Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Day 14, January 18

It's no secret that I love words. I love everything about them. I love the sound and the sight of them. Mostly, I love the power they have. They can entertain. They can educate. They can enlighten. They can also hurt.

I know. Because I have used words to hurt others. I'm not proud of that. How can anyone be proud of using words to hurt? Still, I have done it. What's more, I continue to do it (sometimes).

So why am I sharing this with you? To tell the truth, I'm not sure. Maybe because I hope by sharing my problem with words that you can learn from it. I take uneasy solace in the knowledge that I'm not alone in using words to hurt. Certainly that does not excuse me. However, it does show that this is not an isolated problem.

Have you been hurt by another's words? How did you feel? Angry? Devastated? Belittled? I've felt all the above by the careless use of words. My first reaction is to retaliate. Too often, I give in to that temptation. Sometimes I simply seethe in silence. Other times, I go off by myself and indulge in a good cry.

When I think of my reaction to unkind words, I wonder why I want to put others through the same experience. I have no excuse except to say that I am imperfect, in this as in so many other things.

This I know for sure: words have power. How we use them largely determines what kind of people we are.


  1. To paraphrase scripture, "For (my) tongue is an unruly member". It's ugly of my when I use words to hurt. I can do it very well, and I know it. Perhaps it is pride that keeps me in this habit: I like feeling the power and being good at something (even though when I do it I'm good for nothing). Food for my thought, even though it's a bitter pill to swallow.

  2. I just have to chime in. Speaking words of encouragement is one way to love people. Insidiously, failing to speak words of encouragement (especially if the loved one loves to be loved with words of encouragement, acknowledgment) is rather the opposite: in its final result it is dismissive. Speaking unkind words certainly has the same result.

    This post has hit a nerve; I loved every word (best, the humble words "I am imperfect") and agree that words have power. I'm sensitive, too, to how the lack of words have power.

  3. As children, we learn the phrase, "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me." Not true! I think the pain of unkind words can linger longer than that of a broken bone.