It’s time we talk about the power of kind words. I’ve been working remotely for the past five years (long before 2020 rolled around and the world as we knew it changed). So I was used to being the one at home behind a screen. I loved it from the minute I started! But then, what used to be a novelty to everyone else became normalized in the wake of 2020. And that’s not the only thing that became normalized.
I wish I could say that this has only served to make the world we know kinder because of technology and social media. But I’ve seen an increased fear of really interacting and quickness to be short or even rude.
Like arrows through a screen
As an Etsy seller, I know you’re familiar with what I’m talking about. You’ve more than likely seen an uptick of “those” messages come into your inbox over the last 18 months. And while you’re probably used to dealing with unkind words, the influx of “arrows being shot through a screen” doesn’t feel great. On top of that, it can be difficult for YOU not to respond negatively
Related: Speaking of unkind words, here’s how to handle a bad Etsy review
Power of (un)kind words: Sticks & Stones
You know that old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Yeah, they lied.
Bones heal. But words can have a lasting effect on the heart and mind for a lifetime. As an Etsy seller, you’re not the type to sell products that feel distant from you. Instead, you’re pouring your heart into what you make, trying to give your buyers an amazing experience in your shop. So, when you’ve done precisely that to then be met with words that are unfair and unkind, it really hits home and can knock you down.
Human and machines
It’s true that we have become desensitized to the simple fact that there is a real, living, breathing human on the other end of our phones or computer screens. When you send or receive any message, a person somewhere receives it, and it affects them either positively or negatively.
Yes, we may have become better at combating negative and cruel words, but that still doesn’t change the fact that in some way (even if it’s small) they affect us. We are not machines. But it feels like (in general) we live in a society that often forgets this when there is a screen present.
Related: Here’s 5 things to know before you respond to Etsy messages in your inbox
Combating negativity with the power of kind words
So how do we combat this in our own Etsy shops and in our lives?
While I don’t have an answer that will cure the problem, the simple and old-fashioned solution is to simply do what our grandparents would often chant: show common courtesy and decency.
It is the only way to move forward and not perpetuate the systemic problem of being unkind.
The real power of kind words
We underestimate the power that our words hold. We may often forget that the human sending those words could be going through some serious battles in their own life. While this doesn’t excuse being unkind, it does give us the power to change the narrative and send back powerfully positive words instead. I don’t think we can even begin to imagine how much change those kind words can bring to someone else’s life.
I honestly cannot keep track of or remember all the unkind words I’ve dealt with in my life. But I CAN remember that one time 16 years ago when a random person spoke unexpectedly kind words over my super insecure 20 something self and helped change my internal dialogue.
Our words matter.
They hold power.
They can change lives.
I’ve said it so many times that I have people in my own life who laugh when I do. But truly, if you have the chance, throw kindness around like confetti. And know that even though I’m writing this article, I still need this daily reminder in my own life.
So I’m writing it just as much for myself as I am for you. But it is something I want to achieve because I deeply believe that being kind to those around us will also change our own lives as well.
Happy being kind, everyone!