Words Matter

“But, if it’s the truth, how can it be hurtful?”

“I’m just stating the facts.”

Have you ever said one of those phrases in a conversation? I have. I tend to be a very analytical thinker and often use facts (or what I believe to be the facts) to support my points.

The old saying, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is not true. We all learn this early in life. Words taken apart are meaningless letters. Combine these letters together to form words, phrases or sentences, and you give these meaningless letters the power to build someone up or break someone down.

Words are powerful.

I was reminded of the power of words while reading a blog post earlier this week. I truly admire those who share their hearts and thoughts with the world through blog posts. Blogging makes the authors vulnerable. What will people think of their thoughts? Will they agree with them? Will they disagree? Blogging opens authors up to criticism – something that terrifies me.

The internet makes people feel they can get away with anything. Typically, readers don’t personally know the bloggers, so they feel no personal connection to them. A study from Pew Research Center shows that 73 percent of adults have seen at least one form of online harassment and 40 percent have been victims. Specifically, young women ages 18-24 are more likely to be harassed online.

But, wait, the written word doesn’t have the same effect as a verbal conversation, right?

Have you ever read a book before? (Yes.)

Written words escort you to another land, evoke emotion and leave room for interpretation. Words, whether verbal or nonverbal, have the power to uplift or to hurt. Either you are helping someone, or you are hurting someone. Really, there is no other option.

Matthew 7:12, also known as The Golden Rule: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” 

Think before pressing send.

If someone makes a post or comment that you don’t agree with, take a deep breath before responding. Even if your comment is filled with the facts, don’t press send immediately. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How would I feel if someone said this to me?
  • Are these words uplifting or hurting?
  • Will my comment be helping anything?
  • Would I use these words while having a face-to-face conversation?
  • How is my tone? Do I sound accusatory? If so, how can I rephrase my comment?

If the answers to your questions are positive, go ahead and press send. Make sure to check your comment to see if anyone responds to you, and be willing to engage in a conversation.

Let’s all uplift others and be the light in the world!

words hurt. choose carefully

Join the Conversation:

Have you ever been criticized on your blog or social media before? How did you handle it?

Leave a comment below!

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