Guest Blog Post by Cassandra Kosielowski on the power of words, the place of the written word in your life and why you should start writing every day (even if you aren’t a “writer”)
When I was younger my parents used to tell me, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” They wanted me to ignore the kids that called me names, teaching me that those names and words could not hurt me in the physical sense. Good parents, they were trying to empower my self-confidence and to learn resilience to teasing and the insensitive words of others.
As I grew up, graduating high school and then college I realized that names and words do actually have the power to hurt you. The adage I learned when I was young was wrong. Words do hurt. And while they may not leave physical marks on our bodies, they do leave emotional and invisible bruises and cuts on our hearts, minds and souls. When words are repeated they begin to sound true, and eventually we start to believe them. After being called dumb or stupid frequently enough we will eventually start to believe it at our heart of hearts. Words have more power over us than we realize, but the beautiful thing about words is that we get to choose the type of power they will have on our lives – either positive or negative. Positive words can speak life and joy to us, just as word of negativity can speak sadness and unhappiness to us.
I have explored my relationship with the power of words through writing. Writing is a way to express myself that I didn’t discover a love for until my second year in college. Even though we often communicate similar ideas when it comes to writing, no one writes the same. Each individual person has their own style, their own voice and their own writing world.
The act of writing is a medium with which we can change our lives and our confidence. You don’t even have to be a “good” writer, or even like to write, to allow the written word to have an influence over your life. Here are four ways writing can help you with your every day life and confidence (and these suggestions apply to you “writers” and “non-writers” out there):
#1. Write a daily to-do list
When we write out our goals and things that need to get done on a day-to-day basis, the chances of you completing those tasks will increase. When we have a hard copy of the chores we need to complete, we will be more willing and more motivated to get those tasks done. This tip will help you use the written word to get day-to-day tasks done and it will also help you stay organized.
The actual act of writing, pencil or pen to paper, is where I find myself relax and more comfortable. When I write down a daily to-do list, my goal for the day is to make sure I can cross off as many things as I possible can. I do this because I have written them down, which means they were important enough for me to remember and write. As I go through my day, the act of crossing them off and watching my list get smaller and smaller is incredibly rewarding and motivates me to keep up the positive forward momentum.
#2. Keep a gratitude journal
I know it has been said time and time again that in order to see all the great things in life on must simply write them down. The truth is, when we keep a gratitude journal we are forcing our brains to think about all the great things we have in this world. The act of writing them down takes us another step forward and helps us remember them deeply in our spirits. It is easy to forget the simple things that can bring us so much joy and those are the things to be grateful for.
I tend to do this more when I am feeling down, or if I feel as though I am in a rut. I write down everything that I love about my life including: my family, my horse, my friends and anything else I can think of. It can be as simple as you having a good hair day and feeling good about yourself. Those are the things that will shine light on your life when you feel like you are in a dark spot.
The best part about a gratitude journal is you can always add to it and reread the things you were grateful for a couple weeks ago. This will help bring more confidence and positivity into your life.
#3. Write down your feelings.
This is similar to a gratitude journal, but the purpose is different. I don’t know about you, but when I am in a rut or I am finding it difficult to overcome a situation, I have a hard time expressing my feelings and emotions in a logical way so that the people around me understand. This causes more frustration because I am not making sense to the people who are trying to help me.
When I have a situation like this I will sit down, get my pen out, and write down the situation and how it is affecting me. I may write a paragraph or three pages worth of information on a particular situation. In the end, I have created a reference and I can reread it and see exactly what is going on in my head.
Sometimes we spend so much time thinking about a situation that our minds get cluttered. When we take the time to write it out in an organized, or unorganized way, we free ourselves from that confusion and we are better able to pinpoint our emotions.
#4. Write down the qualities and characteristics you love about yourself.
As mentioned above, words of positivity can speak life and joy into us, and words of negativity do the opposite, breaking us down from the inside out. We have all been there before. We compare ourselves to others and say things like, “if I could only have her hair,” or, “if I could only be a little thinner.” That is not a positive way to think. When we constantly tell ourselves we are flawed and start comparing ourselves to others, we are breaking our self-confidence without even realizing we are doing it.
Write down these positive words about yourself so you can read them daily and reinforce their messages. We must remember that we are the only version of us on this planet – there is only one you – and we need to start embracing that instead of wishing we were different or like someone else.
Remember, you don’t need to be a professional writer to put these four tips into practice because this type of writing comes from your mind and your heart; it is an extension of your soul put onto paper. Start taking the written word by the reins and use it to help you become the best version of yourself.
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