Words are so powerful ~ in a not so good way!

In my last post I quoted The World Peace Prayer Society and their statement about words…

Words carry vibrations strong enough to inspire, heal and transform the human heart

I know from experience and my work that words also can do the very opposite.

In our house, we have certain words that are not allowed, frowned upon or withdrawn and changed immediately.  These are words that have negative connotations, may sound aggressive or are used to belittle, abuse, humiliate or bully.

One of these is the word STUPID.  And there is a reason behind it.  When I was little I was called stupid at least once a day.

When I first started primary school I was seated at the very front of the class by myself.  I was right in front of the teacher and whenever she wanted me to understand something, she would shout at me and exaggerate her speech.  If I didn’t understand what she said (as she was shouting at me and exaggerating her speech) I would say “Pardon?” and she would shout  “Are you STUPID!?”

You can imagine what the other children did with this …..

I have a hearing impairment.  It’s due to damaged nerve endings in my left ear.  I’ve never let it disable me or stop me from doing anything.  I was taught to lip read at an early age. And when people meet me, unless they are told, I don’t think they would know.

This particularly powerful word was condoned at home too and I grew up believing it.  As an adult I spent a lot of my life running around collecting every piece of paper I could to prove that I wasn’t, in fact, stupid.

As a therapist and teacher I like to use very positive words and help people to change the labels that have been attached to them from the past.

Are there any powerful negative words that you never use?  Are there powerful words that you hear everyday?  Are there labels that you still carry that you’d like to be rid of?  What labels are we giving to our own children?

Comments (11)


Thank you for sharing your story with us. Words that are negative and said to a child have a long lasting effect of a lifetime. What is that saying? Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, but your Words Will Never Hurt Me. Not true especially negative hurtful words. Funny thing is in this day and age of technology with so much advancements some people are not diplomatic and just say things that can really hurt. People need to think before they speak.
Jane Lee recently posted..Business Lesson from a day at the Beach

Thank you Jane Lee, I agree. The messages we give to children can stay with them for a lifetime. When I’m working with clients they often remember hurtful labels they were given as children x

What a great post. The Power of Words, they can bring about emotions that lead to action that can bring about change. Let’s all work to make that change positive. The greatest Power of Words is the power to change ourselves. Through the use of positive words in our thoughts, we change ourselves for the better. Thank you for writing this post.

Thank you David and I totally agree “through the use of positive words in our thoughts, we change ourselves for the better” this is what I did in my own life and what I now help others to do. Great comment x

What’s in a word? — The power to make or break human spirit.

I’m especially opposed to pinning negative “labels” on others. It’s like carrying a sign around your neck that defines who you are to the world — at least that’s what it feels like inside.

I grew up learning, “If you can’t say something nice about somebody, don’t say anything at all.” It’s all right if you don’t care for someone. You own your own feelings. But it’s not all right to be hurtful.

You’ve shared powerful words of wisdom here, Heather!
Melanie Kissell recently posted..Create Something Buzzworthy

Thanks Melanie – I agree about ‘owning your own feelings’. Some of us have grown up with damaging labels because of others’ inability to keep their feelings to themselves.
‘The power to make or break the human spirit’ – we all carry a big responsibility every time we communicate.
Thank you for your wisdom x

The words we use as you say are so powerful and can both empower as or disempower us. Children are so affected by what they hear as your have so beautifully pointed out.
There are also 3 words we need to eliminate from out vocabulary for words and images check this post. http://www.abundancehighway.com/law-of-attraction-inspiration-2-words-send-vibrations/
Suzie Cheel recently posted..Motivational Quotes For When The Going Gets Tough

My mom lost the hearing in her right ear as a child. She learned to adapt very well. The only consideration she ask for us to talk more directly to her left ear… especially when we were sitting by each other. No Problem.

To utter cruel things to a an adult is unthinkable… let alone to a child. So many self image issues come our of our childhood… even under ideal circumstances.

I’m glad you were able to rise above the comments and you’re working in an area that can help folks understand the dangers of mean words.

We forget how simple it is. If you are doing anything that is invalidating or degrading another person, it is not Ok.

It is the in thing to degrade or talk badly about others. Just take a look at what is considered funny on TV.

Life can be ruff at best, especially when you are young. Yet it can also be a joy.

It is interesting how some people can rise above and do well, and there are those sensitive souls who can not.
Sheila Atwood recently posted..Making Money On The Internet – Cell Phone Ads

Suzie – thank you for your lovely comment and for the link to your site. I agree, those 3 words can be used in a very negative way xxx

Kathryn – your mum just showed how adaptable children can be, good for her. I agree with you that so many of our self-image issues come out of childhood events and I’m so honoured that I’m able to work with children to turn negatives into positives xxx

Sheila – you are so right about the messages that children are getting via TV. Lots of shows condone putting other people down. Then School is promoting respectful and caring behaviour. This sends such mixed messages to our younger members of society – it’s so confusing for them. Thanks for your comments xxx

[…] had such great feedback from my recent post on my hearing impairment that I thought it would be a good idea to take this subject further.  As […]

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