My Bible devotion I read the other day was from Proverbs 16:24 NIV. "Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." For some reason, that verse resonated with me, enough to write about it.
This verse relates to how we communicate with others. King James Version says, "Pleasant words as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul and health to the bones, " expressing how powerful kindness and kind words are in our speaking and it even makes you feel good inside.
I love it when I intentionally speak words of kindness and encouragement to my children. I see how their faces light up and their chests broaden. It gives them encouragement and hope, and teaches them self-love.
The verse refers to honeycomb and the sweetness of the honey (drippings from the honeycomb) which is a symbol for delight and abundance. In the Bible days, honey was considered as a delicacy, is it was something special, not necessarily a necessity but it is good and helpful.
I also just read an article in Psychology Today called The Power of a Kind Word written by David Ludden, PhD (Ludden, D., April 2021). The article was interesting in that it referred to research studies that were done about the affects of complimenting others. It stated that people are reluctant to give compliments. Really? They don't know how the compliment will be received. People feel uncomfortable about giving compliments especially to strangers. Through the studies, researchers and actually the complimenters found that they underestimated how the compliment was received and overestimated the price of giving it. It was found that in most cases the compliment receivers felt happy, flattered and pleased, and the compliment givers' mood improved. The givers could not see past their own thoughts and discomfort where they missed that the compliments were received positively.
Emily Boothby, psychologist at University of Pennsylvania stated:
The biggest challenge is getting out of our own head. We tend to be overly focused on our own ability to give a compliment effectively or worried about what the other person will think of us. We should think about how we would feel if we received a compliment--remember that others will feel the same. A few words can go a long way.
Can you think of a time when you used kind words to someone and how those kind words made their day? The kind words gave them hope and the words encouraged them? I work with retired people and you just don't know how much of an impact that excellent customer service has on the quality of their day. Just by saying 'Happy Birthday', it is amazing how these words show thoughtfulness and value toward that person.
This even works with our dog. I have experimented in saying loving words versus unkind words to him to see how he reacts. The most interesting thing that I have found is that they respond more from my facial expression and tone of voice and not so much as the words. I have said "unkind" words with a pleasant tone in my voice and happy facial expression and Dino would just wag his tail and dance with delight. I have also said "kind" words with an angry tone along and a frown on my face. Dino would respond with shame and in a negative way. (That's another topic about communication with animals but I just wanted to give an example of how animals respond to kindness.)
Call to Action
- Can you remember when you shared some kind words with someone and their response made both of you feel good all day?
- Be intentional about saying something kind to someone every day the rest of this week and pay attention to how these words affect them.
- Pay attention to how your dog responds when you speak to him with kind words, a positive and cheerful tone of voice, and a happy expression on your face. What did you do? How did your acts of kindness make him feel?