The Power of Words

Words are powerful. Think about it. The ‘I have a dream’ speech would not have been so powerful if Martin Luther King had put it a different way. If he had said ‘I’d really like it if we all got along’ instead. The strength of feeling would still have been there, but there’s something about those words, that strike the human spirit with such power that you have to listen, even if you don’t like what’s being said.

“Words are windows or they’re walls.” Marshall Rosenberg. Source: The Tube

I first learnt the power of words through Marshall J Rosenberg’s teachings. Through Non-Violent Communication, Marshall teaches that the words we choose to use when thinking about others has a direct correlation with how we feel about this person, and how we act towards them. It’s obvious when you think about it: if we call someone a ‘selfish pig’ in our head, we are much less likely to treat them with compassion. This applies in everyday life, but it is also relevant in the larger scale of things.

Language that similarly dehumanises our brothers and sisters and can help aid violence to scary proportions. Every single war that has ever been fought has been aided by this kind of language. -We call the people who are our enemies names, because this makes it easier to kill them. We reduce them to animal-like beings, less than human. We are less likely to kill our brother, who is like us, who we remember has children, just like us, a wife, just like us. But if we only saw him as an enemy image, nothing more than a dog, then killing becomes easier.

During the holocaust, Jewish people were called ‘rats’ in propaganda, before anyone began shooting the first rifle. This is the power of language. This is the power of words.

So, if we can learn to use language in a different way, arguably, violence can be reduced.

“Words are tangible things.” Maya Angelou. Source: The Tube

Maya Angelou sees words as physical things. This is not so crazier idea. When we say ‘you fool’ to ourselves, for example, we are feel it. We feel the guilt, the shame. Dr Masuro Emoto is known for finding the miraculous discovery that the words we focus on can change the molecular structure of water. This is an incredible discovery, and shows how we, being 60% water ourselves, may be strongly effected by the words we say and think.

This gives us the power, to focus on love and peace. Knowing that we may well feel these things in our bodies, just by saying them. Knowing that we have this power within us, without any  effort, we can just say the word.

the power of words peace2.jpgPEACE Source: Pure DevotionWordpress Blog

And so I encourage the peacemakers, the artists, the dreamers and the do’ers, to choose their words carefully, because they might just change the world.


“Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.”


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