We live in a society where we’re told that words are not powerful. That they don’t mean anything. They are “a dime a dozen”. We should brush them off, ignore them, or discount them. We certainly shouldn’t be so sensitive to them.
When we’re children we hear “Stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” We recognize this is a lie as children because words can hurt; sometimes more than physically getting shoved down.
As we grow older “Actions speak louder than words” is another saying everyone uses. Which can be true, but it ignores some important facts. Like words hurt just as much as a physical hit when we were a kid. Maybe more so, as we often hold onto these words well into our adulthood.
Then there’s how words are used against us daily. By society, media, marketing, our government, but even worse, by ourselves.
Words are important. What we say to ourselves, to others, matters. Words are used to confuse us, to divide us, to conquer us. They can also be used to empower us, inspire us, or free us. Words matter as much as action. Words are often a call to action. They come before we are moved to do something. Or they are used to lull us into passivity.
They are weapons and we can use them to harm or protect. Which do you choose?
For a long time, I used words as a weapon against myself. Many of the people that filled my life did the same thing. They used words as a weapon against themselves and me. It wasn’t a conscious behavior. Growing up I didn’t hear I can be anything I wanted. We were too realistic for that. I heard that I had better get a good job, so I could support myself. My dream of being a writer was just that, a fantasy. It wouldn’t support me. People didn’t mean to do this to me. They had already given up on their dreams. I didn’t understand that. I took their words as wisdom.
Words are weapons.
It didn’t help that I got a C in my creative writing class in high school. Fast forward to college and another writing class where I found myself struggling and I all but gave up on writing and ultimately myself. I stopped dreaming of being a writer. I couldn’t cut it. I wasn’t smart enough. I wasn’t good enough. I sucked. These were the words I had inside.
Words are weapons.
They can be used to harm or protect. They can create or destroy. It’s up to us on how we harness the power. You must choose. How are you going to use your weapon?
I made a choice. I decided it was time to use my weapon for good. I recognized that there is a constant dialog inside of us. If I didn’t get control of mine, if I didn’t learn how to harness it, I would continue to be the victim of it. I had been the victim of it my whole life. I was tired of being the victim. I didn’t know how I was going to do it or if I would succeed, but anything was better than repeating this pattern over and over again.
I chose: Hope, Empowerment, Inspiration, Determination, Illumination
And so, I changed my words. I started telling myself I could do it. I started looking at words as a tool, a skill to be honed. I started being aware of the words people used and how they responded when I used my words. The words that we hold deep inside of us, they are powerful. The things we hear again and again they seep into our consciousness and affect us greatly. I became very sensitive to words. I became so sensitive that I was finally able to sort through and discard the words that would harm me. Maybe that’s what needs to happen; we need to be so sensitive to words that we can finally hear what we are saying to ourselves.
It didn’t happen overnight. It took years. But I’m worth it. You’re worth it. We have a lifetime to get it right. Use it.
Words are weapons, they’re your sword and your shield. What you do with them, that’s your choice, your responsibility. Do you want to create a better world or be a part of destroying it? Your words are your call to power, and the beginning of action. Are you going to act or are you going to be the victim?
It’s a choice and not making one, ignoring it, is also a choice.