As a writer, I am a firm believer in the power of words - both the written and the spoken word. From the written word comes knowledge and story, a means of gathering intelligence and of finding solace from the cold harshness that reality often presents to us. But spoken word bears even more strength. And that is what I write about today.
The Designer created light and love and breath and earth and time and space in a countable number of syllables. He fashioned the universe in which we dwell by speaking and he created us in His image. Just as there is power in His words, there is power in ours as well.
A study was conducted on the effects of words on the crystalline structure of water (which you can briefly read about here and find more information on here). The results were astounding. Water which was named negative or hurtful things took on a gnarled, unattractive structure, while water that was called beautiful names became symmetrical and nearly perfect. The words that were spoken on the different samples of water had a literal effect on the appearance and makeup of the water. Mind you, human beings are comprised of over 70% water.
If words can affect minuscule amounts of liquid like that, then how much more can they do so to us?
People vastly underestimate the power of their words. But what we say to each other and speak over each other - whether to each other's faces or behind each other's backs - can either build us up or absolutely ruin us. I know. I've lived it.
The reason I became depressed in my past and believed lies about myself and ultimately even hated myself was because of one interaction with a few kids who told me I was ugly and stupid. It was one time in a park when I was ten. I didn't even really believe what they said. But it didn't matter. They planted those seeds of destruction that absolutely wrecked me for eight years and still do even today. This is why words matter to me so much.
There aren't a lot of things in the world that I hate. I loath sex trafficking and any sort of racism, sexism, or demeaning of any class of society. But I hate when people talk crap about each other more than almost anything. On the list of things that are not okay with me, that one is tied with genocide. Call this an overreaction if you will. Surly genocide is worse, right? It destroys people.
But speaking negative things over people not only destroys them, it enables them to destroy themselves.
I've since forgiven those kids at the park and pray for them regularly. I wouldn't be able to heal and move on if I wasn't willing to do that. But I am now so much more sensitive to words and have been realizing recently how often I encounter negative ones.
-I walk into the kitchen to wash dishes at night where I find my little brother doing his homework. I don't even make it to the sink before he turns and declares, "You're ugly!" as though the statement is nothing.
-I hear from my parents on a regular basis how I am doing nothing with my life since I'm not going to college or pursuing my writing more. They, along with my sister (who calls me a nerd every time I make a semi-intelligent statement), consistently make jokes about how I will never move out of my parents' house and how I will die alone.
This is what I am around every single day. This is where I live. Naturally, I would seek out affirmation and encouragement from my friends but even they - jokingly or not - find it necessary to verbally cut me down.
"You talk too much. Seriously. It's like your mouth never closes. Just shut up already."
"You're so arrogant. How do you have friends?"
"Drink more water, Bitch."
This is considered "constructive criticism" and "playful banter." No one really means it when they call me a dumbass or a whore or a self-centered, soul-sucking leech. It's "just what friends do." Well if that's true, I'd be better off without any friends.
I'm not exaggerating. I wish I was. But these are legitimate phrases and scenarios that I have encountered just over the past few months. I have an impeccable memory. I could tell you who said these things and where we were when they did. But I didn't write this post to tear anyone down. I'm using my own life as an example. I'm trying to make a point.
I wake up every day and make the conscious decision to believe Papa when He says that I am smart and beautiful and more than good enough. But then I step into the world and this is what hits me. These are statements coming from my family and my friends - the people in my life who are supposed to encourage me and help me combat lies. It's a battle that I face all the time, one I face alone. I should not have to go to war to believe stuff about myself that is true. But I do, every day, and the war is mostly against those I've chosen to be my allies.
Well, I've had it. I spend so much time fighting for and protecting and encouraging other people that I leave myself on the back burner and forget that I need the same attention. But if I truly want to heal, to move forward on my journey toward building genuine self-confidence, then I need to do this. I need to fight for me for once.
I know what this means. It requires that I stick up for myself, don't take people"s crap, and walk away from relationships that are unhealthy. This may mean starting over and completely rebuilding my support system. But if it means that I'll finally begin to view myself as something good, then it is a sacrifice that I am willing to make.
My point: Words matter. They really do. That sticks and stones nonsense is crap. People are valuable. It's time we started treating them as such.