Words… can you remember the first time someone whispered the words “I love you”. Or the first time someone had a crush on you and expressed it? How about the first time someone announced the winner of a prize or competition and it was your name? Or the first time someone said: “we are not friends anymore”, “I hate you”, “I am no longer in love with you”, “you are a disappointment”, “This is wrong”, “You should try a little harder” or fill in the blank “You are not __________”.
While you are still imagining … can you remember the worst teacher you ever had? The teacher who always saw the worst in you and expressed it. Embarrassed you in front of the class. Or said you are absolutely dismal in their subject and you wouldn’t amount to anything.
Now, juxtapose that with the best teacher you ever had. The one that encouraged you, nurtured you, made you feel special and talented and unique. The major difference between the two teachers – is the words they used. Is it not?
Words can either edify and build people up. Or it can tear people down. It can either boost someone and encourage them to grow. Or it can cause people to question themselves. Words can be used to tell the truth and can be a tool to correct. Or words can be used to lie, gossip and harm. Words can build a nation. Words can break a nation. Words can build a family. Words can break a family. Words can build a space like a workplace, and words can destroy a space or workplace. Words can build you up. Words can strip you to nothingness.
There is absolute power in words. And because of the magnitude of this topic. The blog is split into two parts:
1) The Power of Your Words Part 1: South Africa; and
2) The Power of Your Words Part 2: Work, Family and You (to be published on the 23rd of May 2018).
Let’s jump straight into Part 1…
Your Beautiful Nation
South Africa is a unique nation – it is colourful, complex, and there are many things wrong with it like inequality, suffering of people living below the breadline, gangsterism terrorising communities, crime, not enough housing and an excruciatingly painful past; but many things about RSA is just beautiful, special and plain old “lekker”:
#1) The incredible sense of humour South Africans have; whether it is about Junk Status or the G/Zuptagate Scandal or polony – South Africans find the lighter side in every situation:
#2) South Africa has matchless views and destinations from the fynbos plains in Karoo, to the beautiful oceans, from the Garden Route, to God’s Window, from Table Mountain to the Jacaranda-lined streets of Pretoria.
And the 3) Diversity of cultures, 4) Colourful people and 5) Ability to unite and sing the world’s (voted) number one National Anthem like nothing else matters. Perhaps the reason the National Anthem is so celebrated is because it evokes a feeling that only true South Africans at heart have experienced – that goosebumpy, hair-raising, swallow the lump in your throat, wipe back the tears, proud for days feeling.
These five reasons are only the tip of the ice-berg but let’s get to the point…
Your “Sh#thole” Nation
South Africa may be labelled as a “sh#thole country” by some foreign president that doesn’t know any better; but it’s time that citizens stop using words like this, to describe South Africa.
Some may hide behind saying “they are just being realistic” and “looking at the facts and figures” and that is why it is a “sh#thole nation”. But, people should not underestimate the power of words. If you look at Hitler and the Nazi regime – it all started with words, speeches and labelling. It proved that no matter the “status” of a country, words and rhetoric have a powerful influence.
And as a side note to the people that hide behind the “facts of the country”, “the news”, “the rand value” etc. – your family, loved ones, colleagues and acquaintances are GATVOL of your opinion and you slating South Africa; you spread bitterness, doom-and-gloom and you being a realist (ha more like pessimist) is as helpful as eating contaminated “worsies”.
Sooo… Wat Nou?
So how about people of South Africa, you, me, us, we – all stop using phrases like: “the country is going to the dogs”, “this violent country”, “this sh#thole country”, “this junk nation”, “the place where nothing works”, “lol we are useless”, “a corrupt nation”, “this place is just like Zim”, “the corrupt government” and the most damaging word “It’s THEM…it’s THEIR FAULT”.
With surly sneers and negative rants like these – you, me, us, we are part of the problem not the solution. If someone has cancer, or is suffering from an eating disorder – do you keep reinforcing and reiterating it, by pointing it out over and over? No – it’s not helpful. And neither is having a checklist of everything that is wrong with South Africa and whipping it out at the water cooler, braai, high-tea, Woolies or Spatlo/Kota Shop.
Yes, issues need to be addressed. But throwing around idle words, depressing everyone around you and speaking negative words over the country is about as helpful as eating candy floss while on a no-sugar diet.
So Here Comes the Challenge!
So here comes the challenge for you, me, us, we – how about for the next month (to forever) we declare stuff like:
Our city, our nation, our provinces are blessed
Our government, leaders and authority figures are blessed
Our community, neighbourhood and suburb are blessed
This country has a good future and good plans
This nation will prosper; its people will prosper
South Africa is set apart, a masterpiece and has a secure future
South African resources are blessed
The Rand is blessed
There is peace in this nation and love
And start being part of the solution and not adding to the problems. South Africa is a great nation – it is your, my, our duty to build it up – not break it down.
Catch The Power of Your Words Part 2: Work, Family and You on the 23rd of May 2018.
Please let me know if this blog inspired or incited anything in you in any way. Remember share to support a South African blogger. And give Sparkle Ellie’s Facebook page a thumbs-up for more light reading. 😊
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PS. Did you know what the South African Anthem means in English?