thoughts. When mean words come to mind, we’re praying you can fling them to the side and in their place say, “Ha. Made a mistake there. Oh well. I’m learning. I’m smart. I’m kind. I’m funny.”

Be gentle with your words and gift yourself with grace.

Talk about preaching to the choir.

Oh the power of gentle words. We desperately need gentle self talky words.

Dear one, let’s believe the best about ourselves. There’s no room for self-deprecation. We are exquisitely human. Let’s go and live from those truths.

You are a delight.
You are smart.
Your are kind.
You are funny.
You are no doubt bringing a facet of the Divine in a way that no other person does to this grace-needed world.

You don’t have to want to be something one day. You already are.



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