The Power of Words

Over the last years language has become harsher, more cruel, more divisive. This is one one those blogs where I’m tempted to say ‘Is it just me?’, but I don’t think so. Words are powerful. They influence mindset, attitude, moods and yes, even outcomes. Sounds like a lot? Well it is. Why would marketing be such a big business? Why is so much thought put into choosing product names? Title? Taglines? Why does advertising re-re-repeat the same message about a brand? How are some people so persuasive? 

You might think I was inspired by the US elections, and all that led up to it. We got to see a lot of words used in some very hateful ways. But that’s not really where the idea for this blog came from. It’s been floating around in my head for a while. From workplace conflicts, off-hand remarks, to news to social media comments.  It’s seeing words create an atmosphere, an image, a reputation that becomes real and accepted, even if it’s not. 

Words Stick

I’ve spoken about this before when I talk about manifesting. Words have tremendous power. They stay in our mind and influence our thoughts. You can’t un-hear. You can’t completely dismiss what was said. If you do, usually by discrediting the source, that idea still exists, still floating around, carrying that energy, sustained because it’s true for someone else. That power remains and you can find yourself coming up against it again and again. 

Think of a person being told their spouse has been unfaithful, by the person they cheated with. You can discredit them, not believe it, know it to be untrue. But there’s that idea, image, bringing its energy with it. Think of a castle wall hit by a rock. There’s no structural damage, the wall is still standing, but there’s a dent.

That’s the destructive force of words, they create an image, carry an energy that becomes real enough to make someone behave consequently. That’s called labelling. To avoid opposition people hide or lie about their opinions, they avoid a subject, because the negativity attached to it is all too real. I worked in a job where our organization went virtual. We became nearly paper free and everything was done online. Some co-workers were negative. They’d use every chance to yell out how awful the system was. Literally yell it out, with the f-word and the s-word. We avoided talking about what we were learning with the new system when they were present. We acted differently to avoid their negative onslaught.

A common occurrence

Call it bad behavior or verbal abuse or even bullying or slander. Wether mean words thrown out or unkind labels used behind someone’s back, it seems there’s more than ever before.  On the job conflicts are a great example and I’ve witnessed a few. The parties can’t separate and never see or speak again: they still have to work at the same place. Even if they don’t interact, the energy carried by the hateful words they use when referring to each other poisons them and the atmosphere for everyone. This isn’t woo-woo stuff. When we talk about bad environments, this is why.

Those words I heard (I won’t repeat them, but I’m talking serious bad language) carried intense dislike, even hate. They were mean and negative. They recreated that energy of conflict. And regardless of the fact I understood where both parties were coming from, it became heavy and I found myself resenting both sides. 

Social media is another fertile ground for harsh words. It’s not enough to disagree on a topic, the other person becomes an opponent who must be destroyed. The clash of ideas or divergence of opinions quickly becomes destructive criticism of the other person. When did we start getting so hyped? Was it when the online anonymity allowed us to stop using a normal social filter?

How did we get here and is it helping anything?

When did this start? How did it get so intense? When did we lose the ability to choose our battles, walk away or ‘get over it’? There’s a lot of inappropriate affect.  In other words, disproportional response.

And what about being the source of mean language? What’s the effect of that on self? Who wants to be a continuous fount of venom, conjuring up and spewing out that hate? How is that going to help anything? Is it seen as standing up for yourself? That’s fine, but it’s not supposed to destroy you. 

Yes, we’ve all been triggered by someone who really pushes our buttons, or has truly wronged us. Or by a corporate decision that makes our life hell. But I refuse to hate. Hate is a dark, draining energy that turns against you. Don’t go there. And if you’re there, work to get out. Get help if you need it.

Hateful words carry a negative energy, a low vibration and a destructive potential. It hurts the person saying them or writing them because they are creating that energy, cultivating it, giving it life and spreading it around them. It hurts those who read it or see it or hear it, even if they’re not the target. Hate is the lowest vibration. Everybody can pick it up. You don’t have to be psychic to feel that energy. You don’t even need it directed at you. 

I think the world could be better if we chose better words. At least it would be a start.

Photo by Quinten de Graaf on Unsplash

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