Dipo Adebayo
4 min readNov 13, 2022



How Two Careless Words Almost Destroyed A Life.

I once tried to find the root of a teenager’s deep timidity.

It turned out that at a certain period as a child, her mum often told her she was stupid and useless. The abuse didn't last for long, and many years passed. But the girl never forgot.

The words had cut deep. Her mother had stabbed her with an angry verbal thrust and never bothered to remove the knife with more encouraging words.

The girl had bled and cried, and at some point in the darkness of her pain, had come to agree that she was indeed weak and worthless.

She let her mother’s hurtful description of her become her description of herself— and that was where she lost the battle.

Low self-esteem led to a chronic timidity that her peers took advantage of. She had since gotten used to being cheated, pushed around, and walked over. All because someone close had spoken harshly.

Words are powerful. They really can kill. But here’s the great part, words can also heal and give life.

By default, we know how to wound with our words. It’s often easier to call a person a fool than to describe them as smart. Condemnation comes easier than compliments, insults than inspiration, and fatal wounds than healing words.

But we can make the switch. Now. We can seize every opportunity to find something encouraging to say rather than tear people apart with our words. We can choose to speak life to others.

Regardless of who they are, rich or poor, old or young, it’s basic human regard that we speak to everyone with a level of respect and courtesy. We need to speak to others as we will have them speak to us.

Life is challenging enough as it is. Let’s not add to people’s burdens with unkind words. Rather, let’s look for opportunities to ease their burdens with encouraging words.

True. Sometimes it could be tough to speak kindly when people annoy us. We are tempted to react with abusive words. But in those moments let's remember this:

hurtful words spoken in anger can't be taken back, and sometimes they can't be explained away.

Is there someone you may have hurt with your words? A child? spouse? friend or family? You can make amends today. Hurtful words may not be forgotten, but they can be forgiven.

Ask that person to forgive you, and henceforth consistently speak encouraging words to them; by doing this, what was broken can be healed.

Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit— you choose (Proverbs 18:21 MSG)

We can choose to use our words to bring life and joy.

Today and everyday, let’s look for opportunities to use our words to give life to others; let’s choose to speak kindly.

In the words of a Chinese saying, "One kind word can warm 3 winter months, while vile talk wounds like bitter cold in June"

So what will your next words be? Someone's life may depend on it.

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You may like these too:

How To Stop Hurtful Words From Crushing You: https://link.medium.com/jb2XGGaIWub

Child begs his parents not to call him stupid—his handwritten note is a must-read for every parent:


Hi. I'm Dipo. I write and speak on soft skills, teenagers, emotional healing, and overcoming fear, failure, shame, rejection, and other self-limiting obstacles to your progress.

Generally, I share content on personal development. You can get free access to my articles here: https://bit.ly/3MB3CUu

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Dipo Adebayo

I am a water engineer, softskills coach, writer & teen counselor. I write on hope and rising above shame, rejection, fear & failure. Follow on IG @dipoadebayo