Getting 100 about Words and Their Power

Getting 100 about Words and Their Power

This won’t be one of my War and Peace epic blogs but from time to time, I’m going to introduce some topics that I hope will lead to discussion and interaction. Somewhere along the way, expressions like ‘being 100,’ ‘keeping it 100′ or ‘speaking 100′ popped into the vernacular. Their meaning (if you don’t have your urban dictionary link handy or are unfamiliar) is simple — getting real, speaking the truth, being genuine or authentic. With your words and expressions however you deliver them.

 

So I’m going to be introducing a series of #Write100 thoughts and blogs and to do that, I’m going to get personal, moreso than I am accustomed to doing. But I think sometimes the only way to truly reach people is to throw your truth out there, raw as it may be, and look for common ground or understanding. I encourage you to reply, share and bring others into the conversation. This one is about words and their power.

100

 

So let’s #Write100.

 

There’s been a lot of talk about words lately, particularly this past week, when words were thrown about with little thought behind them or the damage they might inflict on someone personally. A reminder – this blog isn’t about politics. It’s about words. Not just the ones said though — the ones unspoken yet the meaning implied by their absence, too. I had a conversation with a friend not too long ago about a realization that I had recently. I was watching a TV news story about a program that was intent on helping young girls pre-teen and teens especially find their inner strength and beauty. I’m for anything to help people of any age or gender build their self esteem and at an early stage is even better since it is a time when many of us fight our fiercest insecurities in an arena that feels more threatening than when I was a kid or generations before me. In an era where everything can be caught in photos or on video or audio, young people have the power to truly hurt and bully like never before, and we’re handing them the weapons as birthday presents most of the time. Seeing this news story brought to my mind a realization that had never occurred to me before.

 

My friend and I were talking about our memories growing up and how people treated us and I shared my realization there that I could not recollect anywhere in my past as a tween or teenager ever hearing anyone tell me I was beautiful.  I don’t say this for sympathy but it was simply a revelation that had never dawned on me. I regularly received compliments that echoed a belief I was smart or funny or clever. And I had plenty of not so flattering comments from peers that only reinforced my negative body issues or growing suspicion I wasn’t pretty. But honestly, I don’t remember anyone ever telling me I was pretty. Again, I don’t say this for pity but to ask you: what was your experience? I think sometimes the things we never hear but long to be told can be just as devastating as negative comments, and they can reinforce our insecurities and self-imposed limitations on what we feel we deserve. Or don’t.

 

Several people reading this may have kids in their lives such as grown or younger children, maybe younger siblings or nieces and nephews in their lives, grandchildren — think about your own communication with them. What messages have you sent them? Have they been consistent or more importantly, have they said everything you might want to convey to them? The couple of people with whom I’ve shared my revelation told me they had similar experiences growing up. I assume that among the ‘pretty kids’  I might discover some who felt they were never taken seriously as students or thinkers, for often we seem to be under the impression that beautiful people can’t possibly offer anything in the way of intellect. That has to be a horrible feeling to feel completely underestimated from a first glance. I do wonder if any of those kids who I thought ‘had it all’ grew up to doubt their own intelligence because others never bothered to notice it, so lost in their starry eyes at their attractiveness.

 

I think about the kids today, with everything so much more visual, easily accessible and convenient to distribute to multitudes of other peering eyes. How much pressure it must be on social media for them as they grow up in a spotlight far larger than any of us have been subjected to during our own childhoods. Think how much value and power the right words could be to a young boy or girl’s psyche who experiences self-doubt. Whether they lack confidence in their appearance, their intelligence or their value on this planet, people coming into their orbit and frequently reminding them of their worth could do a world of good. It’s not about lying. I believe in being honest with our feedback but sometimes, people cannot see their own beauty, goodness or contribution they make in the world. We have the power with words to help them see it, recognize it for themselves and feel it as they walk the Earth and try to make some sense of it.

 

Just a thought to ponder as you interact with other human beings out there, regardless of their age, gender or background. I know for me it took a really long time to see anything in the mirror that ever resembled what I might call pretty. I still struggle with it at 47 years old. The power of words as well as the absence of them can leave a long-lasting mark. But the right voices in our orbits and in our hearts can help us learn how to see ourselves for who we are. Letting ourselves believe them becomes the next challenge.

 

Feel free to share here with me or out there somewhere about the power of words or their absence and its impact on you during your earlier years or now. Join me and #Write100.  Thanks for reading. xo ~ Chris K.

2 Comments

  1. Mark Grago

    Reading this article compelled me to interact with my own childhood. As it stands, I cannot ever remember anyone, including my school teachers, telling me I was smart or creative. In fact, I was in special education classes primarily because I was disinterested in the curriculum in place at my school and did poorly in my subjects as a result. I was told I ‘needed’ SPECIAL help. As it turns out, I became a writer because it was the tool I ended up exerting most in my life to get my interests moving in a most literary and articulate way. It is so important what we tell our children; it is more important that the ‘words’ spoken have the capacity to demonstrate the proper positivity that every child needs because this is so often undermined, especially, as this article demonstrates, the social media craze that children are regularly in sync with. Keep the excellent articles arriving, Chris!

    • chriskuhn

      Thank you so much, Mark, for sharing your own experience and how words impacted your life at an early age. I appreciate you getting 100 here with me and kind words, too. *curtsies* Keep on writing! And thanks again for reading. ~ Chris xo

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