The Power of Casual Words

You might have changed my life – and you don’t even know it.

The power of words

I’ve gone to powerful conferences, read great books and heard well-crafted sermons.  Marketing people have thought carefully through the letters they’ve sent, and sales people have tried to convince me that they could change my life.

In every case, they were intentional.  The conferences were designed one PowerPoint slide at a time; books were written thought-by-thought; letters were penned with a purpose.

Somebody had an agenda for me, and I willingly participated.

I took great notes.  I read between the lines, and studied the concepts.  I thought about how to apply the ideas to my life.

But the words that have changed my life the most came from you.

They were words you never planned to say, and probably don’t remember saying them.  They weren’t thought out ahead of time.

The power of wordsThey were casual words.  But they filled my tank when it was running low, turned my steering wheel when I was drifting, and put the address in my GPS.  They reminded me why I was on the journey in the first place.

You’re someone I trust.  We’ve built a relationship.  You don’t always know what I’m going through, but you’ll say something casually – unknowingly –  that hits me exactly where I am.  Those words change my life, and I’ll probably carry them with me for years.

For that, I am grateful.  Thanks.

Once in a while, you say words that hurt me.  You don’t do it intentionally.  Your words are casual, and not intended to be malicious.  You’re joking.

But your words cut deep.  I don’t tell you, and you don’t know what was going on inside.  But I might carry those words for years.  I didn’t tell you – my friend – what I was feeling.

For that, I apologize. 

I’ve learned several things from the impact of your casual words:

    1. My casual words are impacting you.
    2. Most of the time, I don’t even know when it happens.
    3. If you’re smiling, I assume you’re OK.  I could be dead wrong.
    4. I don’t know how my words are impacting you, because I don’t know what you’re going through right now.
    5. My casual remarks are probably impacting you more than my planned words.
    6. My words have the power to hurt.
    7. My words have the power to heal.

Knowing the power of casual words, why should I take the risk of hurtful speech, just to be clever or make someone laugh at your expense?

I want my default setting to be words that affirm

It takes practice, but I want to be intentional in my casual words.  I want my words to always carry this message:

“I believe in you.”

Why?  Because we all have times when we don’t believe in ourselves.  When that happens, we need to borrow that belief from someone else.

Thanks for believing in me, whether you knew it or not.  Your casual words changed my life.


If this resonates with you, share it/post it/send it to someone you believe in – or someone who believes in you.

What words did someone say to you that changed your life? Leave your comments below.


  • Diane

    OH, such a great reminder of being intentional about choosing my words with each person I come in contact with. To be present with them instead of worrying about my own agenda or my own insecurities. And – to be honest when words don’t feel so good. A simple “ouch” will suffice.

    • Yep! “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me” — MYTH! The power of life and death is in the tongue . . .

  • Derek

    This is very true and goes along with living a life of Purpose. When you live with purpose you act and speak with purpose. You do not mingle small words or thoughts into your speech. You only speak in grand thoughts and visions, the kind that empower mankind to be bigger than how they are at that very moment.

    Thank you for your thoughts and words!!

    • Nietzsche said, “Those who know they are profound strive for clarity. Those who would like to seem profound strive for obscurity.” Paraphrase: People who think deeply do whatever they can to communicate simply (so people get it). People who don’t know what they’re talking about use big words and grandiose concepts to make people think they’re smart. Your point is well taken – we need the profound thoughts, and we need to communicate them clearly. Thanks, Derek!