The Power of Words: How What You Say Impacts Others

“You are what you say;” - could this be true? Does what you say to someone say more about you than the recipient of your words? We all know that words linger. You can’t unsay certain things. Words, rolling out of our mouths or tapped into our phones too hastily, before we have time to stop and think about them, can be like atomic bombs.

We all know words are super powerful and therefore we make a point about thickening our skin so negative words will have less of an impact. The advice often dispensed to ‘shake off’ negative words and ‘move on’ may be good once things have been said, but a much more effective plan (and necessary for our mental health) is to NOT say bad things in the first place; to work at the root cause and make a real effort to use good words instead of bad ones. Remember that words can be forgiven, but not forgotten.

Is there a science to the power of words? Endless tomes have been written about this topic, but one Japanese scientist took a fascinating new approach. In his book ‘Messages From Water and the Universe,’ Dr Masaru Emoto stated that the molecular structure of water changes according to the positive or negative vibrations, words and thoughts it is exposed to. The exposed water, once frozen, produces either beautiful or ugly crystals. Whoa! Our human heart and brain alone is 73% of water and therefore his point - that we become different people according how we are being spoken to – rings rather true.

Masaru Emoto then did another experiment to prove the same point with his country’s favourite food: the rice experiment. He put two equal amounts of rice and water in identical glass jars and sealed them. One jar was labelled with the words THANK YOU and the second jar with the words YOU FOOL. The jars were left in a classroom and students were asked to tell the words on the label to the rice in the jars, twice a day, for a month. After a month, the ‘Thank You’ rice was white and normal and had no smell, yet the ‘You Fool’ jar’s rice had become smelly, black and putrid.

At TalksforTeens we did the same experiment to see for ourselves. We used two identical lidded jars, with the exact same amount of rice and water and placed in the same light exposure. It was immediately clear after a week that the water in the ‘Hate’ jar was not being absorbed into the rice and started to ferment on top and was smelly. The water in the ‘Thank you’ jar formed into a perfect, white layer of rice with all the water absorbed and no smells.

But even without the rice experiment and the many books that have been written about the power of words, we don’t need proof that words matter. We know that hearing negative words and using them ourselves, makes us feel bad and unhappy. And the reverse is also true - that being kind (see our article on being kind) makes us and those around us happier, and kindness is contagious.

So Dr Masaru Emoto simply showed us what we already knew, but what we needed to hear and see. Carrying a metaphorical Thank You jar with you will allow you to choose your words wisely and your world will be so much the better for it.

Recommended Links:

“The power of Words” by Winston Churchill, published in 2012 by Da Capo Press