Language might be considered the major difference between humanity and our fellow beings. Without the power of words, spoken and written, it is highly unlikely we would have achieved a fraction of the progress witnessed today.
It is often said that the pen is mightier than the sword. One may wonder, given the capabilities of modern technology. But every piece of technology began with an idea – expressed in words. And every deployment of that technology – for better or worse – begins with a word.
Words have the power to create or destroy. Parents often work themselves into the ground to buy the best future for their kids, be it the latest toy or game, or an entire education. But we don’t always realize that our words can have a greater effect than material things. Words of encouragement or praise can inspire a lifetime’s journey, while the slightest unconsidered criticism may consign raw potential to the gigantic heap of what might have been.
Words can make the day of another. A simple “good morning” demonstrates that you care enough to make the effort. Just think how much better you feel if someone takes the time of day to acknowledge your existence. You have the power to give this feeling to others, and it costs nothing more than a few seconds of your time.
Another adage worth taking onboard is that if you can’t say anything good, you shouldn’t say anything at all. Negative words can open wounds that never heal, all too often without the intention of the speaker. Silence often is truly golden.
And yet life doesn’t always run smooth. People make mistakes, do things they shouldn’t, and of course these wrongs often need righting with some firm words. In your quest for personal justice, be measured and proportionate in your communications. Say nothing in haste; once an ill-considered remark reaches its target, it can never be retracted. Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words can really hurt us.
But how to cope when the negative words of others are directed towards us? Knowledge is power. Knowing the power of words forewarns us and dilutes their effect. When faced with the unfortunate words of others, visualize yourself surrounded by a solid wall that simply cannot be penetrated by any force in the universe, and see the negative words bouncing off.
It isn’t only the words we exchange with others that hold such power. It’s also the words we feed ourselves. We all have an ongoing inner commentary that we’re so used to we usually don’t notice. But what that commentary says really matters. Make the effort to listen to what’s going on in your head. Are the words angry and resentful? Or are they positive and encouraging? Those words determine how you experience life; so if they’re negative, change them. It takes effort, but it can be done.
Choose your words carefully whenever you meditate, pray, or if you have a personal affirmation. Don’t simply repeat by rote, but feel the power of the words every time you use them.
Be careful too of the words of others you allow over your threshold, ie the newspapers and books you read, the TV and movies you watch, and even the music you listen to. The words you experience should be appropriate to the life you desire.