One of the biggest lessons I was fortunate enough to learn over the last few years was not only how dangerous my own mouth could be, but also how dangerous it was for me to listen and engage in the negativity that other people had to offer. Learning how to control what came out of my own mouth, however, was perhaps one of the hardest lessons of my life to learn. Unbelievably hard. But worth it.
What I learned was much deeper than the fact that gossip was a bad thing. I learned that the heart and the tongue are not separate entities. They are not mutually exclusive. One functions because of the other and not independently of each other. The mouth, the wise sages say, expresses the contents of the heart. A mouth that spews venom can only be the outlet of a heart that produces it. When we truly examine our words, we learn that they, more than anything else, define us.
The tongue is unique in it’s nature. It is partly hidden and partly revealed. It is usually not seen, but it is heard. The tongue is actually designed to reflect its function, which is to reveal the hidden self–one’s thoughts, ideas and personality. The tongue takes these hidden elements from within the person and, through words, brings them into the open.
So began my quest to find and see the good in everything. The words we choose determine how we experience our lives. We’ve all heard the edict to guard your tongue from evil. King Solomon knew what he was talking about. He knew that seeing good and seeing the good in others and in life is the engine that drives a healthy and sound life. Actually, it is a very simple principle: if you remove negativity, gossip, slander, and divisiveness from your speech, you can automatically and dramatically improve your life and the lives of everyone around you. The instant a thought is released into the world, it sets out on a path for either destruction or construction. A few careless words, a derogatory word, which labels another person as slow, sloppy or spoiled, can make that perception true in the minds of all who hear it. Sticks and stones may bruise you, but words can hurt and hurt deeply, for a very long time. An encouraging word, however, can dispel despair in the most difficult of situations and even turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.
By taking hold of our power of speech, we take hold of life itself and we build real power. When we guard our speech and engage others in conversations that are positive and constructive we set the stage for and instill confidence in the fundamental goodness of the world and the people around us.
Guarding my speech is still not an easy thing to do, but the more I practice, the more I realize that this will ultimately create a sense of closeness and trust with my friends and neighbors and it will be tremendous vehicle for bringing blessing, health, happiness and peace into my life and into the world around me.
Reign from your head, live from your heart, and breathe from your soul.