The Power of Words

January 7, 2013

in Life Lessons

the power of wordsWords.

Used wisely, they spark many emotions in a person, including make someone smile, laugh, feel loved, create a sense of safety, or build esteem. Used irresponsibly, words can do serious damage to another. They can cause hurt feelings, create doubt, instill instability, bring on feelings of worthlessness, and create sorrow to name a few.

There are people who intentionally use words as a weapon, and others who are simply thoughtless in their communication. One is cruel, the other irresponsible, but both are wrong. Everyone has a responsibility to exercise self control when speaking and writing, but so few take this duty seriously. It’s sad and frustrating to witness the hurtful updates on Facebook, vitriolic posts written, and hateful arguments that occur. While trying to sway people who choose to be hurtful with words is probably a futile effort, maybe attempting to reach those who speak and publish words carelessly is possible.

In freshman year of college, sitting in a communications class, a professor uttered a sentence that has stayed with me:

“Communication cannot be undone.”

When making a hateful comment to another, writing a rude, thoughtless post on Facebook, or publishing a hate-filled piece about another, it can’t be erased; it remains seared in the mind of those hurt and others who were witness to it. Saying sorry for the words or deleting the writing can’t undo the damage already done.

As for the public forum in which people choose to write hateful, snide, or thoughtless comments directed towards others, it hurts the intended recipient and the reputation of the person who made it. It is more revealing of the character of the one communicating than the person being slighted publicly. It seems obvious, and yet so many seem oblivious to this.

My one wish for people in 2013 is a simple one; it’s something I have been teaching my children from the time they were toddlers:

“Use kind words.”

It’s really that simple. Use words to compliment, build people up, help restore faith in someone struggling, to praise, thank, and acknowledge great qualities. Heeding this advice would lead to so much more happiness in the world–including those choosing to build people up instead of tearing them down.

As we all start off the first Monday in 2013, here’s a little inspiration. This is a wonderful video called, “Say Something Nice.”

Note: Thank you Here Women Talk Facebook community for sharing this video recently.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

@bluenotebacker January 7, 2013 at 12:39 pm

This is such an important message, Kelly, thank you for sharing it. I can remember being in a relationship where my partner would get angry and call me names or say mean things. If I called her out on it or told her how hurtful her words were, she’d simply say, “Well, I was angry,” like that made it okay. It doesn’t, not ever. I’ve probably done it myself.

Here’s hoping we all think about what we say more in 2013.
@bluenotebacker recently posted..Forty Already?My Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress January 7, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Apologies can be given and accepted, but it doesn’t help the wound caused heal any faster. Thanks for the great comment, and taking the time to read it today.

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Kath Galasso (@KatsTheory) January 7, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Beautiful thoughts…and words to start the new year. Some of us have a writing voice which can be harsh and sarcastic, but there’s a difference in that and being mean. And just like Sean said, we’ve all done it…maybe if we think, we can do it a little less.

http://katstheory.blogspot.com/2013/01/because-we-all-want-to-listen-to-al.html

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Naked Girl in a Dress January 8, 2013 at 7:00 am

There is definitely a difference between having a sarcastic voice and being intentionally mean with the words directed toward another; I completely agree.

Happy New Year, Kath.

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Nicole January 7, 2013 at 2:01 pm

I think it’d be a miracle if people could learn to be more selective in their words. Rhere needs to be more thought put into using the right words to convey a difference in opinion, to turn a conflict into a profitable discussion. And I definitely think platforms such as Facebook give people two negative powers: instant gratification and safety behind a screen. Most people who use the kind of language to which you refer probably don’t have the guts to say those words to the recipient’s face.
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Naked Girl in a Dress January 8, 2013 at 7:01 am

I think you are right, Nicole, but I hope that some might possibly slow down to think before typing.

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TB at Blue Collar Workman January 7, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Did someone say something crappy to you that made you post this? I agree though and that teacher of yours is right, “communication can’t be undone.” Very vry true. Especially especially now in the times of internet and videos.
TB at Blue Collar Workman recently posted..Surprises While Fixing a Covered BridgeMy Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress January 8, 2013 at 11:34 am

No, TB, no one said anything directly towards me, but I have been watching some unpleasant things unfold on Facebook and read far too many hateful posts.

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Kay Van Hoesen January 7, 2013 at 9:10 pm

You are so right. Words are mighty. Thanks for the mention. Here’s another great video about the power for words: http://community.herewomentalk.com/video/the-power-of-words

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Naked Girl in a Dress January 8, 2013 at 7:05 am

Thanks for sharing another great video! I am off to watch it now.

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Ben January 7, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Sometimes I find myself offended by something I see online, type a fiery reply but before I hit the send button, try to think of a way to say it that’s a little less hot-headed and a little more respectful. I don’t always, though, and that’s caused me grief.

It’s sometimes hard to remember to do this though, especially when emotions get tied up into it.
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Naked Girl in a Dress January 8, 2013 at 7:05 am

The fact that you stop in think means you understand what I am trying to convey in the piece, Ben. We have all had our angry moments, and said things we wish we could take back. But those who pause most of the time are not the ones doing the damage. I find the ability to communicate over the internet has led to people being less mindful of the words they choose. Slowing down would mean fewer hateful comments. In my opinion, at least.

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