Remember the old saying our parents told us to recite as kids when someone said something mean to use: “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me?” This phrase was reportedly first published in March 1863. And since then, everyone who has said it, or believed it, was wrong. The words we use, whether positive or negative, have a measurable impact on our lives and how we view ourselves and the world around us. This can have major implications on how lives are shaped, especially for those raising kids. Here is a simple experiment I did with my kids that confirms the undeniable truth that words (and thoughts) create our perception of the world around us.
We planted a sunflower seed, took half an apple and placed them each on their own plate labeled with words. One plant and apple had nothing but positive words like: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The other plant and half of the apple were set on a plate where we wrote negative words like: hopeless, chaos, disgusting, liar and confused. We also added color and fun stickers to the “good” cup and purposefully left the “bad” cup plain and boring.
Several times a day we would walk up and say nice, loving things to the good plant and apple and said nothing but negative, harsh words and phrases to the not-so-nice plate. It went a little something like this…
After 10-days here are the results of our experiment.
The one on the left is the bad plate and the one on the right is the good plate. As you can see, the bad plate just has a small stem coming up and the apple is half gone (I’ll explain that in a second). Notice how the good plate’s plant is well on it’s way to sprouting a real sunflower and the apple is fully intact. It should be noted that when you think, act, or talk negatively, the rules of quantum physics (and common sense) dictates that bad things are more likely to happen. That’s exactly the case in this experiment!
The reason the stem is barely visible in the bad cup is that Austin ended up breaking it. Although it wasn’t as big and healthy as the good plant, it was a little longer originally. Additionally, the reason there is only half an apple is because our house cleaner ended up setting the bad plate down on the ground and put the dog food bowl on it. It only took a few seconds before our dog Finley scurried over to eat what he could before I caught him. The house cleaner could have easily set the good plate down that the dog could have eaten and Austin could have just as easily broken the stem of the good plant, but that wasn’t the case. The natural laws of the universe confirmed that destruction and bad karma is more likely to come to those things surrounded with negative energy.
Do you ever feel like you’re caught in a rut in one or more areas in your life? I challenge you to look beneath the surface to see if what you’re telling yourself, or what others are telling you, come from a place of love and compassion or hatred and jealously. I can definitely see that there have been times when I have stunted my own growth by all of the negative self-talk I was doing.
In conclusion, applying the simple principles of this experiment to your daily life can have life-altering effects. Whether you’re planting a garden, trying to get pregnant, mending a relationship or dealing with a chronic health issue, the power of positive reinforcement, love and self compassion can, and do, play a large role in the ultimate outcome. Try showing those around you and, especially yourself, more love and compassion and watch how things come to life.
Change your words; can change the world!