Words are both our warfare and our wisdom. Words can break hearts, discourage spirits, overwhelm, give hope, heal and encourage. Words hold the power of life and death.
It was during my process of losing 50lbs that I discovered the great depth of the power of encouragement. I walked into my first group exercise class in 2000, overweight and insecure. I noticed people cheering for each other and gaining strength from one another. The positive energy was magnetic. This group saw something in me, pulled me in, mentored me, and taught me the power of magnetic motivation and encouragement. If you’ve been involved in group fitness, personal training, boot camps etc. you understand me when I say that this group can become a family. They become a place of safety, community and hope. “You can do it!” “You’re almost there, don’t give up.” “I believe in you, I know you can!” “You’re so strong.” “Look at how far you have come!” “Wow – you look GREAT!” These were just some of the common phrases I heard countless times. These words helped to break down walls of insecurities and build greater confidence. My mind began carrying a dialogue of these motivational words.
I almost wanted the words of affirmation, the community and challenge more than the exercise. It was the glue that began shaping who I was becoming. Within the fitness center and the sports arena, one common denominator we see is people pushing and encouraging one another. The freedom to whisper, shout, and repeat support relinquishes barriers and evokes a challenge toward new levels. Encouraging words can fuel the fire of hope, purpose and a sense of belonging.
“Don’t be a quitter!” “Don’t bounce!” “Don’t round your back.” Negative reinforcement is just that, it’s negative and not necessary. Keep focus on the desired behavior rather than the problem. When choosing a trainer or a class: Seek out positive reinforcement because isn’t that just what we need; someone to affirm our efforts?
I was reading a book recently that said the number one problem in today’s world is a ‘lack of goodness’. Taking a moment to stop, smile and uplift another might just be the fuel that they have been wishing for to help get them to the next day. Your words can bridge the gap of fear and strength. Hold tight to the positive spoken words and live through them. This is your warfare and your wisdom.