Sticks and stones will break your bones but WORDS can hurt you too


Did you know that when you experience something traumatic, when you speak about it… you actually relive it?

It’s important to watch what you say and how you describe a ‘bad day’ or something traumatic when speaking to others.  Coincidentally, it is just important how the people you are talking to respond to you.

Have you ever been talking to someone and confiding in them some tragedy or pain and they tell you how much stronger you are.  You Are Strong.  You Are A Good Person.  Read those words again…. how do you feel?  Do you feel better?  Well, you should 😉  Because when we are told these things we believe them and can become those very words.  On the flip side, when confiding in someone and they are being too sympathetic, too much pity for you… this can actually increase your pain.  Interesting.

In 2000, a researcher named John Bargh, completed a (famous) study that showed how much what we say (the science of language, linguistics, semantics, phonetics, etc) can affect our behavior.

In this study, he gave 2 groups of people lists of different words.  The words were scrambled and it seemed as though the actual test was to unscramble the words.  One list contained words that suggested agitation, impoliteness, basically, hostile behavior.  the other group was given words that suggested the opposite:  tolerance, courteousness, basically a peaceful behavior.  So, the ‘real test’ was that they had to bring their unscrambled list of words to the person in charge.  However, this person was in a deep conversation with another co-worker (and was supposed to ignore the person who was trying to turn in their list).

Of the participants who were given the ‘hostile’ list of words became the very words they had unscrambled.  They interrupted the Director and weren’t nice about it 🙂  Yikes.  But, of the group that had the words that suggested ‘peace’ over 82% waited patiently for the Director to finish his (or her) conversation.

Words are powerful.  So whether you read them, speak them, hear them… it’s important to be mindful of what it is you are subjecting yourself to (and possibly others).

This weeks challenge speak with strong supportive words to yourself and to others.  When you are feeling down, write or read words that will help elevate your mood.  Call or speak with someone who you know will be there for you to help boost you up and remind you of how strong you are.

Give it a try 🙂  Let me know how it works.

*As always, a little warning.  IF you decide to jump over to the dark side and torture some poor co-worker (whose office you’ve had your eye on for quite some time) with loads of sympathy and pity talk so you can watch them crawl to the corner where they curl into a ball and suck their thumb…. then, you will most likely be visited by the Karma Fairy (a giant, hulking, drooling, panting Karma Fairy….think about it).


2 Responses to “Sticks and stones will break your bones but WORDS can hurt you too”

  1. s said

    so true jen, its actually something i have thought a lot about, even have wrote about my opinions on it. words def have a big affect on us and how we think, esp being the social animals we are. really like how you used a study to support your thoughts, another awesome post. thanks so much for sharing your positivity with us

  2. Paula said

    You are a beautiful, intelligent woman and I am so glad you are my sister! 🙂 Love you! Thanks so much for writing these blogs. I really enjoy them and they have always given me something important to think about! 🙂 xoxox

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