#25 Talk Happy to be Happy

Throughout the ages, people’s desire to be happy has not changed.  However, their approach for making that happen has taken a wrong turn.  One simple way to be happy is to talk happy.  You must talk happy to be happy.  This creates a cycle.  You talk happy to be happy and when you’re happy, you talk happy.

We want to be happy and want other people to be happy because we feel safe with happy people.  When we view people as safe, we believe they are successful at life and want to be around them.  So, happiness is kind of an indicator for how successful one is with relationships and accomplishments.

Even though people want to be happy, many are not.  Some people put on a good front to fool others into believing they are happy.  Those who admit to being unhappy usually blame it on their circumstances or other people.  But, listen to the way these folks talk, especially the words they use.  They don’t talk happy – even during everyday conversations.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been walking down the street or in the grocery store and overheard conversations that if viewed on family television, would be nothing but a steady tone of beeps.  People don’t realize the importance of their words.

Words Define Who We Are

Our words define who we are.  Jesus said, “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” (Matthew 12:34 AMP)  So, how can anyone define him/herself as happy when he or she talks using foulmouthed, angry, bad words?

With the last name, Fuchs (pronounced Few-ks), I’ve had my share of hearing obscenities.  I am confounded why people aren’t more sensitive to last name pronunciations.  After all, last names are important.  They came about to identify one’s geographical roots, occupation, physical features, or parents.  In my case, the mispronunciation of Fuchs, when people assume the h has a k sound, alleges bad things about me.  It’s a disrespectful gesture from people I don’t even know.

Perhaps the ease of name mispronunciation comes from the ease in which people use such indecorous language.  Our society is becoming more and more accepting of words, behaviors, and attitudes that in prior years were immoral and socially illegal.  This cannot be indicative of an advanced society since an advanced society would strive to better its health and happiness by encouraging one another.

Social Rules, Including the Way we Talk, Are Like Guardrails on the Highway to Happiness

A healthy society must have laws.  Therefore, we must have civil, moral, and ethical standards.  We must have limits for what is acceptable and unacceptable.  Think of social rules like guardrails.  They help us stay safe and happy.  They keep us in alignment, prevent us from running into each other, prevent us from veering off course, and keep us from going over the edge plunging to our deaths.  If you remove these balustrades, keep bending them, allow them to deteriorate, or don’t put any in place you jeopardize the health and wellbeing of people.  Society will suffer.

Some of these social rules include the way we talk, especially the words we use.  Our words, inflection, and tone of voice express how we feel about ourselves and others.  People tend to focus on the effects their communication has on others, but don’t realize the impact it has on them.

Words Affect the Speaker More Than the Listener

When we talk to others, they hear, see, feel, and maybe think about what we are saying.  But, as speakers we see (in our minds or maybe on paper), say, feel, physically gesture, think, and hear our words.  In their book, Words Can Change Your Brain, Dr. Andrew Newberg, Director of Research at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital’s Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine and Mark Robert Waldman, Executive MBA Faculty at Loyola Marymount University write, “a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.”  “Angry words send alarm messages through the brain, and they partially shut down the logic-and-reasoning centers located in the frontal lobe.”  Therefore, we are how we talk.

Bending the Guardrails Allows You to Just Survive

We must talk happy to be happy and it’s true that everyone wants to be happy.  Then, why do so many people talk badly?  For example, I’ve noticed the f-word is being integrated into every day vernacular, seemingly with no resistance.  This acceptance is bending the guardrails.

F*** was a negatively connoted word when it originated in the 14th century and that hasn’t changed.  Therefore, anyone born after 1399 knows the f-word is a “bad” word.  In fact, it became one of the most vulgar and obscene words in English history.

I confess I’ve dropped the occasional f-bomb.  I was mad and frustrated when I used it so I already didn’t feel good.  But, I felt worse after the fact.  The moral of the story for using immoral words – when you use a bad word during a time  you already feel mad, frustrated, and contemptable you end up feeling guilt, shame, anger, and hatred.  Recall these are our natural survival emotions.  (Survive means to just exist, not live happy.)

Survival Mode Perpetuates Bad Talk and Vice Versa

When you use negative, obscene, distasteful, and disrespectful words that you know are bad, you make yourself feel as bad as the words you use.  “For the ear tests words as the tongue tastes food.”  (Job 34:3).  This kind of talk keeps you in survival mode (your nature) leaving you with the defensive attitude of self-preservation.  In turn, your attitude will lead you to use more bad words.

Maintain Social Guardrails

We must maintain social guardrails in order to have a healthy happy society.  Start by keeping your guardrails in position:

  • Pay attention to the words you use and how you feel when and after you use them.
  • Think about the effects your words have on other people.  Are they encouraging or discouraging?
  • Decide how you want to feel and use words associated with that, e.g. “I really enjoyed…” “My heart is so joyfu!” “I am satisfied with ____.”
  • When you are mad, frustrated, or offended use funny or silly words.  For example, the f-word originally meant “To strike.”  The next time someone offends you, maybe you could just say, “Strike you!”  Back in the day, we used words like, “Rat fink” and “Stinker.”  Using words that sound silly instead of mean will diffuse your anger and make the situation less serious for you.  You’ll keep your heart light and healthy.
  • Use “happy” a lot.
  • Simply refuse to use words that make you feel bad.
  • Use words that are uplifting.

Bless Others With Your Words

We get happy when we help or do for others.  Therefore, use words that bless others.  “Do not let unwholesome [foul, profane, worthless, vulgar] words ever come out of your mouth, but only such speech as is good for building up others, according to the need and the occasion, so that it will be a blessing to those who hear [you speak].”  (Ephesians 4:29 AMP)   Bless others and you’ll be blessed – just by talking happy.

  Talk happy to be happy