The Power of Words

“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” ~ Rudyard Kipling

I decided, from an early age, that I enjoyed writing stories. My love of writing began long before the Internet and text messaging came along. “Viral” referred to a physical illness, rather than the rapid spread of information across the globe.

I believe that there was more respect for the power of words back then. Now, it seems that there is little regard for what words really mean.

Growing up, I was discouraged from using the word “hate”. I was taught that, if I said it, I had to give careful consideration to my reasons because it couldn’t be withdrawn once it was out there. I never uttered the words “I hate you!” to either of my parents. I know what might have happened, if I had, but it was more than just about being scared of the consequences. I knew the pain it would cause.

I wish there was more consideration of the way in which words impact people. Derogatory terms now have an element of humor attached to them. Cringe-worthy words pepper the conversations of kids before they even have an understanding of what they’re really saying. It’s considered “cool” to cuss and so every other word burns the ears of the people (un)fortunate enough to be within earshot. Remember the consequence of having one’s mouth washed out with soap for cussing? And rightfully so, too. With maturity comes the realization that saying the f-bomb in every possible way, during a conversation, doesn’t sound so impressive after all.

We all have our own list of words that we wish we didn’t have to hear in every other sentence. One on my list is “Whatever!” If that word had been popular, in its current context, when I was young, I think I might have gotten away with saying it, maybe once, to my parents and that would have been it.

I believe that we should think before we speak, choosing our words very carefully. I believe it would be a wonderful thing if each of us endeavored to expand our daily vocabulary with positive, uplifting words rather than to encourage the continued use of those that inflict abuse, incite/perpetuate hate, shatter self-worth, initiate arguments or damage the human spirit.

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