The Power of Words

Gerd Altmann
Public Domain Pictures

What do words have to do with rebuilding our lives? Everything! The power of words cannot be overlooked, but sometimes we don’t realize the power that’s in our words. Words can build us up or tear us down, evoke emotions, inspire, drain, or motivate us. What happens to our words when we go through traumas or losses? How do our words change during traumatic events compared to when all is going smoothly? That’s what we’re going to consider.

Our Word Choices

People laughing and talking

When life is going great and everything is falling into place as we think it should, it’s easy to be positive and upbeat and see the glass half full, right? The sky might look especially blue and the grass a vibrant green, and no matter what happens we can shake it off. It’s easy to trust God and to say and do the things that indicate that we truly trust God.

Our words might be pleasant and easily build up others and affirm ourselves. In fact, we might cringe when we hear others talking bad about themselves. Does this sound like your world? Words are pleasant, encouraging, and life building when life is good. Why is that? Very little stress? Or because life seems to be cooperating with us and going in the direction we desire?

What Happens to Our Words?

But, if a traumatic event occurs, what happens to those upbeat, positive words? Maybe our words remain unchanged or maybe they come with more of a strain. It depends on the severity of the trauma or loss and how many traumatic events have occurred. In fact, if there have been multiple major losses, words might become scarce and be surrounded with a lot of silence. Imagine having several overwhelming events that leave you with no words left to speak and no tears left to cry. Have you had those kinds of experiences? There may only be shock, numbness and anger while processing all that’s occurring.

Sometimes when bad things happen, it’s easy for hope to fade or even disappear, and for the once positive words and attitudes to turn bitter and negative. After all, expectations have been devastated, sometimes multiple times. That can bring about some deep soul-searching.

Traumatic events require us to have space as we go through those difficult situations. Sometimes people can articulate what they need and at times they can’t. Having worked closely with trauma survivors and having coped with my own traumas, I understand the impact on the whole person. I have been present with families as they were at loved ones bedsides in ICU 24/7 after horrible tragedies, and I have been with individuals after loved ones had just passed away. Some people may prefer silence over being around others, even if those people are speaking positive words and are supportive. Time will bring more healing, less shock and numbness, and restore a desire to be around other people again.

Changing Our Words

Our words can shape our lives, our environments, and our futures. Even if you have never read the Bible, check this out. According to Proverbs 18:21 Amplified Bible (AMP), it says… “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.” Maybe you’re more familiar with the New King James Bible (NKJV). It says this, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Maybe you’re familiar with Joyce Meyer who is a survivor of many traumatic events. She has overcome, persevered, and rebuilt her life in many ways.  One of her many books is titled,  Power Words:  What You Say Can Change Your Life.  She has much to offer others with her tips and wisdom on the power of words in her life.

The power of words has been tested. Cooked rice was placed in three separate closed jars and a short-term experiment was conducted to see if words spoken directly at a specific container of rice made any difference.  Negative, terrible words were spoken over one of the jars; positive, affirming, live-giving words over another jar; and then the third jar of rice was totally ignored. After several days, the rice that had negative words spoken over it looked awful. The rice that was ignored looked nearly as bad, but the rice that had good things said about it looked bright, healthy, and thriving.

Happy people

Our body and soul (which consists of our mind, will, and emotions) respond similarly to words like the rice did. As we rebuild our lives after traumas and losses, it’s especially important to be surrounded by positive people. It’s important to be aware of the words we are speaking about ourselves and about our lives, because we will see our words come to pass at some point. The power of the words we speak and the words others speak (if positive) can help us build a healthy self-image, life, career, and environment. So remember the power of your words.

I would like to know if you have ever seen the power of someone’s words in their life? Leave me a comment below and I’ll be sure to respond.

Thanks for reading!


Thank you for sharing!

16 thoughts on “The Power of Words”

    • Hi Diana! Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate you taking time to comment. We never know what people are going through and when our words will be just what someone needs to hear.

  1. Hi Colleen, I know that words are powerful that is why I never underestimate the power of words. I am in awe that even cooked rice can react to the spoken word.
    The rice was cooked, so why do you think it appears to be thriving?
    Thanks for the post, it got me thinking.

    • Hi Luna… I know of horticulture studies that show how plants thrive and produce when we speak pleasantly and play certain music around them. A number of years ago, I heard about another experiment where water turned black from negative words spoken over it. So now comes the rice experiment with similar results. I believe everything flourishes when our words are constantly positive(even the cooked rice). Having worked with survivors of abuse, the damage done with words can take a lifetime to undo. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  2. Excellent post and about a subject that fascinates me, the power of the word. In these moments I am reading the book ontology of the language of the philosopher Rafael Echeverria, that deals with the way we can use the words in our benefit. I congratulate you, your article is excellent and very motivating and about a topic that is fashionable in this era of communication.

    • Hi Victor! I appreciate your encouraging words. 🙂 So true, our words are a fascinating subject. They can cause negative emotions or they can inspire and motivate us. I choose to go with the positive words. Thanks for taking time to comment.

  3. Hi
    Great post
    It’s hard to find words to say to people in times of lose. From personal experience. My dad died suddenly in hospital & staff were lost for words because it was unexpected. This can make it harder with no explanation & no one wanting to say the wrong words.
    I was lucky in the fact I had good work colleagues, who all knew my dad because we’d worked in the same place. They never stood silent, & always seemed to say the right things, this really helped me.
    Keep up the good work

    • Hi Paul! So sorry to hear that you had the unexpected loss of your dad. Words cannot express the depth of pain that we sometimes feel on our journeys. So glad that your colleagues understood the situation and carefully chose their words of support.

  4. Colleen, I was so impressed with this article! I wish there was some way to make EVERYONE visit this site. If the average person today would just take a second to say a kind word, life would be so much better.


    • Thank you for your kind words, Clay! It’s amazing how our kind words can change us, others, situations and environments. I totally agree that it would be awesome to see a world where people focused on saying positive words. Ok, I’m dreaming, but it would be such a great thing! Thank you for taking time to share your thoughts.

  5. This resonates a lot with me right now. I am feeling negative about a lot of things – some which are beyond my control – and it is affecting my friends, family and my social life. It was reassuring to read this and refocus my energy.

    • Awww, Ashley… Life can be overwhelming sometimes. Sorry to hear that situations beyond your control have triggered unpleasant things in your life. I’m glad my post was helpful in redirecting and refocusing your attention on the positive. Thank you for taking time to share what’s happening in your world. Keep surrounding yourself with positive people.

  6. Colleen, you article is so inspiring. I invite you to read my bio when you get the chance. I have had numerous tragidies in my life and have often found myself being told ” you will get through this , you are strong “. Looking back on everything, and after reading your article, I believe that those who have continuously said those words to me may very well be the reason I made it through each tragedy . They are what me me strong.
    I am book marking your site as I am anxiously wanting to read more of your articles. I want to thank you for sharing and caring.

    • Wow, Lee Ann, that’s so true that those words affirmed and encouraged you to keep persevering despite all the odds against you. So proud that you didn’t give up, but instead pressed forward. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement to continue what I’m doing on this site to help others. I will be sure to check out your Bio on your website too. Please come by my site often and share your thoughts and words of wisdom. 🙂

  7. Yes, this is very true, the words we speak affect others. We should always speak words that lift and build people up. Just as God spoke things into existence, “words are powerful”.

    • Thanks for stopping by my site and for sharing your thoughts, Fred! You are so right—God’s words brought things into existence. We can look at our lives and see the fruit of our lips and move forward to make any adjustments needed. When we refresh others, we get refreshed as well. Thanks you, Fred!


Leave a Comment