Are You Using Bulldozer Words or Backhoe Words?

Construction Thoughts

Let’s talk about words today. Have you ever thought about how our words can either build people up or bulldoze people out of the way and do serious damage? I’ve been thinking about this recently, mainly because I was driving by a construction site, and a couple things went through my mind.

First, I had a little bittersweet memory pop up. When my boys were little, they used to love construction vehicles. So much so that I would put them in their strollers and walk by houses in the neighborhood being built so they could watch these vehicles.

I was also looking at the bulldozers and the backhoes. In my mind, they were doing two completely opposite things. The bulldozer was driving over things and pushing things out of the way. The backhoe, on the other hand, was taking dirt and simply putting it in another area and building something bigger. I’m no construction expert, but this is just what I observed.

I thought to myself as I drove by that we tend to do the same thing in the way we speak. Now I’m a life coach, so I always think in this way where I try to match ordinary life situations to a lesson. I was thinking about our words and how they can do damage, or they can build people up.

We Are Accountable

The sobering thing about our words is that we are accountable for every single thing that comes out of our mouth. We can’t blame anyone else for our words. We cannot be like a record player or a cassette player and hit the rewind button or the erase button. Once we speak the words, they’re out and we cannot take them back.

Words can be forgiving, but it’s very difficult to forget them. That’s what is very scary but what we really need to keep in mind before we speak. After thinking about this for a minute, I made a comparison in my mind with a backhoe and bulldozer to our words.

Bulldozer Words

When you and I fly off the handle and begin attacking someone before they have a chance to defend themselves, those are bulldozer words. We can do profound damage when we speak words like that. Our words can be very impactful and powerful, and they can either intentionally build someone up, or on the opposite spectrum, they can be impactful and powerful and careless and do damage.

How many of you have heard words from way back in your childhood, and you have never forgotten them? You have claimed them and you start living your life as if it was the truth. For instance, maybe someone told you that you were the wild child or the troublemaker. Maybe they told you that you weren’t good at math or dance.

We start taking words that bulldoze over who we are, and we start living them out. It’s very sobering. So there are two different extremes here. We can bulldoze over people’s feelings, or we can edify and build people up.

Unsaid Words

There are also different types of words. We can say, or in this case not say, “unsaid” words…those are words that are left unsaid when we should have spoken up. It was the perfect time to say something kind or meaningful or to defend someone, but we choose instead to not say them. They are called unsaid words.

Here are a couple good quotes I found about unsaid words…

“Words left unsaid will sit inside your mind and scream.”

Isn’t that so true? Have you ever left a situation when you said to yourself, I should have said something? And now these words are screaming inside of my head but I chose not to say them? It really eats at you, doesn’t it?

“We are wounded by the words people speak, but we die for the ones that were never spoken.”

We pine for the words when people have the opportunity to edify us and don’t say anything. Unsaid words are very impactful, so we should never miss an opportunity to speak them.

Share these quotes on Twitter!Click To Tweet


Words are timely. The right words at the wrong time can be just as damaging as the wrong words. What I mean is, when we say words when we shouldn’t say them, we might be dismissing someone’s feelings. When we put them down by saying “it’s no big deal” or “it’s going to be ok”…those timely words can be so bulldozing to people. It’s all in the delivery and the timing. Keep that in mind.

Throw Away Words

Let’s talk about throw away words now. Words that self-criticize. “I hate my hair!” “I’m stupid!” “I’m never going to get anything right, I knew I would fail!” Those words do absolutely no good. They also usually turn into repeated words. When we make a habit out of saying the same thing over and over, that dialogue just repeats over and over in our head.

We need to really go on a negativity fast, a self-criticism fast, and we need to stop using those throw away words. Those words bulldoze right over our own hearts. We need to think before we speak, even when it’s about ourselves.


I’m just as guilty of not thinking before I speak sometimes too. I use these types of damaging words, because I’m not perfect. But now, more than ever, we need to watch our words. All you need to do is listen to the news and see how many bulldozer words are really out there. We need more backhoe words in our lives.

You may have heard this acronym before – THINK – before you speak, ask yourself…is it True, is it Helpful, will it Inspire someone, is it Necessary to say, and is it Kind? Use that acronym before you speak anything, and I promise you that your words will almost always be backhoe words.

My Recommendations

I’m going to leave you with a quote from Benjamin Franklin –

“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but also, it’s far more difficult still to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”

Meaning, it’s so difficult to not be tempted to say something wrong.

There’s a book also that I wanted to suggest to you, especially if you’re the mother of a teenage girl. It’s called Speak Love Making Your Words Matter. It’s written to teen girls to be that generation of women who want to focus on bringing words of life instead of tearing others down.

Pay It Forward

I hope you got some value out of this. The theme of all my videos is always paying it forward. I would love if you would pay it forward and share this wisdom with someone else who could use it. We all need a reminder to watch our words at one point or another, right?


Never Miss an Update !

Leave a Comment