Saturday, May 31, 2014

Day 151, May 31

Eleanor Roosevelt once said words to the effect that no one can make you feel inferior without your permission.  Much as I admire this one time First Lady, I disagree, in fact vehemently disagree, with her.

Words have power.  Words can build up ... and words can tear down.  I know, because I've been on the giving and receiving end of both kinds of words.  When I look back at the times that I've used words to tear down, I cringe.

One of the most egregious examples of words being used to tear down occurred between a grandfather and his 20-something-year-old grandson.  The grandson was struggling to lose weight.  At the same time, he wanted to marry and start a family.

His grandfather said, "Look for an ugly girl.  She'll be so grateful for the attention that she won't care about your weight."

I wondered then as I wonder now what was the grandfather's motivation in saying those words.  It certainly was not to build up his grandson.  And why say it at all? 

I offer this alternative to Mrs. Roosevelt's counsel:  If you're tempted to say something, ask yourself:  is it nice, is it true, is it necessary?

The grandfather's words weren't nice, they weren't true, and they certainly weren't necessary.

Joy for today:  using words to build up.

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