You may have heard the cliché ‘sticks and stones can hurt my bones but words cannot hurt me’. While we believe this is true in the physical sense, it is only true in that sense. Words have the power to hurt others and that too at a level that is not visible and thereby difficult to heal. Have you ever heard something mean being said about you and felt as if you would rather suffer the lash of the whip than hear something so cruel? We are sure that most of us have the lash of a harsh tongue making a wound on our very psyche at one stage of our life or the other. The saddest part is that we often do not realize the power of words and use them without thinking of how much it can hurt.
While words have a lot of power to hurt, we should also remember that the right use of words could also heal. However, it must be mentioned here that the power of harsh words to hurt is much higher than that of soothing words to heal. This is a sad fact that we have to consider when we are learning about the power of words and how they can hurt or heal.
Here Are Some Small Stories That Will Throw Light On What We Mean By The Power Of Words To Hurt Or Heal:
Healing words: Robin was an orphan who had spent most of his childhood in foster homes. This meant that he was really sensitive to the nuances of words being said as well as those that were unsaid. He would look at people’s faces even before they could speak to gauge what they were about to say and would take action accordingly. It was this cautious nature of his, that made Robin survive his childhood in foster homes with a semblance of happiness and contentment.
As soon as Robin stepped into adulthood, he worked hard to ensure that he got a job, albeit at a lower level. Working his ways through the ranks, he managed to make enough money to start his own business. It was almost as if he had access to those seven success mantras to repeat if you want to succeed and knew how to apply them.
However, the one thing he lacked was the social graces and etiquette to survive in the higher echelons of society, which he had to when he grew in wealth and power. He was conscious of this lack in himself and tended to ignore it until he met and fell in love with Martha. Martha was the daughter of a wealthy businessman who was almost considered royalty, as his family had been rich through generations.
Robin would always remember the day he had to meet Martha’s grandmother, a grand old lady who was known to tolerate no fools. He was nervous and doubtful of being accepted by her, which is why he decided not to pretend about who he was and where he came from. When the grand old lady questioned him about his family and background, he answered honestly expecting to be derided. But he was pleasantly surprised when the old lady patted his hand and said with a twinkle in her eye “I like you, you are a sensible man and you will suit Martha perfectly”.
Those kind words made Robin forget all about his past and look back at all he achieved with immense pride. It was almost as if somebody had lit a candle in a dark room and illuminated it.
Hurting words: Giselle was a young girl from a good family. She was smart, she was well-spoken, and a nice girl who was in her teens. The one thing that made her life miserable was the constant scourge of acne on her skin. Giselle’s mother, Adele would keep telling her daughter not to touch her zits or worry about them too much, though she would always have a doubtful and slightly disgusted on her face as she said it.
She worried that Giselle who had average features and dull brown hair would find it difficult to get dates from suitable guys. Though she knew it was superficial to think like that Adele knew that it was her own pretty face with its flawless skin combined with her lovely long hair and good figure that had gotten her so many proposals from many eligible young men. She worried that Giselle had not inherited her good looks but seemed to take after her father, Arthur, a successful doctor with average looks.
What she failed to see was that Giselle was intelligent, funny and warm and that people were drawn to her because of this. Giselle was heartbroken when one day she heard her mother say, “I am happy that Giselle has so many friends though she is not pretty and in spite of her bad skin. I just hope that some boy will ask her out when the time is right”.
Hearing this, Giselle seemed to withdraw into her shell and soon she had become so introverted that all but a very friends left her alone.
As you can see, words can heal or hurt and we need to acknowledge this and think things through before we speak.