According to Statistics Canada, the most at-risk segment of the population for suicide and violent attack is the LGBTQ community, particularly those under the age of 25. There are many factors as to why this is, and the one I am going to talk about today is ‘part one’ of three posts that I will write on the power of words.
As human beings, words are all we have. They are how we communicate, how we interact. They come in many languages, including Sign language where not a sound is made. Whether in education, advertising, doing business, or just having a discussion, we use words to relay information. Words can uplift us. Believers use the words of their faith and holy book to give them encouragement, confidence, and a sense of security. Unfortunately, words can also destroy. We can use words to take away the confidence that other words gave, we can threaten, discourage, and condemn.
We must never underestimate the power of words. We must never lie to our children by saying that words cannot hurt them. We must teach our children how to react to hurtful words, how to cope with them, how to use them, but to never underestimate their power. We must understand the impact our words can have. We must realize that the cowardice of saying hateful things while hiding behind a fake name online does nothing but make us weaker as individuals; as we lose our empathy and fall further into moral bankruptcy, leaving a trail of hurt feelings and ruined lives in our wake. That person you just threatened on YouTube may be the subject of the next suicide story on the evening news. That person you just called worthless may have been desperately looking for someone to say just one positive thing about them … but instead they ran into you. How would you feel to know that your comment was what finally drove them to escape their torture and misery? Would you be proud, knowing that your identity is hidden away, or would you be ahsamed? Conversely, that person you just complimented may have been prepared to end their life tonight. That person you just spoke to and said “good job” may have seen a glimmer of hope in an otherwise dismal outlook. How would you feel to know that your encouragement saved a life? This is the power of words.