Monday, July 25, 2011

The Power of Words

I've been thinking a lot lately about the power of words.  How a single word can lift us up or tear us down.  Just a single word!  Imagine what a whole phrase can do!

It's funny how words stay with us too.  How they can stick with us over spans of time, a decade and more!

When I was about 18 a man was at our home for dinner.  Some how, and I have no idea how, he started talking about how you put the roll of toilet paper on the holder.  He asked me, "Do you put it over or under?"  I thought this was a crazy question and I told him I'd never thought about it, I just put on there!  To which he replied...

"No wonder you've never had a boyfriend.  You don't even know how to put the toilet paper on!"  He was probably just kidding but wow.  I was very sensitive to the fact that I had never had a boyfriend.  I was sad and felt like something was wrong with me and this man just threw that in my face.  It broke my heart and you know what?  Every time I go to the bathroom, I still think about this comment.  That means several times a day!

This man probably doesn't even remember he said it.  He probably forgot he said it  within 5 minutes but I never have.  It still hurts me to this day almost 24 years later.

Another time when was oh, 20 or so.  Another man told me that I had the ugliest toes and feet he had ever seen!  Yep, you guessed it.  I still think about this often as I look at my feet in my sandals, worrying about what people might be thinking about them.

CRAZY!  No one is looking at my feet! (Can you guess which toes are mine?) And yet, this man's words still ring in my ears more than 20 years later.

A happier example is from years ago as well.  I think I was 16 or 17.  I had moved away from a dear, dear friend a year or so before and I had gone back for a visit.  This friend told me how I had touched her life.  That I had brought her into my circle of friends and it made a difference in her life even after I had moved. I was so surprised!  I had no idea.  Her words have stuck with me too.  When I'm feeling down, like I just don't think anything I do matters I hear this dear, sweet friend's voice in my ear telling me I made a difference to her.

Words have so much power.  Good and Bad.  If only we would all use them for good!  Wow!  What a world this could be if we used words ONLY to build UP and NOT to tear DOWN.  Imagine what politics could be like...  Imagine the playgrounds... Imagine families... Imagine the world.

I think we all need to remember what that one mother years and years ago said...
"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

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