Written by Rachel Macy Stafford of Hands Free Mama
When I began my Hands Free journey five years ago, I did it to free myself from the external distractions, internal pressures, and unrealistic societal standards that prevented me from truly living.
But there was an unexpected result: As my distracted ways lessened, my loving ways increased—tenfold.
For the first time in my life I saw a direct correlation between my undivided presence and my ability to love my people in ways that most nurtured them. When I was in their presence, I studied them. I listened to them. I watched their faces when I used certain words and tones.
I noted what words brought sighs of relief … surges of confidence … and glows of acceptance.
I vowed to say those words more.
I also noted what words brought shame … disconnection … pain … and silence. I vowed to say those words less. Over time, I collected quite a powerful list of words that helped me love my people in ways that helped them thrive.
Like sunlight and water to a plant, these words nourished the deepest parts of their human hearts and fostered growth in all areas of their lives. Hence, I called them Soul-Building Words.
Recently a reader of my blog wrote to me about the disconnection she was experiencing with her daughter. Her daughter was facing great challenges and the mother wanted to support her in ways that would lift and strengthen her.
The mother asked, “Do you have any words I can say to my daughter?”
That is when my mental Soul-Building List became a physical one. When I shared it on The Hands Free Revolution page, many people said they wanted to hang that list on their refrigerator, in their bedroom, in their child’s bedroom, in their classroom, in their office, and even on their foreheads.
“Please make this list a printable!” I heard over and over.
So here is my list of 20 Soul-Building phrases. Click the image below to download your own printable version!
Soul-Building Words for the Ones You Love:
When they need to know how much you love them:
- You make my day better.
- You make my life better.
- I love spending time with you.
- Seeing your face makes me happy.
When they need to know you are ALL there:
- I’m listening.
- My time is all yours.
- How can I be a better _____ (parent, friend, spouse) to you?
- Nothing is more important than being with you right now.
When they are stressed or frustrated:
- How can I help.
- Take your time. You don’t have to rush.
- I think you are doing a tremendous job.
- Keep going. You got this.
When they experience failure:
- Be kind to yourself. You are doing the best you can.
- Mistakes mean you are bravely learning and growing.
- It may not be the outcome you hoped for, but I noticed your effort and it was quite remarkable.
- I believe in you.
When they face a challenge:
- I am amazed at how much you are handling right now.
- I am learning a lot from you by watching you do something so challenging.
- This isn’t over—there’s still time to turn this around.
- You are not alone.
The words “I love you” should never be underestimated, but every human being has a few words that make her soul come alive … that bring peace to his uncertain heart … that help them rise when they fall.
Discover what those words are by watching—what makes her smile? What motivates him to keep trying? What adds a spring to his step?
Commit those soul-building words to memory and say them as often as you can…so that one day you are no longer needed in order for your children to hear them.
About Hands Free Life:
It is a book about living life, not managing, stressing, screaming, or barely getting through it.
I had the privilege of reviewing and providing an endorsement for Rachel’s book, and I mean every word that I wrote:
“I learned just a couple of chapters in to Hands Free Life not to sit down with the book unless I also had a box of tissues at the ready.
Rachel’s truthful style of storytelling brought me to grateful tears again and again, redirecting my gaze me back to the beauty found in my everyday, regular ordinary…and reminding me that perfectionism is not a prerequisite for a hands free journey. Such a freeing message!”
What words have you found that build up the souls of your children?