Sticks and Stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me. —childhood rhyme
I am in the midst of the days of awe…the 10 days of the Jewish New Year, a timeÂ for serious introspection, a time for repentance and renewal.Â Today as I was running around the house trying to get ready for company I said somethingÂ harsh to my husband. Â He didn’t deserve it at all. He had just thrown in a load of clothes and made me an omelet for breakfast. Even if he hadn’t been so kind and wonderful, he still would not have deserved to be spoken to in a sarcastic manner.
This conversation with my husband caused me to deeply consider the power of words to hurt or heal to empower or destroy. I thought about how many opportunities we have during the day to use our words to create peace or to create disharmony.
Recently I read a story about a study group led by Rabbi Karyn Kedar. She began her study group one day with the beginning of Psalm 51, “God, Open up my lips that my mouth may declare your glory.”Â She went on to ask the women in the group to consider if every timeÂ they wereÂ to speak, they would think about if what they said was acceptable to God. Â If beforeÂ they talked to theirÂ spouse,Â they madeÂ sure thatÂ their answer would be pleasing to God. IfÂ they were about to share some gossip they would ask themselves if those words would reflect the holiness of God.
How would the world be transformed if we all took the words of the Rabbi to heart? What would it be like if children were raised with words that reflected, soothed, empowered? What if employees were talked to respectfully and kindly? What if exchanges with waitresses and salespeople reflected caring and compassion? Â What if bullies didn’t need to bully because they were spoken to lovingly and considerately?
And so on this most holy of times for me as a Jew, I promise to ask myself before I speak, “Are my words pleasing to God?Â Are my words hurting or helping, empowering or disempowering, creating peace or disharmony?”
If we all paused before we spoke, would that help us to be more like God wants us to be, kind, loving, nurturing to each other?Â Â If each of us did this our world would be transformed. I am ready! What about you?
Brenda Strausz is a holistic psychologist and coach with practice in Southfield, Michigan. She combines alternative and conventional modalities to guide you to live with more ease, joy and freedom. She strongly believes in the power of love and forgiveness. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or from her website www.BrendaStrausz.com.
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Â© Copyright 2011 Â Allison Stuart Kaplan Â www.Askinyourface.com LLC