Words can be meaningless, meaningful, and everything in between. We all know that the saying "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" is completely false. They can break a person or they can make one. What words we choose to use, and how we use them, can reveal to others what we feel inside, what we think, they can determine our perceived intelligence or worth. Words hold far more value than we give them credit for. It is fascinating that words can have such an influence on us. One would think with the sheer power of words, we would be more thoughtful with how we use them. However, this seems to not be the case, so many of us carelessly throw words out into the world without a second thought.
Words can be hurtful, they can burrow deep into our self-doubts, our insecurities, and break down our walls. One of my favorite sayings is that there are toothpaste words. Like toothpaste that is squished out of the tube, once some words are out there, there is simply no way to put them back in.
On the other hand, words can be uplifting. A single word can make us smile, laugh, can make someone's entire day. If we stop to appreciate the sheer complexity of words and language, it is astounding how important they are to our functioning as a society. Words are perhaps the single most important thing for human communication. We use words to express ourselves, to communicate with others. What can be so frustrating about not understanding another language is that you are not understood; your words are rendered useless when the receiving party does not understand. We have become so reliant upon words for communication that language barriers become seemingly insurmountable.
Given the awesome power of words and how important they are to our daily lives, how do we choose to use words? Are some words so overused that they begin to lose their value?
Take the word 'love' for example. We as a society tend to use this word incessantly, and yet we mean different things by it. We use it to the point that it begs the question of whether the sanctity of the word has been cheapened. If one says they love a pair of shoes and use the same word to tell their significant other that they care for them, does love still mean the same thing? I do not have the perfect answer to this question. All I know is that I am curious about how our choice of a word influences the meaning and value of them.
I hope this tangential piece gave you a chance to ponder the magnificence of language and words and its vast influence on our daily lives that we seldom stop to appreciate. Perhaps this has given you a chance to think about what you say and how you say it.