tooling around: words


Funny things, words. I mean, what are they? A few or more letters flowing together across a page. Sounds spilling from lips and floating through the air.

For all their weightlessness, words can feel awfully heavy.

Every word has the capacity to leave its indelible mark on someone’s heart. Say something kind and watch someone’s entire countenance change. Read the comments from any given Scoutie Girl post and you can witness amazing growth wrapped up in a few short lines. And, sadly, I think we’ve all had that instant where one harsh word undid the work of a thousand sweet syllables.

The internet is especially dangerous where that last scenario is concerned. Too often we forget there are actual people behind those handmade products, blog posts, photos, and, yes, even less-than-complimentary feedback.

As crafters, we use our tools to create, and the things we craft with our words can be uplifting or they can be very, very heavy.

The adage bears repeating: words can hurt.

They can even scar. A mean-spirited comment from a stranger can cut; from a loved one, it can crush; but coming from oneself, harsh words can be a slow poison. I am guilty of condemning my dreams to creeping death – I suspect most artists are.

Original art by Valentina Ramos. Click on the image for more details.

Right now something particularly big is looming on the horizon so I punish myself even more than usual.  All I can think about are past put downs, failures, and shortcomings, real or imagined.  And no one can find the words to make me feel better. Maybe not any one, but many…so, a few years ago, I gathered the words of many and put them where I could always find them.

A personal blog post. Click on the image for more information

I made a list of wonderful things people had said to me and I posted them to my personal blog. (If you decide to click on the image and follow the link be warned: my personal blog has had its ups and downs.) Now I have more than a dozen kind thoughts to combat each negative one. It is pretty potent stuff because it is so very personal, but I also keep a running tab of inspiration on Pinterest.

from via Pinterest. Click image fordetails.

Now I have a huge database of words at my disposal to help me prepare for many ventures in business and in life. I’ll be honest, though – I’m not sure how much good it will do me for that next big thing in my life.

Recently I got a call from overseas, “Baby, I’m coming home.” And for that, there are no words.

3 thoughts on “tooling around: words

  1. Hey Janice,

    Thanks for posting this.

    “It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.”

    I think that’s going to become my new mantra.

    Words are incredibly powerful and our minds seem to have an endless capacity to hold on to the negative ones.

    Far better to let those fall to the wayside and get on with the business of being, frankly, extraordinary.

    For every negative word, we need to remember to flip it, rephrase it, and submit to the edited version to our brain’s backlog.

    I once asked all my closest friends what three words they’d use to describe me. I was so moved by the response, I scribbled them all down onto a post-it and stashed it in my wallet for whenever I needed an extra boost.

    Seems we need to be more mindful about committing the good stuff to memory.

    Nikki ~

  2. Beautiful piece Janice, always a good reminder about the power of words. More times than not it’s the negative ones that do stick with us, so my question for all of us: why is it sometimes so hard to let all the good ones keep floating to the surface? And yay on your next big thing! -Liz

  3. Liz and Nikki, thank you so much for your affirmations. I spent some more time thinking about why it is so easy to hang on to the words that weigh us down and I have a theory.

    We all want to better ourselves – we’re told to reach for the stars, select role models, improve improve improve. But nobody ever reminds us that we each have amazing qualities that make others want to be more like us. We are also role models.

    Maybe we need to periodically stop saying “I should be (working harder, doing more, being better at)” and instead say, “I kicked butt at (work, cleaning house, writing, etc.) today!”

    What do you think?

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