It was a hot day, not unexpected considering it was Africa in May. Definitely hotter than the spring weather we had been enjoying at home, though for the kids there it was cool. It was always surprising to see them in their pants and sweaters or jackets as we were in our capris and sleeveless tops.
We sat on the big cement block, just the two of us. We spoke for a while as I opened my heart up to you, my new friend. We talked about everything, including how I didn’t like myself, something I’d never told anyone before but was comfortable enough telling you.
You had faith in me, that I could be beyond anything I could imagine. You could see in my things I did not. But now, fast forward eight years and I can see you were right.
There is no way I ever thought I’d come as far as I have, that I’d be as strong as I am, but somehow I made it. And that somehow is through people like you who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.
Throughout the years I’d had many words spoken over me, the majority of them negative. Told I wasn’t doing things right, it should be this way, I was wrong. I came to a point where I accepted them as who I was. I believed I needed to do things on my own, I didn’t need help or I was a failure. The negative far outweighed the positive.
But I no longer allow the negative to be spoken over me. I am working on taking away its voice in my life, robbing it if its power. I am turning instead to the positive and the acceptance people have of me for who I am, without any judgement of what they think I should be. I am stepping away, silencing the voice, taking away opportunities for the negativity to try and grab me once again.
What some people don’t realize is that words have power. Words can have a lot of power to set the course of a day, and over time, an outlook. Negative words spoken again and again will tear down, cause people to believe it must be who they are. But positive words can build up, encourage, make even the toughest day bright.
We have the power to turn someone’s day around, to help them begin believing in themselves again. And when people begin to truly believe in themselves it’s amazing what they can do. And I for one am excited to see what happens for I know I will be reaching for the stars, doing things I never dreamed of being able to do.
So as you go throughout your day, ask yourself what power your words have. You may think they don’t, but watch the cashier as she’s ringing through your groceries next time. Watch her going from a rough day to smiling with your compliment and smile. Watch your friends as they grow with your encouragement. They say every negative requires five positives to counteract their power and currently I believe negative comments far outweigh any positives in our society.
If you met me today instead of back then on the block, you would be surprised at where I once was. One who didn’t like themselves, who was so uncertain about themselves that they couldn’t even look at people they crossed on the sidewalk, who didn’t think they were capable of much.
So speak up, pay that person the compliment, chances are they haven’t been told enough even if you assume the hear it all the time. Tell her she looks great. Tell him you appreciate him. Thank the cashier for serving you. Tell your friends how much they mean to you. Be a conscious part of the building up with positive comments, fighting against the negative. You have the power within you.