Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Power of Words in Encourage or Discourage Us

This weekend I heard from someone who read my article titled "Life Lessons on Coping with Cancer" "
Here's what he said: Inspirational and very well written. Thanks for sharing Rick!"

Then I heard this from a man who read "I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where's Yours? He said:"
I found that no detail was omitted in any of the 42 chapters of this book. It has now become my number one source of information relating to the effects and recovery from Prostate Cancer. Well done."
I'm encouraged by the words I've heard this weekend. In my life and I'm sure in yours we all experienced the power that words have to encourage or discourage us.
A Bible verse came to my mind: Prov 15:23 And a word spoken in due season, how good it is! Sadly I think I remember the discouraging more vividly than the encouraging remarks because the first quote that came to my mind was this:
I'm so sorry you have prostate cancer, that's what killed my dad.
Much much later on when my sanity returned,(there are some in my family that suggest I've never had sanity to lose) I understood why he made that remark. As a friend who loved me dearly, he heard the news and was expressing his own fear and personal experience with about prostate cancer. He was also wondering whether I like his dad would die from prostate cancer. At that time I thought I would die from prostate cancer. I'd been complaining of bone pain months before I was diagnosed. After I received the diagnosis I was convinced that cancer had spread to my bones and I'd be dead within in a year. Thankfully the CT scan showed no bone cancer. (which is when I believe my sanity returned)

When I heard his Dad died from prostate cancer my fears increased ten-fold. At the time, I didn't think that was possible! As a result, I stopped telling people I had prostate cancer for many weeks. The last thing I needed or wanted to hear was another remark that would increase my terror.
Another discouraging remark occurred when I shared how difficult it was for me to cope with losing urinary control and live with changing my diapers 15 times a day.The comment was:
That's not so bad, at least your alive.
At the time I was wishing I hadn't survived my surgery. After that remark, I gave up trying to talk about my experiences with healthy people. I'd only share with men on-line or with men who'd been through something similar.

Today I'm greatly encouraged by the words I received this weekend. I consider it to be a blessing to use my experiences to help others. Unfortunately,  though, I've something about myself that I need to change. It's much easier for me to remember the discouraging words and act upon them rather than it is for me to keep encouraging words in my heart. With encouraging words I feel good for a moment and then they disappear. Discouraging words cause me to make decisions that affect me for days, weeks or years. I need to reverse this process and rid my mind of the discouraging words, and fill my mind with encouraging words.

What about you? What words of comfort built you up and encouraged you and what words  discouraged you and affected you for days, weeks, months, or years?