While we like to teach children coping mechanisms by giving them a rhyme about sticks and stones, words have an amazing amount of power.  If you don’t believe me, just watch any self-help show or the latest episode of Biggest Loser.  Why would we need someone to confess to a crime or to admit that they are wrong if the words had no meaning, no effect, no power?  Words make manifest our thoughts and our feelings as well as masking them.  They can control, misdirect, mislead, be misconstrued, but they can also express the ineffable, the true, and in the end, express you.

Words can be wielded as weapons, can drop bombs, lay land mines, and cause all kinds of chaos and destruction, and I’m not talking about militaries battling it out for some piece of land.  I’m describing Thanksgiving dinner.  Skeletons in closets get outed, opinions get opined (directly or indirectly) and words get said that can’t be taken back.  But this is not “just the way things are” or how things have always been and always can be.  Words have power so choose them wisely.  Or choose not to say them at all.

This year, listen more than you speak and listen to what is said, what is not said, and try to hear what is meant underneath it.  Because those who don’t know the power of words are unable to speak the truth even to themselves.  Be the one that speaks the words of how things can be today and will be in the future.  Speak with clarity and truth and kindness both to yourself and others.  Choose to disallow abuse, to erect clear and positive boundaries, and to be respectful.   And when necessary, choose to remove yourself from a situation rather than say something that cannot be taken back.  Words have power.  Let yours be a power for joy and happiness.