It is truly amazing what a kind word can do for someone who is having a rough time. We never know what people are going through, what burdens they are facing, what issues may lie beyond the surface of what the rest of us see.
There is a TobyMac song, called ‘Speak Life’ that has lyrics that sums up what our words can do for one another:
Lift your head a little higher
Spread the love like fire
Hope will fall like rain
When you speak life with the words you say
Raise your thoughts a little higher
Use your words to inspire
Joy will fall like rain when you speak life with the things you say
So speak life, speak life
To the deadest darkest night
Speak life, speak life
When the sun won’t shine and you don’t know why
Look into the eyes of the broken hearted
Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope
You speak love,
You speak life.
This song specifically resonates so much with me. Just a few short years ago, I was living a pretty bleak life. I had very little self esteem, no self confidence, and little hope for my future. I was incredibly afraid of people, for I felt that I had nothing to offer. I was afraid to open my mouth in a group of people, for I had come to believe that my thoughts and opinions had little worth. That I personally had little worth to anyone.
And then, all of that began to change. I met someone who saw something greater in me than I could see in myself. This man was to quickly become my best friend, and to be the catalyst to my new life. My new friend, Rico Goncalves, introduced me to a crazy group of people who believe in lifting each other up, Instead of dragging each other down. I began to work on my self esteem. I began to not only listen, but to believe the kind words that people were saying to me. I was able to borrow the belief that my new friends and my mentors had in me, until I began to develop my own belief in myself.
And it all started with just a few kind words. Shortly after Rico and I met, we had gone to my first leadership convention. At that time, I didn’t truly understand what Life Leadership was about, but I did feel the excitement, and the light of hope began to dwell in me.
At that convention, I was introduced to one of our founders, Claude Hamilton. At the time, all i really understood was that he was a millionaire, and was one of the speakers for the weekend. When we were introduced, Claude gave me a hug (we are quite a hugging bunch!), and told me that I had a beautiful smile. And that was where my change began. For in my mind, this was the first person who had ever paid me a compliment without an ulterior motive. Here was a man who could want nothing from me, for I had nothing to offer, so he must have honestly meant it. It’s almost embarrassing to admit, but that compliment carried me through many tough moments. It truly was the beginning of my new journey. He truly did ‘speak life’ into my darkness. And that is a lesson that I will always remember.
I don’t tell this story for sympathy. For I am no longer that broken girl. I tell you this to emphasize that everyone is going through something. Everyone can use a kind word. Everyone can always use encouragement. Kindness. Love. Through our words and actions, we can change someone’s life. And through that change, they, too, can then go out and spread love and kindness.
There is a saying ‘be the change you wish to see in the world’. Let it start with us. Let it start with a smile for the woman in the grocery store. Let it start with a ‘good morning’ to the janitor you see at work every morning. Let it start with spreading hope into the lives of others. We never know what a kind word can do for someone. I do know, however, what it did for me. And because of that, my goal is to shine light into as many people’s lives as possible. To be the change that I want to see in the world.
I urge you to join me. And to ‘Speak Life!!’