Wild words can praise or punish.
"You are so talented!"
"You are so incompetent!"
Wild words can praise or punish you, can't they?
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words..."
yes, they can hurt us!
How did you feel when reading the first two lines?
Do you remember hearing words of praise when you were young? Did you mostly hear words of criticism?
Words delivered, and laced with poison can pierce the core of your being.
You are responsible for the words that come
out of your mouth.
Before you let them loose, pause to check that they reflect your intent, and respect the person that you are directing your words. If you are using the internet, the person you are writing to cannot see you or hear you speak. Your intent is purely on a screen to read. Misinterpretation is so easy to occur when you can't say something personally. You may not have intended to offend or hurt. So be careful what and how you write to someone else.
How did we grow up with all the messages that were thrown at us when we were young?
It is likely that many of us have been through childhood and teen years hearing a mixture of praising words as well as the hurtful words and statements that inevitably get tossed at us.
What happens when the hurtful words
continue to hurt?
When we are a child, we usually look up to those around us that have so much influence in our lives, and especially for our developing minds. Such as parents and teachers.
What they say can have a lasting effect on our well-being, our sense of identity , our self-esteem, and our place in the world. Depression, anxiety and a range of emotional issues can stem from how we process what others have said or done to us.
If a child heard that they were worthless, imagine the effort later in life, for that person to re-wire their thinking to challenge the concept firstly, and then to re-phrase and re-establish their sense of worth?
No one deserves to be verbally or emotionally abused.
Words can be said in haste,
but their effect can be lasting.
Some of us may have trouble recalling being praised when we were young. But if asked, can we recall being verbally hurled abuse, and hurt by words?
Sadly, for some of us, we may recall these with relative ease.
As a parent, a teacher, a boss at work, realising the power of our words can positively influence those around us too. Regular use of more motivating language, being conscious of what you want to say before you say it, can also have lasting, and positive effects.
We can have some influence over how our children grow up by sharing good times with them and being more conscious of our words with them.
Take a moment, if you feel that you might say something hurtful. You can usually find a substitute word to describe what you want to say.
For example, maybe someone arrived at work, or came home, all wet from being in the rain.
You might want to say, "What an idiot!" But suggesting and saying politely, that they should get dry might be more supportive. (Or maybe suggest that they buy an umbrella?)
You have identified the problem, not the person.
Workplace productivity increases when people feel valued.
Research on the effects of praise and positive reinforcement has proved that people respond with increased productivity when they feel valued, and are shown appreciation.
It is not just monetary rewards that builds satisfaction with work. Although a big pay-cheque is really great, working tirelessly for an unappreciative boss is very dis-spiriting, and in the end you don't usually give of your best. Multiply that by the whole organisation, and the total productivity could be influenced by poor upper management potentially neglecting to value their staff.
We are very fortunate to be able to communicate in such different ways with our enormous variety of online communication. We still have to be responsible for how we talk with one another. Online, or in person.
Watch your words, check your tone, change the accusations and negativity.
Notice and feel your family, and co-workers respond to you in a more appreciative way.
Remember that you do hold the power, with your words and how you deliver them.
Use your words to encourage, to inspire, to educate, to nurture, to reassure, to get clarity, to find out more. Using your words more wisely, enables your communication to have the clarity that you desire.
Your words. Use them with good intent, kindness, and clarity.
Then, perhaps we really can say, that "...words can never hurt us".
By Lynda Kaplan
September 2, 2014