I found the following story at http://networkedblogs.com/p24843237 which, through a story about frogs, describes the importance of the affect of your words on other people. In yoga it is part of practicing the austerities of speech, or learning control over the organ of speech or vak indriya.
A number of frogs were travelling through the woods. Two of them fell into a deep pit. All the other frogs gathered around the pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead.
The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all of their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead.
Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down and died.
The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out.
When he got out, the other frogs said, “Did you not hear us?” The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.
This story teaches two great lessons:
There is the power of life and death in the tongue. An encouraging word to someone who is down can lift them up and help them make it through the day.
A destructive word to someone who is down can be the push over the edge. Be careful of what you say. Speak life to those who cross your path. Anyone can speak words that can rob another of the spirit to push forward in difficult times.
Special is the individual who will take the time to encourage another. So my wonderful friends, always be kind and encourage others.