We have at our disposal a power that can change lives, make a sick spirit healthy, encourage success, guide those who need it, make or break relationships and create a lasting impression of us as people. That power is the power of words.
All of us use words in everyday conversation, that's the human way of communication. We talk. Words are more powerful than anything on earth. But do we ever seriously think about what we're saying to another person or how we're saying it? Tone of voice and body language all play into what we communicate. How do our words impact our relationships with others? The words you speak to others will determine the feedback you get from them.
The ancients believed that the spoken word contained the power and authority of the Gods. In later centuries, any person who could actually write words was elevated almost to the level of the divine. Words dictated how life should be lived, what you could or couldn't do; they could be used for good or for harm. There were spells, there were prayers. The power of words was awesome.
Words, spoken or written, still hold power today. They can inspire us to achieve goals or they can hold us back from even trying. One simple sentence can make a difference in how a situation is perceived.
"When you say you can't, it means that you won't."
That statement is profound in its simplicity. The meaning is clear; if you think you can't, chances are good that you won't. The power of words is psychological.
Intentionally negative words can lower self-esteem, kill the joy of enthusiasm and change your attitude about life. Well chosen positive words on the other hand, even just one simple word, can motivate and encourage dreams and bring about life changes. What an amazing power we have in words!
But words are sometimes used as sharp, barbed weapons too. A child who is told he or she is "bad" believes it and may live up to that statement. The power of cruel words can damage relationships as well. Said in anger, they still have the power to crush and destroy a person's self-esteem.
Words used to uplift, to motivate, to comfort have a meaning well beyond simple letters strung together. They are powerful in how they make a person feel. Their emotional impact can define a life or change an outlook. Words make human errors forgivable.
Dr. Maya Angelou used words to tell us why we should forgive any mistakes we made in our past. It is hauntingly beautiful.
"You did then what you knew how to do. When you knew better, you did better."
Those two sentences free you to forgive yourself and understand that you are not the same person you may have been at a terrible time in your life. Words are empowering and they can empower you to make healthy and positive life changes.
Writers use words to entertain, to make us think and to inspire. Like a beautiful mosaic, words fill in the corners and crevices of our lives making us laugh, cry and ponder. The words you speak can have a profound effect on the people they reach.
Do we place too much "power" on words, spoken or written? Perhaps actions are more suited to our modern lives? I cannot believe this is true, for while we surely need acts of kindness, acts of love, we need words too. Words convey more than actions because they unite us. Words bring us together in a way no action can. This can be seen in the eyes of someone learning to read. A door to a new world has been opened before them and words are the key that has unlocked it.
The power of words is magical, spiritual, incredible. Nothing is more powerful than words. Use them well in your life.
© 2011 Kristen Houghton
To read more from Kristen Houghton, peruse her articles at KristenHoughton.com
You may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the book critics call "sane and savvy advice for all a must-read," ranked in the top-selling 100 books of 2011 by Tower.com "And Then I'll Be Happy! Stop Sabotaging Your Happiness and Put Your Own Life First."
Her new book, "No Woman Diets Alone - There's Always a Man Behind Her Eating a Doughnut" is due to be released December 1, 2011.