Like You Mean It

“Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.” -Yehuda Berg

Sometimes I just forget how true this is. It’s actually one of the reasons that I chose to start writing. I’ve never been the type to be “good” at talking. For the longest time I would stumble over my words (and I still do) and I’d get so much anxiety over the possibility that I’d say the wrong thing. But when I’m writing, I get the chance to review and reflect on what I’m saying. I can carefully think things through. Words are so powerful and proper word choice is key.

And I think it’s really awesome to be able to harness that power, which is why I chose to study English at university. Sometimes my friends would tease me because I wouldn’t always know the definition of a word, but I’d always say something like “It’s not like I’m studying the dictionary.” Studying English, for me, was more about learning about life in general and interpreting minute details in the grand scheme of things. We read book after book after book and the goal was never to just expand our vocabularies. Of course, it sort just happened anyway, but the goal was more understanding why people do things and why things happen. Watching the cause and effect of strong conversation on the page has the potential to really change your outlook on life. But I don’t mean for that to sound like you have to study English to be a master of the English language, but reading a book or two couldn’t hurt.

As a result, I feel that I’ve become a better communicator, dissecting situations and examining them from multiple points of view. And I really feel like my words carry more impact now because I’ve learned just how impactful words are. I’ve been hurt and helped by powerful words. I’ve hurt and helped others with powerful words. But the power of words is not determined by their length and complexity.

I’ve become a firm believer in never saying anything unless I mean it. Understandably, I say a lot of impartial things. Then there’s a bunch of factors other than sincerity like trust, tone, and timing. Words are just the backbone of this incredible force we’ve been afforded and being able to make use of it is completely dependent on your understanding of that force. And that shouldn’t be a scary thing.

I guess where I’m going with this is making sure you mean what you say by carefully thinking things through. For instance, my sort of neutral responses I give while I’m still mulling things over sometimes get me in trouble. Choosing a stance and sticking with it is pretty much always the way to go. Unfortunately, trying to be good to everyone can make you come off as confused. How can you be trusted by either sides of a conflict if you try to be a part of both? “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” -Winston Churchill

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