the power of words
Editorial By Susan O'Connor, illustration by Brittney Guest
Words are powerful. They can uplift a soul, or tear someone down. They can educate, or they can repress. They can even change the course of history.
Once uttered, words have great staying power in the human mind, especially if laced with emotion, either positive or negative.
All of this profoundness being said, we all have wonderful opportunities every day to build up the people we come in contact with. It is really so easy.
Vicki Nutt, our administrative assistant at Occasions and a woman who effuses positive energy, relayed the following story of an experience at Junior Auxiliary’s Charity Ball last month that illustrates my point.
Vicki was struck by the beauty and elegance of a woman dressed in an off-the-shoulder white blouse and palazzo pants, so she approached the woman and commented on her beauty. This stranger was completely taken aback, Vicki said, but it was obvious that the sincere words left her feeling very good about herself. At the same time, Vicki also received the joy of giving. She proceeded to praise other women that she admired that evening, spreading the love.
It felt so good that the next day, Vicki stopped a girl in Wal-Mart to say, “I really love your jeans. You look great in them!” The girl replied, with open surprise, “Really? I wasn’t sure if these jeans were right for me. Thank you so much!”
How often do we think something positive, but keep the thought hidden, either because of fear or jealousy or just because we are not in the habit of sharing these types of thoughts. If everyone made a conscious effort to support and bolster those around us, the world would surely look and feel different. Just like if we all committed to one beneficial act for the environment every day, the cumulative good would be astounding.
In a work environment, likewise, positive feedback in the form of pats on the back for work well done is vital to employee morale and group cohesion. This role has come naturally to me at any time in my career when I’ve been in a position to manage people. I am naturally enthusiastic and when I see a project well executed, or a creation that is exceptional, I gush. There is absolutely never a question about whether I like what I see.
In my role at Occasions, I spend a good portion of my time interviewing interesting people, then writing about their lives. I am always a little nervous as I send my words to press because there is no turning back. They are there, in black and white, for all to see. These words matter to the interviewees, their families, their employers or their businesses. There is power in the press.
When I hear positive feedback from the people I write about, or from readers, it makes my day. Because my goal is to accurately reflect an individual and how they are spending their time on this earth. It is a role I take very seriously.