Words That Kill Me

by Rebecca Happy on September 8, 2010

The Power of Words

The power of words spoken, read, written and heard  have the power to actually eat away at your soul and each time they are uttered they will actually deflate your being and kill off  a piece of you. On the other hand they also have a the ability to inflate  your being and build your spirit and take you to a whole new experience of living, bright and beautiful.  Words inform us about all kinds of things including insights into who the speaker is.

Who you are online is important to pay attention to. Once you put something out into cyberspace there is no way really of getting it back. Who you want to be in the next 5-10 years is built on who and what you are today. With this new world of the social web and social media and the speed with which things get spread I think it is essential that you become responsible for the words you use. As marketers I am sure you are aware of their power. In your ongoing tweaking of what works and what doesn’t you seek the strongest ones to grab people’s attention to get them to listen to you and hopefully become your customer. It is time to wake up and apply this knowledge to all aspects of your life.

One of the biggest insights I discovered in the world of  successful entrepreneurship is the dedication that leaders have to personal growth and development. The more they hone their self knowledge the more they become aware of the interconnectedness of all humans. Once your eyes are open, there is no more of this putting your head in the sand.

The Power of Word'sWords That Kill Me

So for all those that are committed to making themselves and our world better I have a couple of thoughts I wanted to share with you on thoughtless word use. This came up to me the other day when Jennifer Anistan said she was like a “retard” when being interviewed on Regis and Kelly. There was a large outcry in some of the blogging community and in the community of people with developmental disabilities. You would think that she would know better. Words that denigrate a demographic have no place in an evolved inclusive  community. When used to flippantly make a point or a joke because it gets a quick laugh or makes a quick point is still wrong. We all know that defining a community with degrading terms like like “retard” or “faggot” or the “N” word is wrong.

I have come across it in my online community and have pointed it out when I have. I wanted to share one blog I read in response to the Anistan remark where a very intense conversation entailed. Please take the time to read it >> The People Who “Are” In fact Fox news picked it up and re-posted it and some of the comments are filled with words that kill veiled under people’s claim of the right to free speech. If you read the entire conversation I am sure you will be left with a much greater awareness of what this demographic of people go through regularly.

Time to Enter the Human Race

Once you realize that these people have been to hell and back because of how they were born yet are still able to stand tall in who they are you will be as shocked as I am that some people still like to use the word “retard” or “retarded” in reference to their own abnormal behaviour or in name calling others in fun or in anger. I am writing this to underline my belief that if you are planning on interacting with others it is time to reconsider your use of offensive vocabulary. If you are on the path of awareness and being an evolved human being it is time! An inclusive society has room at the table for all its members to share their gifts. It is time to stop using the “R”, “N” and “F” words in fun or work. It is time we all entered the human race.

I have worked with people with developmental disabilities for over 20 years. I raised my family in a l’Arche community. My life path has been transformed because of deep relationships I have with people with developmental disabilities. Many people are unaware of the gifts these people bring to the table because they have never had or taken the opportunity to befriend them. Most are stuck in their own discomfort of the unknown so prefer the comfort in their segregated circle of friends.

I wanted to share a video that one of our communities made with a small group of people for you to get to know a few of them. They were all asked a series of questions on identity. I love this video for many reasons and I think many lessons can be garnered from listening to it. For one, it provides you with a great opportunity to celebrate the oneness of our humanity. Please enjoy I Am by a L’Arche group from Cape Breton

and while you do, think about who you are and what is the defining line here? Are you not similar to what these people have stated?

In conclusion I want to share with you one of America’s greatest wordsmiths comment on words that kill and the blight they are on our humanity.
If you dare I would love to hear about your experience of times when people have spoken words over you or around you that killed a part of you.

Thanks for dropping by

Rebecca Happy~The Connector Gal

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  • melanie

    Thanks for posting this, Rebecca! It’s unbelievable how often we hear the “R” word in everyday conversation…it makes me shutter. Thank you for speaking out, Rebecca!

  • melanie

    Thanks for posting this, Rebecca! It’s unbelievable how often we hear the “R” word in everyday conversation…it makes me shutter. Thank you for speaking out, Rebecca!

  • melanie

    Thanks for posting this, Rebecca! It’s unbelievable how often we hear the “R” word in everyday conversation…it makes me shutter. Thank you for speaking out, Rebecca!

  • http://www.stevenleconte.com Stevenleconte

    You are totally right! The way that we express ourselves have a big impact. The Internet and the world as a whole would be such a better place if we all took an extra minute to reflect before speaking up or writing something negative. Words have so much power. They can create but they can also destroy.

  • http://www.nicolerushin.com Nicole Rushin

    This is a really well planned and thoughtful post. Thanks so much for bringing up this important topic. Although, sometimes words just come out of people mouths. I doubt Jenifer Anniston meant anything by the comment. I forgive her. As a writer I know the power of words but sometimes say things that people take offense to. I sometimes have a brash and cynical personality and sense of humor which some do not understand. I can’t change it and don’t want to stop laughing at this silly world around us. I would never say anything derogatory towards anybody but in the same token, some people just need to lighten up and be able to laugh at themselves. It is a hard line. Words are powerful but a sheer sense of self confidence and self esteem gives one the ability to ward things off that serve them no purpose. So is it in the speaker or the one listening. I have a lot to say on this subject. I had a comment on one of my FB post from a lady who took offense to me saying, ‘Don’t let the heat get you down.’ Now, what was all that about? Should we walk around in fear of offending the sensitive? I seriously think that if someone took offense to Jennifer Anniston calling herself a retard then there are some deeper issues going on within our society and she was just an easy target for finger pointing. What we really need to teach is self confidence and leadership within our society and eventually the words will disappear. There would be no need for them.

    • http://www.twitter.com/rebeccahappy rebeccahappy

      I think it is in the thoughtless choice of words that you need to stop and take account. Perhaps there was no intent but I would not right off the hurt just because the speaker was ignorant. Have you gone in and read the discussion of the blog link I placed in there. Replace the word with any other one and see how that rides..there are many that I am sure you would never utter.
      I think there are issues going on in our society and it is important to look at how we are making it for the good of all. Humour is great but there is not need to be derogatory at someone elses expense just because you can out of habbit and because you get a great laugh because it part of the norms of society. Words change all the time and we are in evolution. I am sure Jennifer will think twice about how she thinks about people with intellectual disabilities the next time she meets one or wants to use these words to express herself.
      Ask any kid how much they like to be called a retard or a fag….why do we have to propagate such a negative view of the word that denotes a segment of the population in such a pejorative manner….that is where it is a wrong choice. People with a developmental disability did nothing to impart this type of treatment in jest or in meanness. There are a host of other words to choose to create laughter..

  • http://www.passion101.com/blog Dr. Adam Sheck

    Rebecca,
    Thank you so much for this powerful post and the links as well. Words are SO powerful. They define us, they define those around us, they define the world. We really must pay attention to our thoughts and what comes out the “loudspeaker” in order to create a better world.
    Thanks again,
    Adam

  • http://www.theinternetintern.com/blog Bryan McHeyzer

    Hi Rebecca,
    Thanks for your comments on my blog.

    As a child I remember the quote you have at the start of your post…however the crunch line was “but words will never hurt me”.

    I do agree words are very powerful and should be used cautiously however I think we as a society have become over sensitive.

    Great post … thanks

    Cheers
    Bryan

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  • http://www.invisibleheartstrings.com Debbie@Invisible Heartstrings

    Thank you so much Rebecca. I am guilty. Although I always speak of the power of words, my actions do not belie my intentions.

    I choose to be aware of my words so they will bring love and support to the world.

    Thank you for holding this mirror to my face.

    One Love,
    Debbie Lattuga

  • http://www.avela.com China Sourcing Gary

    I dream that 100,000 people watch that video. Other than that I am speechless.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Rebecca, Thank you for having the strength to advocate on behalf of all people! Each and every one of us has something about which we are sensitive. Sometimes it is about ourselves or it could be about someone we love. Regardless, it behooves all of us to be cautious with our words.

    My teenage son, who is slim and athletic, has Type 1 Diabetes. People who do not know the whole story, often think that his Diabetes must be the result of a poor diet. Therefore, I must be to blame for not feeding him properly. It is not spoken in so many words, but the message is clear. This focus on poor diet is the result of all the talk in the Media about the Diabetes crisis among children, which is due to obesity. That is Type 2 Diabetes and it is a completely different disease. I feel badly enough that my son has a life-threatening disease, without people trying to lay blame where none is warranted.

    That having been said, I work hard to understand that people are just people and sometimes they just don’t know any better. I am sure that I say offensive things without knowing and I would be horrified to know that I hurt someone. Since I have my “stuff” I try to let other people have theirs. I’m not always successful. :)

    Mentor Mama

  • Chester Delameter

    Rebecca

    I agree with you that we can learn so much from people with developmental disabilities. I used to have the opportunity to DJ for the ARC Christmad Party in my area. It was always the best gig of the year.
    Thanks for the GREAT Post.

    Have a Great Day
    Chester

  • http://twitter.com/BekiDunmire Beki Dunmire

    Words definitely have power and people need to be aware that they can either use their words for good or for harm. Thanks for the reminder. :)

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