The power of your words

The power of your words

Words are powerful. They create worlds and move masses of people to action. Words matter. Language is the most important invention that humanity has ever created, and it shapes our thoughts and actions in ways we may not even realize. The power of words can be used for good or evil; they can set people free or imprison them.

The power of words is something that we often take for granted. We use them without thinking, without considering the impact they can have. But words are powerful things. They can build people up or tear them down. They can create happiness or pain. And they can make all the difference in the world. Think about the last time someone said something hurtful to you. It likely left a lasting impression. Now, think about a time when someone said something kind or encouraging to you. How did it make you feel?

I was recently reminded of the power words carry when a friend of mine telephoned. This was not a surprise as we communicate via social media every few months. After pleasantries were exchanged, the individual informed me they were considering suicide. I immediately tried to recall lessons learned in every disaster training scenario I participated in. Fortunately, they continued speaking as I tried to release myself of the shock that struck me.

My friend asked me if I remembered my response to a post they had recently made. For context, while scrolling through social media, I came upon a post where they had made a statement that was totally out of character for them. Normally, when I see persons venting, I do not interfere. But in this instance, I felt inclined to provide feedback. It must be noted that my response to them was no more than five words.

The person told me that my response gave them pause. They had already written a goodbye letter to their family and had purposed in their heart the method they would use to end their life. As we spoke over the ensuing two hours, they shared situations and circumstances that led them to this dark place. Even as they thanked me for causing them to change their mind, I could not help but to wonder about how many more of my readers and the public-at-large were in similar circumstances.

I want to use this opportunity to remind everyone that a smiling face does not necessarily mean a person is doing fine. It is human nature to put on a fa├žade. We see others around us and assume that they are doing well based on their outward appearance. What we should start focusing on is the inward person. Focus on what they say and how they say it. Take the time to put self aside and listen to them. By doing this, we may see signals of trouble.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never break me”. This phrase first appeared in the Christian Recorder in March of 1862. It later appeared as “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never harm me” in 1872. I am convinced this pivot was made after realizing the power of words.

In conclusion, words matter. They are powerful things that can shape our thoughts and actions. We should use them wisely and with caution, as they can build people up or tear them down. Be mindful of the impact your words can have on others and take the time to listen to the words of those around you. You never know when you might make a difference in someone’s life or as I discovered, save a life.

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