Does society establish language or does language establish society? In my mind, I regularly come back to this long standing argument. Words definitely have power. All words have a vibrational energy that they emit when spoken. But do these words actually affect laws and superstitions? Do they change the way we perceive things?
Some languages lack a precise word to describe something that another language or society has assigned a name to. Think how that would change society’s perception of whatever that thing was. Take for example the word mistress. It traditionally incites excitement of some sort. Depending on the person and circumstance, it could incite feelings of change, anger, shame, secrecy, guilt, complexity or opportunity.
But imagine if there were no word for mistress. Then what would “mistress” mean to society? Could it be simply an insignificant part of life? Could this word then be accepted as an everyday part of life? Now I personally wouldn’t stand for my husband having a mistress so please don’t think that that is where this is going. This is a discussion of language only. But I daresay that language has a much larger effect on the way we live together and the way we see things.
We already know that words can hurt or heal but just how powerful are words? The words that we assign or omit from our language, at the very least, give or take power from those things they represent. I think we can at least agree that the less we speak or hear about a particular person, place or thing the less likely we are to contemplate on it and therefore develop passionate feelings.
Could we literally take the fuel out of some heated topics by changing the way we refer to them? Isn’t this what Public Relations is? Isn’t this what Media and Advertising is? The feelings that words emit (vibrations) have real power.
They affect real change, for better or for worse. Step back and contemplate how we are using our own power. Is it for better or for worse? We, as global citizens, could spend more time considering how others are using their power on us.
All of us are so constantly bombarded with the thoughts and feelings of others, living in a society where many of us live and work shoulder to shoulder.We are all individuals with our own ideas so when we feel agitated at someone who is not like us, we need to at least consider which came first: the chicken or the egg?
We are accessed constantly. We turn on our phones or our computers or TV’s or radio… and those people step right into our personal space telling us what they think and how they feel. Don’t think they don’t choose their words carefully, knowing they are addressing the masses. They have your ear.
Do you spend as much time quietly with yourself, letting your own thoughts and feelings settle before you allow the next person into your personal space to dump their feelings on you? As empathetic creatures we feel a natural inclination to buddy up and absorb much of what is being shared with us.
Have you ever listened to a friend passionately ranting about makeup, soccer, gardening, whatever! It can be anything and it can be something you have absolutely no interest in whatsoever. But eventually… after listening to them discuss this so passionately so many times you feel a tinge of excitement too. Have you ever felt yourself switch up after all that talk and feel like you should help them or get involved in some way?
If you can’t relate to this scenario, how about this one: your friend is pissed and is going off about something someone did to them. You don’t know if a wrong was even done (because you weren’t even there and don’t know the whole story- let’s be fair) but you find yourself getting pissed too in their defense. You’re just feeling that way because of what they are telling you. It didn’t even happen to you!
Words are super powerful, for better or for worse. By filtering the words we accept from coworkers, friends, family, and media we can keep ourselves from being torn down. Social media, the news, radio and TV: they all serve good purposes. But the phrase “too much of a good thing” still applies.
Even informational and positive media can be tiring if we allow ourselves to be bombarded by it. The mind needs time to relax and absorb even those good and healthy things. You wouldn’t spend 5 or 6 hours in a day just eating fruit and vegetables, would you?
We are all empowered with the language that we speak. Words can be our strength or sometimes give strength to others when they need it. We all have the power to use words to literally build our realities. So what will you build? How can you use words to give power to yourself, your children, your people?
“Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know more.”-Confucius