A few months ago, I made a patient cry.
His body shook as tears ran down his face, faster than he could wipe them away.
I had told him the truth.
It wasn’t what he had expected to hear from his doctor, nor was it something that he had ever heard from anyone else.
It had penetrated straight to his heart and overwhelmed him.
It had cut through all the bravado, the layers of self protection that he had erected around his heart to prevent him from getting hurt.
Despite the pain that riddled his body, sometimes rendering it useless to him and the worthlessness and overwhelming guilt that he felt, these words were a searing hot sword straight into the depth of his spirit.
I had said to him that whilst everything seemed to be up against him and that although he wanted to end everything, I saw him as strong.
I saw him as strong and because had kept going after all these years, even as his body had started to fail, he had kept going for his wife, for his children and for a better future. He had never missed an appointment, always tried new treatments to help his health and never lost his sense of cheekiness and humour until now.
I saw a strong man, persistent and relentless in pursuit, hoping for the best days to come.
As I said these words to him, my spirit identified with them, allowing me to speak this truth with confidence and certainty.
I am sure that this encouragement from his doctor meant a great deal to him because it carried weight and helped to change the direction of his thoughts.
Why your words matter
As a father, husband and doctor, I am sold on the importance that words have on a person’s life.
Be it spoken in haste and anguish, hurtful and demeaning words can have far reaching negative effects, long after they are vocalised.
Words of encouragement on the other hand can change a person’s trajectory, their world view and the change wrong path that they are on.
Much more than that I believe that carefully chosen words of truth can paint a beautiful picture and cast inspiring vision, perhaps of a future that a person cannot see, after being battered by negativity and their own self doubt.
Words of encouragement bring life.
Words of encouragement give hope.
Words of encouragement inspire confidence.
Words of encouragement soften hearts.
I didn’t do very much that day with respect to the practice of traditional medicine. I didn’t prescribe anything nor did I initiate any investigation, but I gave him something that he needed the most, confidence, a word of truth through my encouragement.
Make no mistake, health professionals are not the only people in the business of encouragement, we all are.
We all have it inside of us, but the distractions of life and importantly, our lack of practice keeps the words of encouragement from being breathed into someones life.
We’ve all most likely had excellent service before (I hope) and wanted to say something more than thank you, but we didn’t. Perhaps we’ve seen something meaningful inside of our children and wanted to encourage this, but the words didn’t formulate in our conversation. And we’ve all most certainly had a kind or encouraging thought of a friend flash into our minds, but we didn’t bring ourselves to vocalise this.
My word of encouragement to you, is not to wait but to speak life into someone today.
Lift them up. Encourage a friend. Give them a picture that they cannot see. Cast a vision that inspires hope.
Live your life intentionally using your words carefully. They matter.