“I’m rubber, you’re glue. Whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you.” That’s a bunch of crap, isn’t it? The truth is that sometimes words said to you hurt way more than any of us would like to admit.
There’s something in my personality that remembers these words, embeds them as self-talk, and run through my brain like a broken record… and they serve as a powerful motivator for me. The negative ones, I desire to shove them back into the face of the person— long since forgotten– who spoke them. The positive ones, I try to live up to in all that I do.
Here are some negative examples:
– “Adam is a spiritual orphan.” — my first “real pastor” in Indiana. This implied that my parents didn’t care about me and always made me mad.
– “You’ll never finish college. You’re destined to be a community college drop-out.” — my stepmother said this my senior year of high school.
– “You’re not cut out for pastoral ministry. You’re too much of a maverick.” — a co-worker at my first church said this… repeatedly.
– “You are a legacy hire, I wouldn’t have hired you.” — a former boss said this all the time.
Here are some positive examples:
– “Your work ethic makes up for a lack of talent and money.” — a high school golf coach
– “There’s something special about you. God is going to use you in big ways.” — a favorite camp counselor
– “Adam is one of the most organized/driven students I’ve ever had.” — an undergrad professor
– “You made a big impact on my kid. Thank you for letting him in to your family” — a parent
So what’s the point?
First, I’m convinced that the self-talk that we all have can be either a severe motivator or a severe motivator. If you’re finding that you beat yourself up endlessly, there’s no weakness in going to see someone to help you. I’m not going to claim that I’m the most healthy emotional person in the world. But I’m here to tell you that good self-talk has gotten me through some tough stuff.
Second, be really aware of the words you speak into people. Of the eight examples I gave above I’m convinced none of them felt like they were saying something prophetic. Some of them were even just little side comments that stuck. Words have weight… things we say to and about others can impact them for years!