The Power of Words
Recent world, local, and personal events have had me ruminating on a particular childhood saying: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
Why is it that we lie to children like this? Why is it that we teach children to lie to themselves? The hard truth is that words do hurt. Words have meaning. We use words to communicate. We use words to spread ideas and to discuss feelings and emotions. We use words to motivate and inspire and persuade.
Unfortunately, we also use words to berate, weaken, harm, and sow doubt. Words are used to drive people apart.
We (yes this includes me) do not always choose our words carefully. We don’t always get across what we want to communicate because we often let our emotions get the better of us. Also, we can not always control how our messages are received. Worse yet, sometimes the intent is to cause harm with our words.
We always need to try to communicate clearly. We need to control our words. There are individuals in the world who understand this concept and use the power of their words to cause division and discontent. There are those who use words to damage, to hurt, to oppress, to weaken, and to shame. Thankfully, there are also those whose words are used to develop worth and to build pride, to strengthen bonds, and to shine light in the darkness.
My words may not always be elegant, gracious, or the clearest, but if I do not attempt to use my words, then I am doing myself a disservice. There is power in words and through words I can find my own power. This power may start small, but at least it is something and it is better than wasting it and not using it at all. I hope that what power of words I do possess can bring people together. I hope that it can help people to think for themselves and that it can serve to build bridges between those with different ideas, opinions, and beliefs.
Because I have learned that words have power, I find that it is my duty to use words to instigate thought and constructive discourse.
Another saying that is often thrown about is, “the pen is mightier than the sword.” I think that this one happens to be true. It is not through the sword that we will bring peace, equality, and education to the world, but with the pen. This is because the pen (communication) requires time and patience, and can explain subtleties while the sword is swift and unyielding and does not leave space for deliberation.
The sword divides, while with the right words the pen can unite .