The Power of Words

One night, I was sitting in the very new yoga studio wondering about yoga. This is generally my natural progression after I leave my mat. I sit and wonder about how the physical, spiritual, and control of everything from my breath to my sight can just truly affect all of my life. This is sometimes positive and sometimes pushes me to work past something, dig deeper, and sit longer in the uncomfortable reality. Suddenly, a middle-aged woman excitedly taps on the glass window. “Yoga to fit your body!” she exclaims to her husband.

“Wow, that sounds perfect.” I hear him say. (Glass panes are not much of a sound barrier). She glances over and sees me perched at the computer. She smiles and waves. I smile back and feel a blanket of warmth roll over my body. I wonder if she has tried yoga. I wonder if this is going to be a return to the mat after feeling wounded or ashamed. I wonder if she will continue to hold the joy surrounding yoga. After the moment has passed I sit and marinate in what has just happened. The choice of words for a poster in the window of this studio has allowed this woman to feel welcomed, excited, and even joyous. I realize that I was careful in choosing those words, and I realize that millions of people do just that to make a living in marketing everyday. Sometimes they make products sound much more alluring than reality just through the use of descriptive imagery or evoking of their emotions. Sometimes they mistakenly pair words with products that deter people from positive experiences, or worse vise versa. Every reaction to every word ties back to previous experience. Our brains hold so tightly to each past experience, and cause a chain reaction to each new experience.

What happens when we are not so careful? This instance was a wonderful exchange of positivity and hope. But what about those times we let our words out without a second thought? What about those emotions, and those reactions? What if we all took one more breath before we spoke? Would the world be a beat kinder? I myself often notice how eager I am to express an idea or tell a story without taking that important pause. I question this complete urgency time and time again. Sometimes this takes away from listening to a friend or family member. Sometimes this angst causes a moment of miscommunication. This ripple effect takes off and causes others emotional or even sometimes physical pain.

I am reminded of humanistic (positive) psychology and its focus on behaviorism. Small changes in a person’s behavior can have big changes in their life. What would it take for a few small moments in time to link together for positive change for humanity? As language evolves and time beats on I ask myself to take a breath between thought and expression. Perhaps if I can take one small moment in time I can create larger and more positive experiences akin to the woman knocking at the window. Perhaps if my pause in reaction allows for another person to feel joy instead of sadness, and that person starts to pause for positivity and so on and so forth we can begin to become empathetic and loving as a community.