Words are potent! Words are powerful symbols of communication. Human history and culture has largely been recorded by way of the spoken and written word, and storytelling has played an integral part of human existence. People make sense of their own lives through the stories of others. From the medieval days of travelling troubadours to the present day columns in celebrity magazines and rhyming lyrics of rappers, stories have served to illuminate our deepest desires, highlighting our hopes and fears, embodying our flares of anger and the flames of our passion.
So if you’re motivated to tell a great story, one that’s worth listening to, start by honing your own listening skills. If you actively pay heed to the words people use, you might just glimpse an insight into their psyche. Listening with openness and compassion, you could just hear the truth. Of course you might also hear the clanging sounds of judgement and self-justification, in both their words and the clash of your own responsive thoughts. However, the sound of truth travels on a unique frequency. It is one of a calm and satisfying resolve. Anyone who has ever heard it will feel compelled to continue to tune in to the transmission, for the sense of peace and harmony it offers.
Honesty is another integral feature of words. Of course words can be used to convey untruths and promote propaganda. This is an example of their mis-use, of the hijacking of their power to service the selfish intent of the writer or speaker.
However. If you have ever returned to something you had previously written, and found yourself reading from a very different place, in an emotional sense, it is because feelings change over time and memories are often re-tailored accordingly. On closer examination you may find that the original words chosen still contain the essence, the honesty of your feelings at the time of the original writing.
We can use words to clarify or confuse, to glorify or to condemn. There are empty words and there are those laden with wisdom. Some serve to shut- down a life-long dream, yet others which signpost a host of new horizons. I believe that a most valuable use of words is to illustrate an aspect of human experience in a way that touches the soul of the reader, igniting a passion or soothing a sorrow. This is a great privilege, and an even greater responsibility. Words can wound and they can heal. Therefore it is important to choose the words carefully, to craft the story with compassion and care.
Many of us look outside of ourselves for validation, and in my experience, the power of two, or more, can serve to facilitate balance, offer support and provoke reflection. However, the strongest motivation is always that which emanates from within. So honour your internal world of thoughts and feelings, ideas and dreams, and let your words create a unique contribution, a warm, genuine and loving expression of your essential humanity.