You Are What You Speak
/ Author: Eric Nederlof
/ Categories: Blogs, Newsletters /
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You Are What You Speak

There are hundreds of proverbs, quotes, and stories about the power of words and their lasting effect on others—and about what the words you say in turn say about your character. Which “wolf” are you feeding?

By Eric Nederlof, Representative

Sports—playing them, watching them, and the pre and postgame discussion of them—are a significant part of many CLAC members’ lives. The postponement of sports is one of the ways our world has changed, at least temporarily. And it has had direct effects (those employed by Canucks Sports & Entertainment) and indirect effects (those employed in hospitality and other spin-off industries) on many CLAC members.  

From the major professional leagues to the community social clubs, the postponement of sports has impacted our economy and social lives—and maybe our psyches too?

I’ve joined some social media fan clubs for some of my favorite teams—for good and ill, as replete throughout these feeds is no shortage of negativity toward a particular player(s) who had a bad game or a coach or GM, or a particular opponent. One should expect expressions of disappointment, good-natured ribbing (particularly of an arch-rival team), and even some fair-minded constructive criticism.

But lately it seems the rhetoric has been amped up and become extremely critical not only on a personal level, but also with disparaging, hateful comments writing off entire groups of people. I’d like to see data on the effect that combining the cancellation of a cathartic release like sports with increased levels of stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic situation has had on society.

Although it’s not just with sports. People have strong opinions in many areas of life including politics, religion, education, and other social activities. All seem to be using more shutdown language.

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression you are what you eat. Well, it can also be said you are what you speak. There’s a poem that combines the symbolism of both these concepts:

Words are seeds that do more than blow around.

They land in our hearts and not the ground.

Be careful what you plant and careful what you say.

You might have to eat what you planted one day.

The words you use are an expression of who you are for “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” There are hundreds of proverbs, quotes, and stories about the power of words and their lasting effect on others—and about what the words you say in turn say about your character.

You’ve probably heard the story too about a man giving a boy a life lesson about the inner fight inside everyone of us:

It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

The same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person, too.

The boy asked, “Which wolf will win?”

The man replied, “The one you feed.”

One of the ways you—and others—will know which one you’ve fed is by the words coming from you. You can be polite, courteous, uplifting, and promote positivity instead of being rude, angry, demeaning, and negative.

Because the words you use not only show which wolf you’ve fed, they also continue to feed it through reinforcement. So, “be sure to taste your words before you spit them out” because “they have the power to nurture life or destroy it, and so you must be prepared to accept the consequences of your words.”

Before you speak, post, or tweet, ask yourself these three questions: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? If the answer to all three isn’t yes, think long and hard about whether it should be said.

Keep well, healthy, and safe in body, mind, and spirit.

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