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The Power of Word


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The Power of WordDictionary defines - Word as ‘a unit of spoken language’. At a communicative level, the word signifies so much more. It has the power – to heal or hurt. Words joined together form a sentence. That’s just syntax and grammar. But the meaning of those words, it is that which has connotations and consequences. The best part is we all know it and yet we do it time and again.

Why do we ‘hurt’ by words when we know it is so much more afflicting than physical bruises? An African tribe - when they want to cut off a tree they don’t chop it instead they curse the tree and mouth filthy language. The tree in a few days dies by itself. If that is true of the tree what fate is in store for us? The worst part, it is the defenseless who are affected the most. The most vulnerable are targeted maximum. Why? Is it to show who the boss is. Is it a power struggle?

Telling a person that he or she is not fit or useless will not serve the purpose other than to bring down their self-esteem. Well, if that’s your intention then you’ve not scored brownie point from me definitely. My grandpa used to say, “By saying hopeless, will it make the person better?”

Sumathi and Ranjan are now at a point of polite civility. That’s fine in a social situation, except that they are husband and wife. Each has given up on the other. They live parallel; two lives mutually exclusive reaching one destination at the end of the day – their residence. Caught in this mess is their son. If they are role models for him, then what does he learn about relationships?

Psychological jargon would term the boy as ‘commitment phobic’, incapable of sustained relationships. That’s even worse – the boy is pegged, slotted and branded. Even before making an attempt to heal, the damage is done. Does this boy not deserve better? As parents is it not their duty to make an effort to improve their relationship, give it a best shot, at least for the sake of the child.

Here’s another instance – Sami, a bachelor has been the family cook for forty years now in Hari’s family. They consider him as like a family member. Please note the accent is on ‘like’ and not ‘is’. What’s the difference – being a family member and likened to a family member is that the significance of the relationship is accorded. The phrase ‘like a family member’ is a designation or privilege given to him. Like any privilege this too can be withdrawn.

Sami is old and the family has scattered. Who needs him now when everybody has gone nuclear? Where will he go? The worst part is talking about his dispensability in his presence. Which is painful – is it the knowledge that he is no longer needed or the words that he is made to hear about his uselessness in the family. It is like hanging the dog and giving it a bad name. The spirit is dead what is the use of killing with harsh and hurtful words repeatedly?

Sami is diagnosed of weak heart. The truth is his heart is broken.

I implore, let the man be allowed his dignity at old age. Leave him with his fond memories of the past. It’s that which would keep him going – his heart might not survive but at least it can be mended.

These are just two instances, helpless situations where I have been a witness to the proceedings. Out there the situations could be varied and numerous. But nevertheless depressingly present.

Words when used indiscriminately will only bring about a ’schism’ and if not rectified will precipitate issues resulting in estrangement and total break in communication. A time may come when this isolation will be irreparable and too late to make amends. Remorse and guilt will not alter the situation and by then it would irrevocable.

So please, please keep your communication channels open. Relationships – be it parents and children; husband and wife; in-laws and siblings; friends and family – pay heed to this yearning.

Words have the power to heal. Use them with care otherwise things will go beyond repair.

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Responses to The Power of Word

  1. 1 Nisha Tewari

    Nice article. Looking forward to hear more on this.

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