Written by Gena Crepault
Lately, I’ve come to realize how important words can be. I’ve always had a love for the complexities that come with phrasing, the beauty of a string of sounds and letters put together. I grew up speaking three languages and always marveled at the concept of language. Each word in each language was something to admire.
When you’re a mental health advocate, you notice the importance of words even more. Why? Because words can save a life.
You use them to say hello to both friends and strangers, ask people how they’re doing, tell jokes, recount stories. You use them to create bonds with people by having conversations that make you think about things you usually wouldn’t. But most of all, we use words to express love and gratitude towards those around us. Or at least, we should. Thinking of and reflecting on things or people that you are grateful for has been proven to lead to a happier state of mind. And if you think about it, that gratitude could make someone’s day. The last time someone thanked me for being a good friend, I teared up. It did because it caught me off guard and it was a reminder that people appreciated me, and that I was valuable. So thank your friends for being supportive, more than just every once in a while. Tell your mentor that they’ve changed your life’s path for the better. Tell your family members that you love them. Tell your best friend that you couldn’t imagine life without them. Tell the person you sit next to in class that you’ve seen them working hard, and that you admire them.
We’re so hungry for validation and yet we seem to forget that we can give others that validation too, in the form of kindness. Someone you see every day could be in a slump, and the one thing they need to get them out of it is for you to tell them that you’re glad they’re around. That they’re wonderful friends, they’re fantastic listeners, that they’re just downright great.
We underestimate the power that our words have.
In an era where we’ve become so aware of and careful about the words we use in an effort to be more inclusive, we seem to have forgotten that words can have positive effects too. I challenge you all to, at least once a day, thank someone for being around, tell someone you admire them, tell someone that you love them, or just consciously use your words to be kind.
I once found an anonymous quote online, and I never forgot it. I hope it brings you the same inspiration it brought me: