Words as a Healing Force
In the beginning, was the word… Everything ever created was probably
initiated by a word, perhaps in thought-form, but a word none the less.
We have become so accustomed to using words that it is easy to forget
that words and language as we know it today are man-made tools.
Communication before the invention of spoken or written language was a
mixture of gestures, grunts, body language, symbols and I suspect it was
mostly telepathic. Language has greatly increased and sped up our
exchange of thought; it has sophisticated, enhanced and simplified our
exchanges. It has probably also created more confusion,
misunderstanding and deception than anything else.
We take language for granted these days and probably never even think
about it or the power of words, until we find ourselves temporarily without
them. A simple thing like being without a phone for a day can totally
throw us. A sore throat will quickly remind us how reliant we are on
words. Of course, it really confronts us when we travel to a foreign
country and find ourselves in a new world of language in which we are
excluded. When we are in a situation in which we cannot use verbal or
written language, we frustratingly and clumsily, find ourselves resorting to
symbols, gestures, grunts and telepathic exchanges.
Even though words are probably the most powerful tool that we have in
today’s world, we rarely think about them and we greatly underestimate
Words can create and words can destroy. People have died and people
have thrived due to the powerful effect of words.
My interest in words is in the power or effectiveness of ‘Words as a
Healing Force’. Words can be medicine and words can be poison.
So many people these days look to natural therapies or healing
techniques in search of effective ways to heal without harm. We have
become very disillusioned, most discerning and educated about main-
Many will explore alternative options to mainstream medicine such as
nutrition, herbs, acupuncture, reiki, aromatherapy, exercise and psychic
or energy work. Any or all of these can be effective, but the most
underestimated facet of healing is that almost all disease and illness has
a relationship with the mind and emotions. At the most basic level, we
forget that the mind and body are interconnected. Many physical
conditions are either created or maintained by psychological conditions
such as stress, fear, low self-esteem, hatred, loneliness or any one of
many negative thinking habits.
Many physical illnesses are cured by emotional healing. Our emotions
are profoundly influenced by our own self-talk or by our interpretation of
statements made to us.
We can be deeply injured, permanently damaged and fundamentally
changed by just one simple sentence. Sometimes, that sentence is
delivered by someone else. Sometimes that sentence may actually have
been some statement that we made which we took on board and locked
in as a belief.
Words can cut through you like a knife. Words can hold such venom or
poison that they can damage, destroy or kill more effectively than a
physical weapon. How many suicides or murders could have been
prevented by just one sentence, one kindness or just an attentive
How often would a policeman hear the words, “He said…” as an
explanation for domestic violence. How many wars were started with a
thoughtless or provocative dialogue. How many people are dead or
emotionally crippled due to the careless or vicious placements of words?
Just take a moment and think back into your own history. Consider the
times when you have been deeply or perhaps permanently changed,
wounded or maybe almost destroyed by a statement. You might also
acknowledge things that you never achieved or things that you failed or
just never attempted because of a poisonous sentence.
Recently, a friend of mine left a message on my phone service asking me
to give him a call. I didn’t get the message until the next day. When I
called him back, he said that he had wanted to discuss something with
me and asked if he could drop by.
I hadn’t seen him for a while and I didn’t really know him on a deep level.
We had always been friendly, and we had known each other for a long
time, but I couldn’t say that we were close or intimate friends. I couldn’t
recall ever having had any real heart-to-heart talks. I was totally ‘Gob-
Smacked’ when I saw him. He had lost so much weight that he looked like
‘A Gray Skeleton’ and his eyes were sunken and black circled.
He said that he had called the day before as he was desperate and in so
much pain, that he had decided to kill himself. He had spent the morning
in bed weighing up the pros and cons and found that there were no pros.
He had concluded that it was not only the best option for himself but had
also rationalized that it would be a relief to his family and friends if he
would just ‘Go Away’.
Somewhere deep within him, he must have had some reservation or
some sense of guilt. He felt that he, “Just needed to run a few questions
He said that he wasn’t looking for someone to save him. In fact he had
decided to avoid anyone who may have felt compelled to do so. He went
through a list of names in his mind and decided that he needed someone
who wouldn’t try to influence or advice him, and more importantly,
someone who would understand him and not judge him.
He mentioned the pain and confusion of not knowing if everything was
rational. The speed and intensity of his thoughts had been ‘Squeezing
his Brain’. I guess he wanted to lay it all out like a jigsaw puzzle and make
sure that all of the pieces fit.
He decided that I was ‘The One’. At first, when he got the message
machine he was frantic and sat on his bed looking at the phone - willing it
The next day, when we did get together, we talked for many hours. He
talked and I mostly listened. Every now and again, I would ask him point
blank questions or probe deeper into what he was saying. I said many
things in different ways, but for the most part, the meanings of my words
were this ‘You Matter’.
The thing that really hit home to me, was that he told me that when I hadn’
t returned his call, he had lain on his bed in the foetal position and a
calmness came over him. He found himself having an ‘In Head
Conversation’ with me. In this conversation he told me his most honest
and intimate thoughts and feelings; he went back over his life and gave
me all the hidden secrets. In his mind, I cared, and in his mind I held him,
and I said, “This world needs people like you – you matter”.
This is only one example of several times that I have been witness to the
difference between the life or death of a person by the simple application
Another time, a young man came into my business to rob me. He had a
gun, which he showed me (didn’t point it at me) and he said, “I could rob
you or even kill you if I wanted.”
It seemed like a very odd situation and an even stranger conversation.
What I found most interesting is the calmness and gentleness that came
over me. I sensed that there was something not quite right (apart from
the fact that he wanted to rob or kill me). I found myself speaking to him
as if I knew him and totally disregarded the gun and the threat.
He had a young girl with him who just stood back and observed, she then
wet her pants and pee’d on my floor. I chose not to react to her and kept
on talking to the young man, trying to help him with some better options.
She suddenly took him by the arm and said, “Let’s go”. They both said
“Thanks. See ya.” and left.
I wondered if they were going to try ‘Hitting up the Chemist’ a few doors
down. I called the Chemist to alert him, before I called the police.
The police mentioned they had been looking for them as they had
walked out of a mental hospital a few days earlier. The Policeman said
that they had had a number of calls from people who had, in fact, been
I am using these examples to indicate just how important our choice of
words can be. Every day there are countless events in which someone
will live or someone will die depending on the words that we choose.
Less dramatically, but just as importantly, I want to bring to your attention
the astounding impact we have on each others’ lives by our choice of
words in our day-to-day interactions.
Behind the Words
We greatly underestimate the interpretation or meaning behind our
words. We also forget the importance of the tone or intention of our
words. Saying, “Hello” and “Nice day, isn’t it?” are not just about the
weather, you are saying, “I acknowledge you and I am extending
friendship to you”.
How often do you find yourself looking away from a stranger or even a
familiar face just to avoid having to say hello? Sometimes people are so
mean with their hellos, I think that they must think that ‘Hello’ is gold.
Usually, if you give away a greeting you also get one back!
I would say that almost everything that I have achieved in life happened
because someone at the time gave me some kind of feedback or positive
I’m a pretty capable and confident person, but like anyone I do have
doubts and insecurities. When I’m charting unknown waters I really do
need someone to encourage, validate or motivate me. Imagine how
desperately a shy or insecure person needs a few words? Boy, if
someone like me can thrive and soak it up, then you can imagine that to
someone more needy your kind words must feel like angel dust being
sprinkled over them.
Since making this connection - that words are medicine, I have become
increasingly aware and observant of peoples interactions. A few weeks
back, I was at the markets which were extremely crowded and hot. I was
drinking coffee in the courtyard when I noticed a young girl in a
wheelchair. She had no arms or legs and manoeuvred the wheelchair
with her chin. So many thoughts flooded my mind; I couldn’t help but
wonder if she was the bravest person that I had ever seen.
I guess that most people on seeing her also can’t help but wonder how
she manages. To cope with all that she must have to endure is in itself
phenomenal. To be able to get out and about, claiming as much freedom
and independence as her limitations allow her, was incomprehensible to
The thing that really impacted on me the most though was how every
single person walking by acted as if she were invisible. Sure, they all
looked back or whispered among themselves. I am as guilty as the rest of
them: I empathised and observed, but I did not speak with her or offer
her any form of kindness or acknowledgement. It played on my mind for
some time after as I felt that I could and should have.
Click the Next button for Part 2.
Copyright Sonya Green 2006
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How your words can make or break a person.
Words can be Medicine and words can be Poison
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