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Hilary Weeks

August 15, 2012

The apostle Peter knew what he was talking about when he said, "For he that will love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil and his lips that they speak no guile."

In other words...

Don't gossip.
Be kind.
Say nice things.
Speak uplifting words (to others...and yourself.)

Words are extremely powerful - they can demean or fortify, humiliate or strengthen, persuade or discourage. Paul believed if we used kind, caring, compassionate, encouraging words we will love life.  We will see good days.

I believe that too.

That is a powerful promise.

Recently I put the power of speaking kindly to the test - in a bit of an unorthodox way.

I bought two plants.

Same kind of plants.  Same type of pots.  Both from the same greenhouse. 

I decorated one of the pots with stickers.  I spelled L.O.V.E. on the side.  I made the pot look pretty.  The other pot didn't received such lovely treatment.  It remained plain.

I set both pots on the kitchen window sill.  Four or five times each day, I would pick up the "LOVE" plant and take it out on the back porch (out of earshot from the other plant. If any of the neighbors heard me, I'm sure they thought I had lost it.)  Holding it in my hands, I would speak directly to the plant.  (I know, it's a little strange.  But stay with me.)  

I would say...
"You are so pretty!"
"I can see your beautiful yellow, purple and white flowers!"
"You are getting so big!"
"You must be the loveliest plant I've ever seen!"

After a minute or so of "nice talk," I would return the plant to the window sill.

I assumed the "LOVE" plant would grow bigger, higher, faster and stronger than the other plant.  I assumed more flowers would blossom.

That is not what happened.

I am still a little stunned and perplexed by what happened next...

After about a week and a half of talking to the nice plant, I left for the weekend.  (Time Out For Women in Long Beach, CA.  Yay Long Beach!!!  We love you!)  I left both plants in their spot, both looking perfectly happy and content.

I walked in the door Sunday morning and found this...the plain plant totally wilted and drooping!

I immediately said to my husband, "What did YOU GUYS DO!?" 

"Nothing!"  He innocently replied.

"Did you forget to water it?  Did you over-water it?"


I was shocked.  I wasn't sure what to make of it.  I checked the moisture of the soil - both plants were fine. 

However, the "LOVE" plant had been fortified, strengthened and was standing tall.  Clearly, the kind words had made a difference.  Whatever was lacking - water, sun, a fresh outdoor breeze, new soil, space to expand roots - whatever it was that made the plain plant shrink, had absolutely no effect on the "LOVE" plant.

Kind, encouraging words had kept it strong.  Those words were allowing the "LOVE" plant to "love life and see good days." 

Words are important, influential - even life-changing.  What we say and how we say it is crucial - it affects your spouse, children, work associates, extended family, friends, neighbors, strangers...

and it affects you.

There are over 250,000 distinct words in the English language.

Use. Them. Wisely.

(You may be interested in another "words" experiment I conducted.  You can read about it here.)