‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never break me’

This age old saying that is said to have appeared in 1862 is a constant in every household. Our parents and teachers have told us time and again yet personally I felt otherwise. Physically hurt yes, by sticks and stones, however words can leave a lasting impression in our minds.

Words have the power to influence, control and even rule. The first thing that comes to my mind is the powerful speech and words by Martin Luther King Jr. (1963), ‘I have a dream’. Gandhi’s words, ‘An eye for an eye ends up making the whole world blind’. Rosa Parks who said ‘No’. All these words and more inspired us and gave us the courage to see the light at the end of the tunnel. All leaders and inspirational gurus till date use words to gather people and stir a string of emotions. Self help books play a similar role.

On the flip side, words can also stir up negative emotions. This is highly relevant in the world we are living in today. With the pandemic there is a sense of insecurity, self-doubt, anxiety, stress, loss, depression, loneliness and a plethora of emotions and feelings which we were unaware about. As humans we fear the unknown. This new feeling of constant fear is caused solely by words. News channels, papers, social media, stories from our friends and family leaves a sinking feeling in our hearts and minds.

Now imagine if we could trick our minds to focus only on positive thoughts. In psychology we refer to this as ‘Positive Affirmations’. Positive affirmations can be defined as words, statements or quotes which when consistently used can manifest into positive thoughts, goals or behavior. It may sound whimsical and people may argue that if it was that simple how come people are not happy and are not busy applying it to themselves already. Well, unfortunately, a lot of us would rather be controlled by our mind and thoughts than control it ourselves.

Words have power, words are power and words could be your power

Mohammed Qahtani

Few ways we can control our mind and thoughts:

  • Self-worth: Look at yourself in the mirror and say 3 things that you want to tell to yourself. For instance, ‘I love myself’, ‘I am strong’ or ‘I believe in me’. Do this every morning!
  • Practice Mindfulness- Being in the present and cherishing each moment
  • Gratitude: Maintain a journal/diary and at the end of each day write things you are thankful for.
  • Share the love: Do not shy away from saying ‘I love you’, ‘thank you’ or ‘sorry’ to your family and friends. We take a lot of relationships for granted.

These tips may look extremely easy to do and almost hard to believe that they will ever work. But all these years counseling and recently coaching I have come to realize that words have the power to love and heal.