Friday, July 27, 2012

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones—and Words Can Always Hurt Me

“Actions don’t always speak louder than words” (“The 5 Love Languages”), especially if your love language is Words of Affirmation.

Our homes are like our own little city or community, and the last thing we want to do is set our family “aflame” by ridiculing each other (Proverbs 29:8).

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is an untrue chant. Words do hurt—both those meant to sting and those meant to tease. Most humor comes from a true feeling, and teasing someone can be a sign of defensiveness, insecurity, or cruelty. We don’t want any of those motives in our homes.

My brother and I weren’t allowed to make fun of each other; our treatment of one another was supposed to reflect respect, and I am grateful for my parents’ institution of this ideal. Teasing too often hits on a painful nerve; teasers too often know just the right words that hurt, though they hide it under the guise of a joke. Taunting can bring anger, which the Proverbs say the wise “turn away” (Proverbs 29: 8).

Our homes should be a place of safety: a place each member goes to be uplifted and encouraged. Life is hard—our treatment of those we love shouldn’t be.

On the other hand, kind words are the best gift you can give someone with this love language. “Flattery will get you everywhere,” I part-joke. Words of Affirmation is my top love language, and sincere compliments and praise speak love and respect—“I know who you are, I see what you do, and I admire it and you.”

My mom isn't one to lavish me with acclaim. When she wrote the note below on some poetry I have been working to publish, I knew she meant it. High praise from someone who is always honest with you carries a lot of weight. 

If someone you love is Words of Affirmation, be incredibly conscious of your vocabulary. Perhaps it isn't in your nature to use words of praise, but you will have to make that effort. Also, remember that we affirmation-needers delight in hearing the actual words I adore you. Grab a thesaurus, and learn new ways to say it every day!

 each post in this series

The book my grandfather, father, and I wrote in reflection of the Proverbs is finally here! You can click on the photo below to go to the O'More Publishing website, and then scroll down to Proverbs through the Generations to purchase. Proceeds go to scholarships for O'More College of Design students. 

Chapman, Gary. The 5 Love Languages. Chicago: Northfield, 1995. Print.
“The 5 Love Langugages.” The 5 Love Languages. Moody Publishers. n.d. Web. 11 May 2012

this post is linked up with

Beholding Glory favorite things | finding joy

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for linking again! I am the exact type of person you describe here--and having someone choose their words so carefully for me really makes a difference.
    I requested the book from the library, and hope to pick it up soon!