The spoken word
Updated: Oct 20, 2020
Our word education begins when we do, at birth. Tiny and defenseless we are powerless, utterly dependent on others for our survival. From our mothers, fathers, caregivers we learn the power of the spoken word. We learn if we are loved, valued and cherished and we also learn the opposite and all the shades in between.
Is it merely a bundle of random letters? Is it a sound or a series of sounds? How do words carry intent or meaning? Does it matter how or what we actually say?
If we don't understand the language being used, is there still power in the spoken word?
Words do that. They are complex slippery things defying simplicity. Their exact nature and the question of whether they have power or not has exercised great minds from antiquity to the present day.
I picture a word as carrier. Made of a collection of letters arranged in a unique way, each word denotes or stands for either a thing, person or an action.
These 'things', 'persons' or 'actions' are given meaning through our experience and knowledge of them. For instance, the word, Danger. Say the word. Let it roll around your mouth until you can taste it. What images does it conjure up? What feelings come with those images?
All of what you've just re-experienced was unpacked and released by the simple arrangement of six letters D-A-N-G-E-R. To me, that's power. The letters by themselves are meaningless.
I believe the 'bigger' the word, the more power it has. By 'big' words, I mean those affecting us all regardless of who or where we are. These are universal words shared by everybody. The language used may be different, but the idea contained by those words is the same.
Words can heal, words can hurt, and words spoken by those closest to us have the most power of all.
The messages of our childhoods keep speaking long after they were first spoken. It's as if they get locked inside our minds and echo on. Sometimes they lie dormant and then an event will trigger them. Up they pop like a jack-in-the-box and we hear again what we were told long ago. Acknowledging the power of spoken words is a fundamental building block to many self-help as well as main stream therapies. For what we say out loud is a guide to what lies within us. If our talk is critical, cynical or destructive, then we tend to find we think about ourselves in a similar way. Quite simply, we don't like or approve of much that we do or who we think we are. We have little tolerance for our weaknesses. We are ashamed. We fear being less than others. We attack for fear of being exposed.
Another way to use the power of the spoken word is to use the words “I AM.” When you say “I AM” followed by the statement that you would like to change in your life. You are affirming that you believe that you ARE or already have what you desire in your life right NOW. If you say words like “I will be” you are affirming that you are not yet where or what you desire to be right now.
I am sure as survivors words have played a part in our trauma in a destructive way but then in a positive way once we are able to take that power back and affirm ourselves and dissipate those destructive words.
Shakespeare said it like this: 'Nothing is either good or bad.'Tis thinking makes it so.' Words create our world.