power of words

I’ve been asked to speak to teen girls on the power of words and it’s brought up some questions for me.

I’ve always believed that words have the power to inspire and motivate people to greatness. If this is true, don’t our words have the opposite effect as well? We can demoralize and hurt people? How does this work with the model. I know people can “choose” how to think about our words, but at the same time, it’s “easier” to choose positive thoughts when someone says: you look fantastic today! rather than “you look like a fat cow!”

I’ve been told some “fascinating” things before that I consciously decided not to let bother me and when I was talking to my mom about it, she apologized for saying them and I told her it’s my responsibility to be in charge of how I feel, so she can say whatever she wants. But then she said, “but if I wouldn’t have said those things, you wouldn’t have had to “do the work.” So, isn’t it true that what we say DOES have an effect on others and is not necessarily neutral? I am really trying to wrap my brain around this concept. Because even though I know and CAN “do the work,” I also feel a responsibility to say uplifting and inspiring things to others and be kind to not MAKE them feel something, but more easily ALLOW them access to their positive feelings.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject! xox Sarah