Remember the old saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me?” Well, unfortunately this is not true. Words can definitely harm us and create damage in our relationships. Some of our fiercest battles are using words as weapons. As summer comes to an end, try to reflect on how you use words in your relationships. Ask yourself, “Is what I am about to say going to bring us together or drive us apart?” Do your words meet 3 important criteria: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it helpful? Psychiatrist William Glasser gives us some helpful hints in some of his writing on Choice Theory. He describes that there are “7 Deadly Habits that Destroy Relationships.” These “Deadly Habits” include: Criticizing, Blaming, Complaining, Nagging, Threatening, Punishing and Bribing/Rewarding to control. Do any of these sound familiar? Pay attention to your words this week and see if they would fall into any of these 7 categories. Dr. Glasser goes on to describe “7 Habits that Nurture Relationships.” These nurturing habits include: Supporting, Encouraging, Listening, Accepting, Trusting, Respecting and Negotiating Differences. Challenge yourself to go out and use these nurturing habits daily and watch carefully for the deadly ones! What difference do you think this adjustment could make in your relationships? Choose your words wisely.
–Shelley T. Kraft, MA, LPA