Friday, January 29, 2010

The Power of Words

It's funny how you can be so sure of something for a very long time, as if nothing in the world would convince you that things could be other than thus...then a simple gesture - or a simple word - can completely undermine everything that you believed.

I believed, for example, that words had power. Words are how we communicate, after all. How can one possibly know what another is thinking without having an exchange of words? Yes, actions and body language...they, too, have their own speech. Yet those resources are lacking in accuracy and it is unwise to rely on those alone.

It seems this belief was wrong on many levels. The absence of words is just as powerful as too many of the them. Also, using the right words or the wrong ones is detrimental to communication. Deception, omission, avoidance, hesitation...these all hinder communication - hinder the power of words.

As it turns out, words have no power. The true power, it seems, is our ability to believe them. I may say that I admire your hat, but it is your ability to believe me that promotes communication. If you believe me to be lying, then we have accomplished nothing. You may say that you are my friend, but then actions - that I interpret through the inaccurate resource that they are- tell me that it is you that had lied to me. So, as important as I always thought words to be, it seems that the true power is in three simple concepts that are easily intertwined; belief, trust, and faith. Do we believe the other person? Do we trust the other person? Do we have faith in them? Words are meaningless without these conditions.

Or at least they are when they are spoken in a personal context. The written word that has no desire to speak to you personally, but merely expresses a thought, an opinion, or an idea...that has power. They are there for your interpretation, to have as much power over you as you are willing to let them have.