The Power of Words
It is impossible to under estimate the power of words. And yet we toss them around all day every day in print, on the Internet, in conversation, in self speech (that ongoing dialogue in your head) with hardly a thought about what we are saying.
Some of us have learned, through abuse, or through prayer or magic, through affirmations, or through the magic of children or pets, how powerful and important words really are – and we are more careful of what we say or write.
The power of words over our minds is both the blessing and the curse of being human.The power of words is why prayer works. The power of words is why affirmations work. The power of words is why spells work. The power of words is what abusers use to manipulate and abuse their victims. In the last couple of years, I have even seen social workers use the power of words to shame an applicant into accepting refusal of their justifiable claim.
If someone is told often enough that they are a failure, low class, stupid, ugly, no good, useless, worthless, of low morals, and likely to be criminal – those words become true. They become those things.
It is possible to chose not to let those words have power over your thoughts, but I can tell you from experience that it is extremely difficult to overcome that dialogue – especially if it was thrown at you by the people you would normally think of as those who should know and love you, like your parents and family, or people who should be mentors, like teachers and counselors. Your mind – a child’s mind – will internalize those words and every time a situation comes up in your life where you fail your mind will run that old tape of all those negative words that you believe to be true. Your mother said you were stupid, ugly, a failure - so of course you failed. It takes an immense and ever lasting ongoing effort of will to change that internal dialogue. Many people never overcome it – and so we have people raised by abusers who become failures, criminals, or addicts using drugs or alcohol to try and escape that infernal internal dialogue.
Some of us get lucky. We meet a person who does a double take when we spew those words about ourselves, and then tells us that is crazy. That we ARE beautiful, smart, and capable. Maybe it isn’t a person we meet, but a book we read such as Affirmations by Stuart Wilde, or Louise Hay’s books about changing your life. It could even be a DVD or movie like The Secret. You can laugh, but I point to The Rocky Horror Picture Show as the movie that changed my life. The repeated chorus of “Don’t Dream It, Be It” gave me the courage to look at my life, look at all of my “hopeless” dreams, and make the changes to take that from dream it to be it.
In my case, it was all of the above. It was The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It was a lover who one day said to me, “Baby, I don’t know who has been treating you – but they haven’t been treating you right.” It was an employer who became a friend who told me to help myself to her bookcase full of feminist and pagan literature.
You never know when the words that change someone’s life might come out of your mouth – or be written down in your article, blog, or story. If you want to change your own life – change your words, your thoughts will follow, and your life will change.
Don’t dream it, be it.