“Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” – Rumi
Many of us have heard that childhood saying: “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” As we grow up, we come to realise that bones eventually heal themselves, but the psychological impact of the negative words said to us at home or school can remain with us well into adult life. Words have power and can literally shape our lives. We can associate positive and negative feelings, memories and behaviours with our words.
“Words have energy and power!” – Yehuda Berg
The words communicated to a young child can form parts of their subconscious mind. Children are like sponges absorbing information from around them and creating an early belief system resulting in thoughts, feelings and how they identify themselves in this world.
Here are four simple ways 🍁 we can use the power of our words to help kids develop into self-assured, mindful and well-rounded individuals.
🍁 An Attitude of Gratitude
When a child consistently focuses on and expresses what they are grateful for, it can be one of the most simplistic ways to improve their outlook on life. Feeling and expressing gratitude for things in a child’s life poses many emotional, mental and physical benefits, particularly as it can develop a sense of empathy for those less fortunate and improve self-esteem.
Through the power of your spoken words, tell your child what gratitude means to you. Are you grateful to have a roof over your head and a bed to sleep in? Perhaps you’re thankful to have nourishing food to eat at mealtimes. Then ask your child what they are grateful to have in their lives. You could extend this by getting your child to create gratitude lists, journaling or closing their eyes and visualising what they’re grateful for. Either way, by vocalising what a child is grateful for they tend to find more and more things to feel appreciative of and are likely to start viewing their life circumstances with increased optimism.
🍁 Mirror Work
Affirmations are the words we speak out loud, our self-talk and the unconscious thoughts within our minds. When we teach a child to look at him/herself in the mirror and declare positive affirmations or statements in the present tense, it can “plant healing thoughts and ideas developing self-confidence, self-esteem, creating a peace of mind and inner joy.” (Louise Hay)
When a child looks in the mirror, it can be incredibly healing to look into their own eyes and see their true reflection in front of them. The mirror does not lie, so if a child is smiling but really feels sad, by looking into their own eyes, it can send messages to the brain to tap into their thoughts and true feelings; learn to see things more clearly and gradually overcome their difficulties.
If a child repeatedly affirms to themselves in front of the mirror once or twice a day: “I CAN do this”, “I have AMAZING talents”, “I LOVE myself” and/or something similar, it can help create new ways of seeing themselves. These messages will gradually be embedded into their subconscious mind to form new positive beliefs, which may be reflected back to the child in their every day life experiences.
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” – Mother Teresa
🍁 Emotional Regulation
Emotions have an impact on a person’s behaviour, the words they use and how they experience life’s ups and downs. When a child bottles up their feelings and cannot find a way to express their feelings, it can have a detrimental effect on their emotional and mental wellbeing.
Everyone encounters different feelings based on their moods, situations, thoughts, bodily sensations and relationships, which can determine their emotional state. Encourage your child to be present and to allow their emotions to naturally arise. By using the power of their words they can to talk about their feelings without judging them, and find a suitable way to regulate their emotions, which can make all of the difference to the wellbeing.
Two great emotional regulation tools I love to use to empower children to use their voice and actions to understand their emotions, are Dr Susan David’s ‘Emotional Agility’ and Leah Kuypers’ ‘Zones of Regulation’. Click on the program names for more information.
“Our emotional selves are children. And they never grow up. We just learn how to parent our emotional selves better.” Teal Scott
Chanting is the ancient practice of saying mantras or sounds rhythmically and repeatedly, to achieve inner peace. Today, chanting continues to be used with children to help calm emotions; enhance motivation; build connections with others; and to bring the mind and body into union. Here you can see and hear a lovely group of kids chanting to a mantra penned by renowned singer songwriter, Snatam Kaur:
There are many other forms of chanting mantras and sounds for children, each with their own set of positive healing benefits. By connecting kids and adults to the powerful harmonic tones of their voices, regular chanting can achieve a deep sense of inner peace and liberates the mind of mental clutter.
Words have power! And this power lies within each of us. I hope my post inspires you to find your true voice and empower the children in your life to do the same.
Miss H 🍁