The power of words


November 24, 2021

Have you considered what impact your words may have on someone else? In this blog Simon Gamewell, Health and Social Care Advisor at TAP (Thank and Praise), shares why he decided to join the TAP community and we hear a heartfelt poem by care home manager, Donna Jones.  

TAP

Words are the framework of our emotions. We express much of our feelings through words. Words have the power to build people up, confine people to where they are, and break people down. Human relationships are designed, defined and developed by our use of words.  

In our modern world, we tend to change business practices based on words in the form of constructive feedback; however, this often over-emphasises the negatives. In every walk of life, there is always a clear platform for words of complaint and criticism, whether in doctors’ surgeries, schools, or social care organisations.  

The flip side of this is words of gratitude, but the route for sharing compliments is less clear. We can spread positivity through the power of gratitude in the form of positive words and the best thing is that gratitude is a tool that can be used in both our personal and professional lives.  

In the workplace we can practice gratitude to increase productivity, build resilience and reduce staff turnover through the power of gratitude. If we all show gratitude in the form of supportive words to our peers and don’t take others for granted, we will also increase staff morale and strengthen the bonds between individuals and use this as the foundation to build rock solid teams.  

Our personal relationships can also be strengthened by the power of gratitude. Regularly saying words such as ‘thank you’ and ‘I appreciate you’ creates an atmosphere of positivity where people can grow and flourish!  

Gratitude in the form of positive words is the gift that keeps on giving. If I express gratitude to someone, the recipient of that gratitude feels their actions are validated and they feel they need to express gratitude, too. Just like this heartfelt poem from a frontline care worker written during the peak of the pandemic. 

 

A Heartfelt Thank You by Donna Jones  

You can also listen to the poem: ‘A Heartfelt Thank You’ by Donna Jones, Care Home Manager   

To all the staff who work in care, 

I wanted to share a little word. 

Not just for care staff in Britain, 

but carers all over the world. 

 

You work so hard as part of a team, 

to deliver the best care you can, 

these last few months have been so hard, 

when your COVID-19 journey began. 

 

Thank you for supporting each other, 

when times were really tough, 

I know many hearts have been broken, 

cos you thought you hadn’t done enough. 

 

Let me tell you something right now, 

you have all been brave from the start, 

it can’t have been very easy for you all, 

seeing families and friends torn apart. 

 

I feel so proud of the things you have done, 

to keep your residents safe, 

from dancing on TikTok and raising some funds,

You’ve excelled my belief in faith. 

 

I recognise your dedication, 

to the industry in care, 

and only clapping for our NHS, 

seems wrong and certainly unfair. 

 

You deserved the applause from the public, 

every Thursday night at eight, 

not just outside of the Hospital ward, 

but outside the care setting gate. 

 

You work just as hard as our nurses, 

who do a marvellous job may I add, 

but you deserve the same recognition, 

for being there for my mam and your dad. 

 

So, all you care managers out there, 

I thank you from the bottom of my heart, 

for supporting your care teams daily, 

and helping those who were falling apart. 

 

Author, Donna, Care Home Manager

 

Life-defining moment  

I have long been aware of the power of words as a force for positivity, having worked in the entertainment and education sectors for many years. The words of validation received by audience and students alike, is precious and is cherished. It makes all the hard work and preparation worthwhile.   

However, about five years ago, my life changed dramatically when a life-threatening accident left me with a spinal cord injury and in a wheelchair. 

I was in hospital for over a year. I got to know the nurses very well and some of them have become my friends. When you are a long-term inpatient, you see the other patients come and go and you see the pure joy on the faces of the nurses when someone takes the time to express gratitude, whether it’s a simple but heartfelt face-to-face “thank you” or a lengthier hand-written letter. 

I joined forces with TAP (thankandpraise.com) in 2020 because I saw it was an opportunity to continue to spread positivity through the power of gratitude, principally in the form of words.  

During the pandemic, gratitude was at the forefront of our minds  – we clapped for carers and shouted words of encouragement for the unsung heroes, especially those in the social care, healthcare and education sectors. As we now emerge from the pandemic, I believe that it’s vital that we continue to show gratitude to those very deserving key workers.  

 A journey of thanks  

To keep gratitude in the conversation, and to encourage everyone to continue to express words of appreciation and make our world a more positive place, I decided to take gratitude “coast to coast”. It was quite literally gratitude on the move – I travelled across the country on my mobility scooter sharing words of heartfelt appreciation! 

I started in Liverpool on the west coast and travelled to Skegness on the East coast. I called in at hospitals and social care organisations along the way, which gave me the opportunity to personally thank some of these wonderful people who are continuing to keep us and our loved ones safe. In addition to expressing my personal thanks I was able to share some of the dedications of gratitude that have been left on TAP’s thanking walls.  

Powerful messages such as this one: 

“Thank you all Carers for the demanding job you do. You are worth your weight in gold”. 

It would have been wonderful to thank all essential workers personally but obviously this is impossible.  

It made me realise even more, the vital service that TAP provides. We don’t always have the opportunity to say the words we’d like to, to those who deserve it, at the time we perhaps should.  

 

Making a difference  

TAP helps to spread positivity through the power of gratitude in three key areas:  

  • Thanking the individuals and the care workers who deliver the care. Working tirelessly to keep us safe and healthy! Making each of us feel important, even though they are treating many others in the same way. 
  • Praising the organisations that facilitate that care, the care homes, hospitals and community centres. 
  • Raising funds to ensure that keyworker organisations can continue to provide care into the future.

One of the great things about the power of positive words is that gratitude doesn’t have a sell by date! During those moments when we owe others a debt of gratitude for their courageous actions, we are aware that it would do us the world of good to spread some positivity – carefully selected, positive, words of appreciation. However, despite our wishes, we are incapable of doing it. Moments such as reaching crisis point, or the time when we want to get out of hospital, or when we are concerned about the welfare of our loved ones or when we are bereaving our loss. 

It is often only when we are able to take a step back from these points of crisis, that we are emotionally able to turn our attention to expressing gratitude. Using TAP’s platform, it gives us time to choose the right, appropriate, powerful words of appreciation, safe in the knowledge that our message will have a positive impact on that deserving recipient. 

Often the time lapse between the action and the gratitude strengthens and intensifies the level of thanks. 

I hope I have been able to spread positivity through the power of gratitude. I also hope that my efforts will encourage others to continue to express gratitude to these very deserving recipients and, hopefully, together we can change the world for the better through the power of positive words and gratitude!  

Let’s make sure we use the power of words for positive and upbuilding purposes. It’s up to each and every one of us to use our words to make the world a more positive place! 

You can watch a short film of my trip with thanks to BBC Look North.

 You can share your words of thanks using TAP’s free-to-use social thanking platform in a number of easy ways: 

If you’d like your social care organisation to benefit from TAP’s free-to-use social thanking platform, please contact info@thankandpraise.com         

About Simon Gamewell

Simon enjoyed a long career teaching English in South East Asia, where he often received messages of gratitude from his students. It made him realise the power of gratitude, knowing that it’s possible to make a difference to people’s lives. In 2016 he had a life changing accident which left him in a wheelchair with a spinal cord injury. This put him on the opposite side of gratitude. The people who work tirelessly and selflessly to provide the care needed to aid his recovery are truly thankful and appreciative of the gratitude he gives them. Simon joined TAP because he realised the potential of giving and receiving gratitude has the power to make the world a more positive place and by devoting his time and energy to such a socially energising cause, he could be part of that positive change.

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