Let’s go…PUSH…you got this…keep it up…nice job… I love you…I hate you…It’s fine…No problem…Stupid…Weird…the list of impactful words can go on and on.
Sometimes, just hearing a word can evoke a visceral reaction. They convey meanings that can affect how we choose to live our lives as well as impact others. Words have the power to inspire and dissuade.
Everywhere we look, street signs, advertisements, commercials, songs, books, etc. we see words. Whether we attach meaning to them is solely up to the observer. Nonetheless, it is our responsibility to be careful with the words we choose because of the irreputable and long-lasting emotional damage they can cause. Often, words are more painful than the act of physical abuse and the internal wound can last longer than any physical scar.
The way we feel about ourselves is also strongly influenced by the words we choose to say.
If you keep telling yourself “I am stupid”, somewhere in our subconscious we begin to believe it. Or, if you express to others that you are stupid, they will ultimately adopt that same point of view about you. Being careless with the words you use to describe yourself can cause psychological damage.
Clearly, there are so many areas in our daily lives that are directly affected by our choice of words. Parenting, for example, can literally change the trajectory of a child’s life. My husband and I would often joke about how powerful we are over our kids. We could literally obliterate their self-esteem with one or two words. It gives me the chills to think about the control we have over a child’s self-worth. Seemingly innocuous words or joking can leave an indelible mark. I abhor the word stupid. Even writing it now creates a negative feeling. In one of my favorite shows, the dad always calls his kids “morons” and “dumbasses”. Even though I laugh, I often wonder if being called those names by a parent your whole life could create a low self-esteem. I am not perfect by any stretch, and often catch myself calling my kids a “name” despite knowing better. They shrug it off, but I wonder if there’s some damage being caused. According to an article in Psychology Today, “Verbal abuse in childhood inflicts lasting physical effects on brain structure.” So not only can words create emotional damage they can have a negative physiological impact! So scary!
I know that choosing our words wisely is not a new concept. In fact, we are taught at a very early age that if we have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything at all. Or, the incantation of sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me. Despite knowing better, and the fact that names can do more harm that sticks and stones…we are human and imperfect, so consider this a friendly reminder!
Here’s the love…
We all need to exercise some word control with ourselves and everyone we encounter daily. The word itself is not dangerous, it’s the person using the word that can cause the most damage.