Many of my friends know that I am an avid Scrabble or "Words With Friends" player online. Both are word games using virtual lettered tiles with each letter allotted a certain amount of points. Players love using words with the letters J, Q, X & Z, especially when played on a spot that has double or triple the letter or word, thus racking up the points.
As I was playing the game the other day, I started to think about the words in general, and the tremendous power that's generated once they are spoken. No, we don't get "points," but the impact that comes from the words we speak can affect others in so many ways.
Spoken words can build a person up, or tear them down, they can empower others, or belittle others. They can strengthen or weaken another, they can be kind, tender, and loving words, or mean, cruel, hateful and vicious, and the list goes on and on. Too many times we use words as weapons, cutting swiftly and quickly, devastating & injuring others in a spiteful, vindictive way. On the flip side, when we use our words to inspire, encourage, uplift, or motivate others, their impact can also be long lasting, and in fact, life changing to someone who is in a desperate or dire place.
One thing for certain is that once a word is spoken, it is there for eternity. Even if we later regret saying something, and apologize for saying it, the damage is already done, the wound already inflicted. When I was young, people use to say; "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." What a totally ridiculous saying. Of course looking back now, as a child we would say it to prove that we were "tough," that even if someone teased us unmercifully, their words would be like water on a duck's back, and merely roll off us. How wrong we were. Just think about the many times someones harsh words hurt you and caused you pain. Many children today are bullied, subject to the taunting and teasing from other children. Oh, the pain that can be inflicted, with careless, bitter and ugly words. Take a moment a think about the times you have been the perpetrator, lashing out cruel words to someone else. Oh, you may feel an immediate rush of adrenaline, a sense of "one up pence," but after the initial feelings subsides, what you are left with is a deep, dark hole; a wound that you inflicted upon another person with the use of sharp, destructive words.
I admit that I have been the recipient of harsh bitter words myself; from other children teasing me in the third grade about my weight, to the gym teacher in eighth grade who's thoughtless, teasing words humiliated me in front of the entire class, resulting in my decision to quit school and never finish, until I went back as a grown woman and got my GED at age 38. I wonder if that teacher ever realized the result his senseless, taunting remarks made in my life, and how different my life could have turned out had that incident never occurred? I was a straight A student, and I should never have allowed his words to hurt me as deeply as they did, but I was wounded to the core, and made a decision, I have regretted to this day, all because a teacher (someone who definitely should have known better) used words in a belittling way.
That makes me reflect on some of the words I have chosen to use in my lifetime and what effect or negative impact transpired in someones life because I reacted and use words as a weapon, to defend myself; thus hurting the other person, making me feel better, or even worse, justified.
The power of words. They can be sweet or bitter, soothing, or provoking. I believe words come with attachments. What I mean by that, is that when words are spoken, they emit emotions or feelings; so when a word is spoken, it is not only heard, but it is felt as well. Think of a word, any word. Immediately your mind goes somewhere and you get a reaction feeling, just by thinking of a word. When a word is actually spoken, the emotion connected or associated to that word is then "released" so that the recipient of the word not only hears the word, but feels the emotion of it as well.
To me, some of the most powerful words a person can say to someone is; "I am sorry," "I forgive you," "I love you," and just simply "thank you." Think about how these words make you feel when someone says them to you and the emotions you experience, when you hear them. That my friends is the power of words. So simple, so basic, so elementary, yet so hard to get a grip on, so hard to control. The tongue is such a small member of the body, yet look how much damage is done every day by it.
How are YOUR words affecting other people's lives? Remember to take time to reflect on the power and the impact of them, BEFORE you speak them. Also remember that they are not "just words," they are the very tools that will either build up or tear someone down. Choose your words wisely and with caution, for they are worth far more than you know.