Over the past couple of days a very dear friend of mine has been telling me of her struggle with standing up for and protecting a loved one who is largely unable to speak for and defend herself. Today, in our conversation, my dear friend was excited to tell me that her diligent efforts had paid off – her loved one’s care was being investigated and would drastically improve. My friend enthusiastically stated, “The power of words – this just goes to show you how powerful they can be.”
I agreed, hands down. I was also struck for a moment as I pondered her statement about how powerful words are and can be, how I had written a few months ago about my war with words and how damaging or destructive they can be. In this moment though, I realized with the certainty of the example she had just provided, how wonderfully constructive and how powerful in a positive way they can be also.
My dear friend had used her words to advocate and to prove what she needed to. She hadn’t demeaned anyone or degraded them in pleading the case of her loved one, but she had used the necessary words in such a way to express her feelings and how important it was that the situation be investigated properly.
Words are powerful. They can build up and they can tear down. They can prove and they can disprove. Words can lead to belief or disbelief depending on how they are used. They can lead to anger or love. They can allow us to forgive or they can permit us to continue to struggle with our pain.
My friend’s situation also led me to thinking about my own life and the issues therein which I have been struggling with and the peace which I am seeking with them. I realized too that we all need to advocate for ourselves using our words when it is necessary to stand up for or defend what we believe in. We also need to use our words to adequately and clearly explain our thoughts and feelings so that they are properly understood by others, especially when we are hurting or in emotional pain.
Last week I mentioned how therapeutic writing often is for me. Writing has gotten me through some tougher moments in my life, has led me to realize that I need to focus on the positive, and that no matter how hard things can get, there are always blessings and strengths which will see me through.
Writing is about using words to explain our thoughts. (The sweet thing about writing is we can also choose our words more carefully and accurately; there is always the backspace or delete button when things don’t “sound” quite right.) I often prefer written correspondence to verbal in regards to delicate manners especially, as I can select my words with more care and precision, rather than stumbling over the words which sometimes don’t come quickly enough into my brain and elegantly out of my mouth.
When we use our words to say, “This is how I feel. This is what I think,” we are essentially empowering ourselves. We are allowing ourselves the permission to say, “Hey, I’m important enough for this to matter”. Words can give us confidence and assertion to say what we think and feel is going on.
Sometimes we can get it wrong though. We can think one thing, when something entirely different is the reality. We can erect immense walls of hurt feelings that no one could ever climb, especially when we coat them with an icy glaze.
We can use our words in all the right ways and still get it all wrong.
But there is still peace in being wrong. Our words can lead us to finally facing what it is that is troubling us most. Those words can lead us to realizing that while we believed things to be one way, they aren’t necessarily that way at all. Using our words can lead us to putting an end to practicing our pain, to forgiving those who have hurt us, and to embarking on the path to peace.
Words can reopen doors which we once thought were shutting for good. Words can thaw the icy film.
Words can heal when we are just willing to use them and to hear them in return.