Our Words Matter

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POST- Every time we open our mouths, we have an opportunity. How we use it, is up to us. I woke up this morning excited to share a post I had been working on this week, but two red notifications stopped me from hitting publish. The first was an alert that my blog had just reached a major # in page views, and for a very brief moment, I was excited to achieve a milestone I never considered possible. But that momentary joy was gone as I clicked on the second alert. It was a notification that somebody had linked to my site. When a person shares links to the House of Hendrix on their own blog, I get notified. In the past it has been a fun way to see my posts play out in other people’s lives. But this was not that.

This was an entire post attacking my character, my blog, and the comments of my readers. Because my writing often leaves me vulnerable, her words felt like a dagger into a tender bruise. I couldn’t breathe and sat in shock stunned over a stranger’s attack.

Why do we hear the negative comments louder than the rest?

As I came downstairs, I must have looked like somebody had sucker-punched me in the gut. My husband immediately came to me asking “What’s wrong?”.  I explained that a woman on the internet was mean to me and wrote an entire article attacking me. As I rested my head on his shoulder, he spoke this truth over me:

Hurting people often hurt others.

As I lifted my head to look into his eyes, I broke. With a cracking voice and the tear gates open,  I said, “But it still hurts.”

Folks, our words matter.

The words we speak to our spouse.

The words we speak to our children.

The words we speak about a faceless woman on the internet.

Every time we open our mouths, we have an opportunity. How we use it, is up to us. We can bring encouragement & kindness into someone’s life…or discouragement and pain. I remind my children that our words can be sharper than a double-edged sword and we must learn to control them.

If you are hurting and tempted to lash out at those around you, think through if you are causing pain to those you love the most.

Today I had to forgive because I didn’t want a seed of bitterness to take root in my soul. But I wanted to defend myself. I wanted to explain that she was wrong about my not caring for those less fortunate than myself. I wanted tell her that friendship IS a blessing, and that teaching children character values isn’t a waste of time. But I didn’t.

Instead I was reminded of the times my own words have exasperated my children, hurt the heart of my spouse, and discouraged a friend. Today, I cling to the scripture:

POST Every time we open our mouths, we have an opportunity. How we use it, is up to us. Our words matter.

(The referenced post has been deleted, and the author and I are at peace with one another. It is all good )

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57 thoughts on “Our Words Matter

  1. I’ve only been following your blog for a short time but I have a lot of respect for you. You are so encouraging. Please keep doing what you’re doing. You DO make a difference!

  2. Yikes Ali. I’d say prayers needed for the attacker. She must really hurt deeply somewhere. I DO KNOW YOU. Your heart and head is right where it needs to be.

  3. I do not subscribe to many blogs, however, i love yours and have been inspired by your words. It is difficult to understand the need to ‘lash out’ at others in such a hurtful way. I do hope that you can focus on all the positive comments you receive and enjoy them.

  4. Allison, I just want to say this….
    You can be the biggest, ripest, sweetest, most luscious peach in the whole orchard…and there’s still gonna be somebody that doesn’t like peaches. You must be doing something right or the devil wouldn’t be working overtime! 🙂

  5. I am so sorry someone felt the need to say hurtful words about you but you are doing the right thing. Keep your chin up. For all the readers who follow you we know your a wonderful woman 🙂 and most importantly so does God<3.

  6. Beautifully stated. It is much easier to say things that are mean- spirited and hurtful on the Internet than it is to a voice or face. Keep on doing what you’re doing.

  7. I had just finished yelling at my husband when I read this. He has been my punching bag since my sister died. I’m sorry you were hurt today but am thankful because I needed to hear it. My pain has been making me lash out at those I love. It is not ok. My words have been a weapon. a hard truth I need to fix

  8. First of all, how mature are you for not sharing her link! That’s very brave!
    Thank you for sharing a truth with us today: no unwholesome word should come out of our mouth!

  9. You know I adore your heart and your blog. It’s one of the few blogs I follow. Your husband is a wise man:) I can’t help but think the enemy is at work here too…

  10. Clearly this lady does not know you because you are an inspiration to everyone around you. I am sure those around her are subject to her “opinions” way more often than they would like. I pray that one day she realizes your joy comes from a loving God who created her as well. Keep calm and blog on.

  11. I admire your courage to put yourself out there which clearly makes you a potential target for others’ criticism. You are a stranger to me, yet I have been uplifted, encouraged and inspired by your wisdom and example. You may never know just how far reaching your efforts effect others for good. Thank you for making a positive difference in my life.

    • Sweet Cynthia, thank you, thank you for your touching words. They have uplifted and encouraged ME. I am grateful that we are able to mutually encourage one another from afar. Isn’t it interesting how the world is changing.

  12. You are absolutely right, our words do matter. I wholeheartedly support your decision to forgive. It’s a choice that can only give you freedom. It is very difficult to give an accurate portrayal of each nuance of what you mean with just words in black and white.

    • Kathy, I did not learn the power of forgiveness until I saw it played out with my mother. I watched her forgive somebody who had truly wronged her. It wasn’t immediate and it wasn’t easy, but the effects changed the course of many people’s lives. It was the single best lesson she ever taught me.

  13. Thank you for reminding all of us that positive words of encouragement goes a long way than negative comments. When you encourage and compliment. It makes a person try harder or do better. Negative comments puts a person down or gives up trying. You have always inspired me or made me think “What could i do differently”. Whether its my child, friends or even a stranger. 🙂

    • Thanks Sherrie. You bring up a great point of the motivating factor of encouragement. I have watched one of my children be coached by a yeller and then subsequently an encourager.The difference in her performance was drastic. Thank you so much for your kind words to me.

  14. Hi Alison, thank you for your courage in this incident. Thank you for being so authentic with your readers. We make a difference in many peoples lives. I thank God for you true example of finding it in your heart to forgive even when it still hurts. Thank you. I am currently doing the Gifts of Imperfection Class with Brene Brown and her examples in the book have helped me understand that in this virtual world, when we choose to be vulnerable and open to connection as opposed to closed up, that might be criticized. That helped me a lot. I pray that God will be your guide. Keep doing what you’re doing!

  15. As I read your post and later the regrettable post it references, I had a very curious progression of emotions. First, I felt pulse-heightening indignation. “Who is this presumptuous, judgmental, and hyper-critical soul? What on earth could motivate them to act so aggressively but deep-seated dissatisfaction and a desire to balm their wounds with a rather ironic lashing out?” “Their misguided post says more of them than it ever could of Alli,” I thought to myself.

    Soon after, I felt defensiveness. Unlike this belligerent blogger taking antagonistic swipes at someone they don’t even know, my wife and I know you. And to know you is to adore you. You are one of the most compassionate, gracious souls we’ve ever had the privilege of calling “friend.” A swipe against you feels and hurts like a swipe against us.

    And then I remembered all the stupid crap I’ve said in my life, even in print, and I felt pangs of compassion for this person. She screwed up. Big. She needs forgiveness, and I know – we all know – you’ll give it. Truly. Deeply. She’s probably a whole lot sweeter than her bitter words, and you’ll go looking for that sweeter core.

    Finally though, and with that in mind, this whole incident kind of made me laugh. There is a dark humor to it. It reminds me of a time when I reached out and accidentally crushed a bouquet of roses because I thought they were plastic. I needed to remove them from the center of a table and I grabbed their blooms rather roughly, convinced that they were plastic and as unfeeling as they were fake.

    But they were real.

    In my defense, they were almost too beautiful to think anything but fake.

    That’s you, Alli and Co. You’re doomed to be the recipient of this kind of cynicism from time to time. A lot of people have lost hope that a friend like you is possible.

    Stay the course, sister.

    • First of all, I love that your Papa Bear came out for me. That made me cry. Secondly, you nailed it. We remember all the stupid stuff we’ve said ourselves and that can only lead us to a place of compassion. And then my like-minded friend, you started laughing…and it is that perspective which I adore. Well, that and your plastic flower story, hilarious!!! Thank you. I love your family so much.

  16. The words we do say do matter. So do the ones we don’t say & know we should.
    Of all the regrets in my life, none compare to thoughtless words

  17. Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of meeting you can see God’s reflection in your beautiful heart! You are a rare and precious young woman Allison! I pray God melts all bitterness from your attacker’s heart, and reveals truth to her.

  18. This feels like my eulogy with such lovely and encouraging comments. 🙂 I am humbled and thankful to have each of you in my life, even if just through this blog. The writer and I have spoken and are sincerely at peace with each other.

    Interestingly though, I listened to my children tonight speak unkind words to one another, and was reminded that our family has a lot of room for growth in the Words Matter arena. So that is our focus going forward. Thank you all again.

  19. WOW. Just wow. Of course I am STUNNED that someone would outright talk negatively about another person they don’t even know in an entire article – it already screams “It’s all about THEM” not you….

    But how you managed to handle it with such a Godly open heart and realize the truth that you can then apply to your own life- well that is just remarkable. What an inspiration you are! I am glad you have settled things with her, I don’t know what on earth she could have said- but surely she is hurting and lashed on you.

    God is pleased, and the witness you revealed in your heart and actions and words will bless many.

    • Christine, thank you for bringing up the settling things with her. As she doesn’t know me, I don’t know her or HER story. Sometimes on the internet we forget there are real people on the other side, and this was a lesson to both her and I on that. I am so thankful that she was willing to take this offline and come to a place of peace. After a conflict, the recovery is what’s important…the restoration of relationship. And I am thankful to have found that with her.

  20. There is a wonderful woman named Brene Brown. She is a researcher on vulnerability. Check out her site http://www.brenebrown.com for inspiration and links to her Oprah interviews, her blog and her books.

    Kindness is not everywhere, but reacting with kindness as you have done brings hope into an uncertain world. Thank you.

    • Love Brene Brown and have been listening to her a lot lately. She so articulately defines and embraces vulnerability in ways that just resonate with me….and apparently a lot of other people. Your comment about reacting with kindness was the exact lesson I gave my kids this morning on the way to school. It’s hard though. Thanks for commenting.

  21. Allison, it s indeed sad to say anonymous people can cause such tumult in your life. This happened last month to my daughter in law. She blogs on My Crafting Attic and Our Cherry Blossom Love. Last month on My Crafting Attic she too was attacked. The person attacked her creations for her infant son to use (reduce, reuse, recycle/repurpose) to develop motor skills and use as activities in the car on their long rides to her Mom’s house, in the car.
    Personally, I would never attack anyone for a blog post that I have chosen to subscribe to, or on an item pinned to Pinterest and then linked to a blog. If you don’t like it unsubscribe don’t just criticize.
    I am so sorry for this attack on you. Try not to be too hurt by words such as those. Remember what you are doing I helping others. Whatever one can do to help another in any way is a good thing indeed.

    • You are a wise mama. I imagine your daughter-in-law is thankful to have you in her life. I wish I had stumbled across her ideas when my kids were that little!! I’m scooting over to check her blog out now. I hope she recovered and did not feel discouraged for long. I imagine you were quite an encouragement to her. 🙂 Thanks for your uplifting comments.

  22. I woke up this morning with this very subject on my mind…wondering how to help a youth in my Sunday School class who was victim to some mean words the other day. I came down stairs and read the scriptures looking for help. I also checked my email and found your post about mean words. Not a coincidence. God uses those who are listening to bless the lives of others. You blessed my life today. Thank you!

    • This comment actually means a lot to mean. I appreciate it more than you know. The youth in your SS class is blessed to have you to breathe truth and encouragement into them, just as you’ve done for me.

  23. As one of the other posts stated, I do not subscribe to many blogs. But I do to yours, as we share more than just a name. You seem SO authentic and courageous and your words and work are inspiring to me. When you put yourself out there you risk harsh criticism and attack. But the reward is SO much more! The connection you can build with people miles and miles away is unreal. Words can hurt-but they can also humor, help, heal, confirm, comfort and uplift. Here’s to the latter. And thank you for posting.

    • I already like you because your name is Alli, and spelled the right way….and you are right, the reward is so much more. I love your list of what words can do “humor, help, heal, confrim, comfort, and uplift”. I imagine you are a really good friend. Thanks again Alli.

  24. There is no nicer , kinder women in this world than you! You make me want to be a better person , wife and mom! So proud of your post and how it glorifies God and sets examples to others!!! Alli for president:)))


  25. I don’t follow many blogs but yours hit home one day and I’ve been following you ever since. Our words do matter…yours are inspiring to me. Don’t let negativity dampen your spirits.

    • First of all, thank you for following. I’ll try not to fill up your inbox with too many posts. Secondly, I appreciate your taking the time to offer a sweet comment. It made me smile. Our words do matter. 🙂 Thanks again.

  26. I am sorry that someone’s negative words hurt you. I love reading your blog and thank you for your openness and honesty. I think your husband was probably right about that person hurting. While it doesn’t excuse it it may explain it. Thanks again for sharing life. God bless.

    • You are right Leslie about the truth behind my husband’s words. I was just at the grocery store and the clerk was quite rude to the woman in front of me. After observing for a while, it was my turn. I looked her in the eye and asked her how she was doing today. She simply shook her head and said “this life ain’t worth living”. People are hurting everywhere and I just pray I slow down enough to see them. Thanks for your comments. Alli

  27. Allison I am a fairly new follower of your blog and I don’t follow it regularly, but today I am grateful for your post. I try to be kind to all around me, but when I’m not nice it is usually to those I love the most, probably because I am the most comfortable with them. This is a good reminder to me that I need to be careful with what I say and how I say things especially to my most precious loved ones. My Mother in-law has a saying on her wall…Write it on you heart that the ones you love are life’s most precious gifts. But we should also treat everyone around us the same way. I am sorry that someone could use you to make themselves feel better. Thank you again for your post.

  28. So often people speak or write without thinking. Never thinking of the consequences. Your words are often of encouragement. Dont be discouraged over other’s comments. Continue with your love and positive inspiration.

  29. Thank you for such a wonderful reminder. I find it a challenge to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. I really need His grace and the Holy Spirit to work and change my inside-out. You did such a marvelous job in bringing situation to where it is now. Keep doing what you are doing, bringing blessings to others.

  30. Wow! What a powerful, short post! I was near tears reading it because it hit home today. I wanted to write a post saying how we can hurt with our words, but was falling short. Thank you, thank you for writing such an encouraging and empowering post! I will definitely past on, and, if I may with your permission, would like to have this as a guest post on my blog.

  31. Very important message here! Thank you for sharing a good reminder to us all!
    So sorry to hear about the mean message – some people should sometimes think before they comment!

  32. As a licensed child care provider I too remind the children in my care to use kind words. We have become a society that feels they have a right to say whatever they wish with no thought if it is hurtful or not. This is what we are teaching our children. I am so sorry that you experienced this and rest assured that is just one persons opinion and their are thousands of people who think otherwise. Please keep you chin up and continue on because I appreciate what you do.

  33. God works in wonderful ways as our pastor preached on this very subject today at church. The tongue unbridled can destroy lives and we must allow God to help us control what we say. Thank you for sharing this, it was a great example of how we should follow Christ. Great job!

  34. What you are teaching is important. If we don’t make our own worlds a good place to live, how can we help others with their worlds? Keep doing what you are doing and let your light shine!!!!! ~”It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.”

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