The Power of Words

May 02, 2011
Tagged with:

One of the most profound things that set us humans apart from all other animals is the manner and rate at which we communicate with one another in words. These words come in many languages, dialects, and accents which span the continents and make us able to share what we really feel.

Words are very powerful. Words can be used for the persuasion of one to convince the other that their own words aren’t adequate. Words can be used to express what will otherwise be left unnoticed in one’s heart. Words can even be used as weapons—ever so subtle, yet equally deadly.

Gaining my now-required wheels at the age of sixteen, words meant more to me that nearly anything else. Was I “handicapped”? Did I now have a “disability”? Should I be offended by words like “cripple” and “gimp”? Even the manner in which you connect your words together to form sentences become tricky. I have always been very hesitant to say, “I AM a paraplegic” or “I am CONFINED to a wheelchair.” I strategically move words around to create more soothing phrases like, “I am a woman with paraplegia” or “I use a wheelchair to get around”.

Purely acknowledging the power that words can hold is extremely advantageous for anyone. For me, I spend most of my days lecturing and attempting to inspire teenage minds. I have found that you have to be very careful and mindful of your words when trying to reach this demographic. They won’t tell you if they don’t understand a word, so don’t try to impress them with your extensive vocabulary. You must keep it simple yet impactful. You must understand the minds behind the ears that you are presenting your own sound waves to.

This week in particular, when meeting with a certain special teen, I found myself uttering one of the most simple concepts that I live each day by: Living for the present because that is the only thing in life that is guaranteed. Those words danced a soft waltz straight into this teen’s temporal lobe and, almost as instantaneous as it was spoken, she added it to her own list of worthy words to remember and hold on to. These words were simple, yet I am almost certain that they changed her life.

On the same note, words are not something that should be held onto if they are created in your heart. Very few people speak from their heart and hold onto those words out of fear and risk of regret. Think about the words that you wish people would express to you and ask yourself why you are holding on to those same sorts of words that were also molded out of your own true feelings. That same day, this teen let go of some of the words that were previously held by her own fear of judgment and ridicule. She told me that she thought I was an amazing person, which, to my surprise, was extremely hard for her to say.

We’ve created this world of words and hold high respect for it. We are superior beings because of it, but what’s the use if we hold onto those words that have the potential to change a volatile teenage mind or compliment a secretly self-conscious mentor?

Use words with the spirit and responsibility of your heart. Use words to define feelings that you have for the world and others, for all of those other words that don’t fit in here simply don’t matter and are better left unsaid anyway.

Author: Ryan McLean