The power of words

Who I am
Louise Hay

The power of words

Last update: February 14, 2015

Words, our natural means of expression, have enormous potential… positive or negative. The power of words has been known since the dawn of time, when magic formulas and curses were the order of the day to create spells or to undo them. And even if in the age of reason and technology we don't believe much in magic, it is still possible to recognize that the words we use have important consequences, since there is a close relationship between thought, word and action.

Verbal abuse

Even if words leave no physical wounds, if we abuse them they can cause serious emotional damage, so profound that psychology considers verbal abuse as dangerous as any other form of abuse, such as physical or sexual. For this reason, before saying words, when these are still just thoughts, it is good to understand that we still have time to prevent that criticism, judgment or negativity from leaving us, turning into a poisonous arrow.

At that critical moment it is good to breathe deeply to send a message of calm to the brain, and to wonder if what we were about to say will be uplifting for ourselves and for others: is it a positive contribution or, on the contrary, will it harm people and relationships?

We learn to speak

Yes, in theory we have learned to do this for a long time, right? But it's not just about knowing how to talk, it's about knowing how to do it with emotional intelligence. There are people who, whatever they say, cannot help but include profanities, curses, insults in the sentence, which, scattered left and right, devalue themselves or others. In theory, there is no doubt: they too can speak. However, are they using the resource of the word wisely?

On the other hand, it is true that language first of all fulfills a vital communicative function, so it is not healthy to repress what we think or feel. Which, as imperfect beings as we are, is not always beautiful or rosy. In these moments of negativity, anger or pain we have every right to express ourselves, but others also have the right to be treated with respect.

To succeed, the secret isassertiveness, that wonderful balance that is achieved when we sincerely communicate what we think and feel, in a constructive way. There are some resources we can use to be assertive:

  • The "I" messages: their name comes from the fact that the focus of these messages is how a person feels about someone else's behavior, without judging, accusing or labeling it.

For example, if the children do not tidy up the room, instead of saying “How is it possible that the room is in this state? You are really messy! ”, Using an 'I' message you could say, 'I feel frustrated when you don't tidy up the room because I have so many other things to do, and I would like you to cooperate with me”.

In both cases you are expressing how you feel, but in the first the negativity is discharged on the other; in the second case, however, the center is what you feel, and it does not affect the conduct of the person.

  • He “times out”: Sometimes withdrawing from a potentially conflicting situation in time can prevent us from saying words that we will later regret.

If our goal is to be enslaved, the idea is to take advantage of the "time out" to resume the conversation when the waters have calmed down, so that the words come out in a controlled way, instead of risking forming a river in flood .

We have in our hands (or rather in our lips) the possibility of creating an atmosphere of harmony around us, through our powerful words. Which, after all, perhaps contain more magic than we think.

Image courtesy of Kris Kesiak

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