The Power of Words

Words are powerful.

I think that is what always attracted me to writing. I loved (and still love) the idea of being able to influence and entertain people through the written word.

As a  child I could not get enough of stories. I would read voraciously. The thought of having a library in my own house, like Belle in Beauty and the Beast, seemed like the ultimate perk of becoming an adult. (Well, that and staying up as late as you want.)

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In fact, when I was a kid the barcode on my library card got worn from so much use, which meant that it had difficulty scanning. However, this wasn’t a problem because I had my library card number memorized. I know.

But all of those stories, all of those words…I just couldn’t get enough. The books whispered to me, promising mystery and adventure within their pages.

I always thought, probably because of those stories, that my epic adventure would involve lots of traveling, maybe swordplay, or even magic. I knew that I was a great warrior, I just hadn’t seen battle yet.

As an adult it’s taken me a long time to learn that I am a warrior, right now. Fighting battles everyday. My weapons just look a little different than I used to think they would. Instead of a sword or a bow and arrow, I wield a pen and a laptop.

I have finally learned that words are a weapon that can be used for good or ill. Proverbs tells us that, “Life and death is in the power of the tongue.”

Or put another way, the Doctor (of Dr. Who) exclaimed in battle:

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This realization has given me pause. I use words so carelessly sometimes without stopping to consider that they could do irreparable harm to someone else.

Or my words could encourage someone!

My friend Mae is so good at this. She is always calling people, letting them know she was thinking about them. She is constantly affirming others, telling them the good things she has noticed about them. So often these words of encouragement come at a time when that person really needed it.

She has a gift for calling out the precious gold in people. And you should see people’s faces light up when she tells them just how great they are. I believe it makes a powerful difference for people to feel that someone has really seen them and noticed the best things about them.

It reminds me of this quote, which I have always taken as a personal challenge.

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Today I want to give you permission to be who you were meant to be. Maybe no one has ever done that before. But trust me, you were born to be great. And the more you allow yourself to be that awesome person that you know you could be, you grant others the same freedom.

When I was a child, I thought I would grow up to be beautiful, strong, artistic, kind, and generous. I’m pretty sure I thought there would be lots of dancing and reading and baking involved. Now that I’m grown up, I still think that that is the person I want to be.

So I think I will be.

How about you? Who do you want to be? Who does your best friend want to be? How about your mother? Or your boss? Or the person who makes your coffee?

Maybe you could help that person become who it is they want to be by using your powerful words. Speak life.

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