“It’s strange how kind words appear so foreign to us sometimes.”
This according to the Archdiocesan Family Life Commission’s (AFLC) mental health clinician Crystal Johnson.
Johnson, during a live Topic Thursday’s segment October 1 shared that when she often compliments clients during their sessions, they really don’t know how to process what she just said to them.
“And I find that very interesting. Most have never heard anyone speak like that before. Or most of them have never even heard anybody use those type of words before,” Johnson said.
Thursday’s discussion was ‘Changing the culture of our conversation by learning to speak with kindness.’
She commented that while we value manners as Trinidadians— ‘Good morning’, ‘Good afternoon’, words of kindness and love are not valued “that much” and are extremely difficult to hear and believe.
“And probably [one’s] self-esteem and self-worth are probably at an all-time low at this point because of people’s words that they heard all their life. So, it’s really interesting to realise that the words we allow to surround ourselves really absolutely affects us,” she said.
It’s important that persons are mindful of at the content (the words they use) and their tone. It makes “a world of a difference”, Johnson asserted.
Words, she said, flow out of one’s heart. When one’s words and tone are unkind, it’s usually a reflection of an unkind conversation one is having with oneself. Johnson said that unkind conversations and tone towards oneself may develop from one’s upbringing in the household.
Johnson was of the view that unkind thoughts to oneself can predictably lead to an outflow of unkindness towards others.
She revealed that being stranded in the US for seven months due to the closure of borders from COVID-19, she developed a cynical and snark attitude especially towards her husband. This, she observed, opened an invitation for unkind words to lead her thoughts.
“I got upset and said things that I felt it wasn’t right for them to hear at all…definitely I felt my worth was not important to the government at that time and my worth and purpose took a hit. I think it’s kind of crazy how fast my own worth turned on me and turned on others…”
Here are some of Johnson’s suggestions for inculcating kindness to oneself and by extension, others:
According to Johnson, in order for persons to start speaking kind words to others, they firstly ought to extend kindness to themselves. “Change the narrative and those around will start. It’s like a ripple effect…you do something nice and then it catches on…Why can’t it be the same with us speaking to each other in kindness and love?” she questioned.
Johnson mentioned while one may assume their words are of fun, its delivery can be quite hurtful. She urged when you speak, observe the other person’s nonverbal responses as this can indicate that the conversation was not mutually met well.
Speak kindness with intention to yourself and others. She invited persons to ensure that they are able to grow in a way where all can be kind and have a kind, wise speech that reflects one’s inner self, health and brings healing to the individual and everyone else.