Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will break my mind

The “irrelevant” experiment went pretty well. In fact, every time I consciously chose to say it, it never failed.

But……

I’m battling negativity that is as habitual for me as blinking and breathing–with a tool as foreign to me as chopsticks were my first time. I still only use chopsticks with sticky rice or potstickers. I can’t use them for an entire meal, it’s too much dang work. And stopping tearing myself down, which I’m actually really good at, using words that I have to think really hard about?

Pffffft. It’s a struggle.

And then my daughter did a super fascinating science project that gave me a kick of motivation: She basically killed a poinsettia using only her words. Seriously.

I’d seen a few projects like this online using rice:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zvm6IBo6Lyw
Basically, kind words are spoken to one beaker of rice, cruel words to another, and a third is completely ignored. Spoiler alert: the rice that was spoken kindly to thrived, while the rice beakers that were ignored and verbally abused rotted and molded.

It’s a lovely idea, but that experiment could easily be staged for Youtube to display manipulated results. I wanted to see the experiment with my own eyes.

She used the bigger, healthier looking plant as the one she’d be rude to, just to be sure of the results. She watered the plants at the same time every day with the same amounts of water. She whispered to both plants every day for 14 days.

The one on the left she spoke kindly to. The one on the right she spoke cruelly to.

By day 5 the negative plant showed some alarming changes. The petals started to curl, and some began to fall. Holes developed in some of the petals.

Day 5. Notice the petals curling, and the leaves and petals that have fallen. It’s still the bigger healthier plant, but not for long.
Hole developing on a petal.

 

Halfway through it hit me. She was killing the thing. I wanted her to quit. I wanted her to try to bring it back with kind words. But the data was incomplete and she needed to see it through. By the end of the experiment that big beautiful flower was not thriving. It wasn’t dead, but it was sick. Not even close to what it had been in the beginning–what it was meant to be.

 

Both of these flowers were unique. They had variations in coloring, in size, in shape of petals and in the overall plant. Both were fantastically beautiful living things. Until the external force of the words took effect.

I think I get it now. My words, my thoughts, my very idea of myself is keeping me sick. Keeping me from thriving. Keeping me from being who I’m meant to be. Who I want to be. And if I can learn to use these powerful, uplifting words on myself, what can I become?

We’re human beings. We’re meant to thrive. That’s worth the effort, don’t you think?