While preparing to write about this, I did an online search and found this question, which echoed my own, on a website called THE STRAIGHT DOPE: Fighting Ignorance Since 1973. This question was asked by kittenblue, a charter member, on 6/29/12.
Here is the question:
“’Use your words.’ When did this phrase become popular? When my kids were toddlers (1982-1988) I don’t recall ever hearing this phrase used to encourage children to verbalize rather than use my son’s favorite method, pointing and grunting. Nowadays, you hear the phrase ‘Use your words’ coming from the lips of every young mother, teacher and comedian across the land. So when did this become a ‘thing’ and who started it?” No answers were posted.
So, I did a further search to find some answers, and here is what I came up with.
1998 is the earliest media reference I can find. It’s from the movie, Stepmom, with Susan Sarandon. The quote is, “No name-calling. Use your words.” My next find is in 2002 with Austin Powers inGoldmember. That quote is, “You want down Mini-Me? Use your words like a big boy clone.” I also found it verbatim in the 2005 movie Must Love Dogs and combined with, “Words, Shorty. Use your words” in the 2007 movie Bring It On; In It to Win It.
It’s a great line! I’m so glad parents and teachers across the land have found it and now use it to encourage children of all ages to express themselves more readily.
Now, if only the rest of us would get a clue! Previous generations grew up without such universal encouragement and, I would suggest, therefore, carry many unspoken words bottled up inside just waiting to be expressed.
Because the 1st Law of Thermodynamics is just THAT…a law…or inescapable truth, like gravity…those unspoken words are actually being expressed, just not in words per se. Let me explain.
Simplified, the 1st Law of Thermodynamics states energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only change forms.
So, for example, when no words are given to the energy created by an emotion, that energy has to go somewhere!
If you’re not comfortable expressing your emotion with words, maybe you go shoot some hoops, play some racket-ball, ride your bike, take a walk, sing a song, laugh, cry, or hit a pillow…you get the idea. For some, those unexpressed words may come out in weeping. Others put a humorous twist on such difficulties and express their resulting emotions with laughter. For another, because they’ve found no other outlet, it may come out in violence or inappropriate screaming and shouting.
Maybe you’ve heard the expression, “Laugh or cry…it’s the same release!”
Again, that energy, that emotion inside of usHASto come out somewhere. That’s one way great songs, plays and operas are written, symphonies composed, and art created…out of the need to outwardly express that which is within us.
I grew up thinking it was unacceptable to speak my negative emotions. I felt it was only okay to let the good ones see the light of day.
Sadly, as I became older, I failed to see my need for a positive expression of the negative energy which was building up inside of me. I believe the fact that I was a singer and an athlete in my younger years saved me from what might’ve become deeper difficulties earlier in life.
Most of any negative emotional energy was burned up with my singing or with athletics.
But later in life I stopped singing and became less active. It would seem my negative thoughts got stored up in my body because I started feeling anxiety, over-concern and worry about things I had no control over and, eventually experienced illness expressed by allergies, asthma, fibromyalgia, etc.
Rather than burning up any negative energy outwardly, talking to someone about it, or “using my words,” it’s like it smoldered there, burning up my inner bodily resources instead. It wore my body down into a state of dis-ease or ill-ness which I’ve been working to come back from for 12 years now.
Of course, I didn’t have any idea this is what I was doing or I would’ve stopped myself!
During this period of my life, I didn’t know I was living in a “sick” house full of hidden mold and mildew which was challenging my immune system. I had allowed myself to get over-busy, working a job full-time and then taking care of aging parents, not taking care of myself, after work hours. I took my body for granted because it had always been able to keep up with any demands I’d placed on it before. I failed to allow myself a healthy rhythm of rest and renewal to counterbalance my work and the emotional exhaustion that came from taking care of those who were having difficulty taking care of themselves.
I’d stopped taking time to slow down and reflect on what was going on in my life and why.
Maybe if I’d talked to a counselor or psychologist I would’ve processed things better and not become so ill. At least, that way, I would’ve been forced to “use my words” about what was happening and possibly, would’ve sorted it all out in a more health-promoting way.
But, upon reflection, I wasn’t even in-touch with the fact I had these negative things building up inside.
It’s like my ill-ness was my body’s, and God’s, gift to me to force me to slow down and reflect and seek professional healers to help me sort out my self-imposed mess.
I recently read something about the regrets of the dying.
For many years this woman, Bonnie Ware, worked in palliative care. Her patients were those who had gone home to die. When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, five common themes surfaced again and again.
One of those is, “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”
She writes, “Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”
Also related to what I wrote in my last blog entry, she continues, “We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from you life. Either way, you win.”
Only as I’ve chosen to “use my words” to speak about what’s bothering me, and found positive ways to express those emotions, have I been able to move away from my ill-ness, overcome my body’s dis-ease, and heal.
I’ll end my blog entry this week with Bonnie’s final words on her website: http://www.inspirationandchai.com/Regrets-of-the-Dying.html.
“Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.”
“Use your words” to be happy.