The words that we speak to ourselves and others matter. It is especially important to speak lifegiving words to children and youth survivors of sexual abuse.
How often do we hear words that spark us back to life?
Do we believe that we are valuable, worthy, and loved even when we make mistakes?
Do we believe that we are a mistake?
Throughout the day, our brain has thousands of thoughts that either influence in a healthy or unhealthy way. Our thoughts impact our beliefs and actions. Recent studies indicate that 80% (1,300-1,400) of daily thoughts are often negative. If our internal dialogue is negative our speaking to others will be negative. It takes time to retrain our brain to think life-giving thoughts.
Children and youth who have experienced sexual abuse and live in negative environments where they do not hear positive statements about themselves will internalize negative and false statements about their worth. The power of life and death is in the spoken word. The words we speak to ourselves and others either will encourage and build up a person’s inner confidence or tear down their sense of value and worth. Our perceived worth and value is beyond any price.
Everyone is worthy of receiving love no matter what we do. The word value relates to our importance, worth, or usefulness. A sense of value can also denote a person’s principles or standards of behavior and judgement about what is important in life. When we value someone, it shifts the nature of our entire conversation with the other person.
How many times have we been in a conversation with someone and have spoken negative, hurtful words, which come from our own inner pain?
How often do we reflect on how our words affect someone else?
Love is often a word spoken often without considering its deep meaning. The highest form of love is unconditional, meaning that no matter what happens, a person is still worthy of love.
Even in a potentially hurtful disagreement, each person in the conversation is worthy of love. Often, we decide, based on one conversation or event, whether someone is deserving of love.
This is opposite of the truth. The truth is that all people, regardless of their daily choices, are worthy of receiving love from others. Everyone has flaws, but everyone needs love throughout our entire lifetime.
Love is messy for that very reason, because it means that at times, even though we may be hurt by someone, it is vital to perceive the person through the lens of value and worth at all times.
In essence, love is a choice; love has the deepest power to heal. We often forget that children carry the messages that were spoken over them into adulthood. Most adults have never fully recovered from the negative, hurtful words people said to them as a child.
One way for parents, relatives, and friends to change the trajectory of a child’s life is to affirm them, even when mistakes are made. Because, mistakes will happen. For example, a young child may accidentally break something while playing a game or while having fun. The adult can pause and tell them, “Let’s clean it up together. Mistakes sometimes happen. I make mistakes, too.” If this is said in a kind manner, the child’s perceptions will begin to be shaped by the attitude of adults. In fact, the child will not internalize that they are a mistake but that mistakes are a part of life
It is so important for us to remember to support and encourage others even in times of great mistakes and missteps.