Here is what I want you to know:
YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SAY THE WORDS. OUT LOUD. TO ALL OF THE PEOPLE. ALL OF THE TIME.
We need to hear those words more often than we admit. And it's just as rewarding to be the one who speaks the words that someone else needed to hear. So, I implore you- say the words. To your friends and your children, to your spouse and your coworkers, to your parents and your mentors, to your siblings and to the barista at the coffee shop.
YOUR WORDS CAN CHANGE THE TRAJECTORY OF SOMEONE'S DAY, OR EVEN THEIR LIFE. (OR THEY WON'T, IF THEY REMAIN UNSPOKEN, AS THEY SO OFTEN DO.)
Let me offer you two personal examples of the power of words at work in the world:
A year ago tonight I was out with two girlfriends, when I ran into a third who I hadn't seen in awhile. This run-in was with a brilliant and radiant woman I'd met through work, and with whom I'd exchanged meaningful words before- vulnerable and transformative words that brought us both to tears, and then back to ourselves.
That night, when I ran into her again, she surprised me with these words:
"LAUREN, YOU SPARKLE FROM THE INSIDE OUT!"
Sometimes we can't see ourselves objectively at all. We forget our sparkle or we think it has faded, when in fact it's burning bright. If a bystander can see my inner sparkle in a matter of minutes? Then clearly it's bright enough to light my way forward. My friend reminded me of that.
BECAUSE SHE SAID THE WORDS. OUT LOUD.
Fast forward to this week, which found me doing a big, important thing before I felt ready. In the midst of looming insecurities, doubts, and fears, I decided to share my sparkle by (finally) launching this blog. I wrote something vulnerable and hit "publish." Then, I shared it to social media in hopes that my story would find its way to someone facing a similar struggle. That my words would find resonance with them, and perhaps provide a bit of clarity or peace.
The next day I received a heartfelt message from one of the strongest, most resilient women I know. This friend is currently facing some of the most formidable medical, legal, and parenting challenges imaginable. Amazingly, in the midst of it all, she took the time to reach out and let me know that the words I'd shared were meaningful to her. That she kept coming back to my blog post over and over again, reading and re-reading the words as a reminder. She called the timing of my post perfect, and let me know that she'd revisited it right before walking into an anxiety-inducing meeting. My friend let me know that she found help and hope in the midst of a meltdown.
BECAUSE I SAID THE WORDS. OUT LOUD.
You don't have to have a blog or a platform to speak your truth. You don't have to have a friend in crisis in order to offer encouragement. You don't even have to know who or how your story will help. All you need to do is find the courage to:
SAY. THE. WORDS.