Remember the children’s verse:

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”?

That’s a lie. Words do hurt.

Take, for instance, the parent who has a child say “I hate you”. Or, the parent who tells a child, “You’ll never amount to anything.” These are words that can feel like a knife in our heart.

When someone in a relationship hears the words “I don’t love you any more”; that hurts, too.

Career wise, being told “You’re fired” can make our heart sink, get our mind reeling and can change not only our life, but our life style, as well.

Some who hear the words, “You’re broke” can become so depressed, they contemplate ending their life.

Although we can forgive those who voiced the negative words, many will admit they never truly forget the specific words which were spoken. For some, those words will continue to play in their head like a broken record and possibly squelch their self esteem, as well as their hopes and dreams for a brighter future forever.

So yes, words can hurt us.

On the flip side, just hearing short statements such as “You’re awesome”, “You’re pretty” or “I love you” can lift us up.

Positive statements can make our heart sing or give us a reason to push forward. In fact, words of encouragement have been known to change lives.

In her free ebook, “Think Like A Black Belt”, Lori adds how words can help in self defense. She writes how, when spoken with authority, words can possibly thwart a physical or verbal attack or even save a life.

Words, which are simply individual letters strung together, truly do have power.

How we use them becomes a choice we all make.

Today’s Lesson

When we blog, our posts are compiled of words we choose to string together to convey a message.

In most cases, words are all we have to offer to our readers.

Via words, stories are told, lessons are taught, reviews are written, quotes are shared, photos are described, and comments are constructed.

Blog authors can become known and trusted because of what they write, and just as a caring friend can lift another person up with words, bloggers have the ability to to that, too.

Blogging gives us the gift of sharing via our words.

And it is in our words where our power truly lies.

How are you using yours?

Today’s Assignment

Our words can have a huge impact on the lives of those who read our blogs. How do you hope yours affect others?

Have the words of others changed your life, too?

Care to share?

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Look Who's Talking
  1. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    I believe this very much, that the words we say or write, they have an impact. And that can be positive or negative. My hope is that the words I share on my site can somehow offer inspiration to others. If I can say I have done this, then my site has been successful. And that is something my site has evolved into, and that’s been in large part to how I feel when I visit other sites, and what connects with me. Like being here, Barbara, and with all the care and support you offer to your readers. I think back to those early days, and when you took me under your wing, and in so doing – helped me in so many ways to fly myself. So, know that your presence in my life has been a wonderful blessing, and my hope is that I can give back just a portion of what I witness you giving all the time – the gift of yourself to others…
    .-= Check out Lance´s awesome post: Sunday Thought For The Day =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lance,

      You are living your “hope”. Having read your blog from nearly the beginning, comments you’ve shared on other blogs as well as Tweets, you definitely are an inspiration to others. Your kind heart always shines through and via your words you find a way to make each and everyone who encounters you feel special. That is truly a gift.

      My thoughts drift to how your gift for inspiring others could be used on an even larger scale, but I have a feeling you may be thinking of that, too. 🙂

  2. CharleneNo Gravatar says:

    Oh my, how true this is . Words can hurt, heal, uplift, tear down, etc. Sometimes it doesn’t matter at all where the words come from, if they’re directed at me personally I will react. *sigh* the joys of being human, heh?

    As for your question, regarding our own blogs and the words we use: “Our words can have a huge impact on the lives of those who read our blogs. How do you hope yours affect others? ”

    My hope is that my words encourage and teach others to do things differently. Sounds ominous and deep, but really it isn’t. I try to share the tips, tricks and tools that I use in my research business, hoping that my experience teaches someone something. That’s as far as I dare go – considering that unintended consequences play such a large part in communication, especially internet communication.

    Love the header pic by the way – the colors are soothing and the laptop looks fabulous.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Charlene,

      I don’t think you’re alone in reacting to words. Like you said, we are human.

      Isn’t it great how with a blog we can teach others what we’ve learned? Even if it’s just a tip on how to save a minute here or there, I can’t help but believe those who use what we’ve shared are grateful (whether they comment or not). And having been on your blog Charlene, I’d say you’re right on target. Keep up the good work!

  3. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – I see you’ve been putting the baubles away for another year .. I like the smart header. It’s good to see you back.

    I love going to other bloggers blogs and reading and learning from them .. I am probably better at toning my words on my blog and in comments than I am in speaking .. though not always. At least with typing we can type and delete – and I’ve done that occasionally .. one or two have slipped through – I would certainly hope more a negative aspect, than a rebuff – in fact that I don’t do.

    Re my blog – I share information that I want to learn about, or snippets that interest me, or pique my fancy .. and in my research (as such) I present this eclectic basket of pick-and-mix ideas to (as we would say in England “tickle people’s fancies” – ie trigger their interest to read more) – to want to continue to visit and ‘learn’ something new, a different approach.

    Though I do try and bring ideas and thoughts, with generic words, to the English speaking world – rather than just an English audience .. as here with these odd phrases I’ve thrown in – they would probably be misinterpreted elsewhere in the world!?

    Words – especially in this social media world .. it’s critical to keep the lid on, or be able to justify your words .. be true to yourself ..

    Have a wonderful year – Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters Inspirational Stories
    .-= Check out Hilary´s awesome post: Books, books – Glorious books … =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Hilary,

      Yes. All of the holiday baubles have been packed away. 🙂

      That’s what I like about your blog. As you learn, you teach us. Not only do you share the “what or why” behind a topic, you find just the right photograph to compliment it. As we all know, a photo is worth a thousand words, so you blog posts go beyond just the written word and take us on a visual journey.

      That is true. In different parts of the world, we have different sayings. To the first time reader what is written may be confusing, but for those who stick around (like me) I find it to be educational as well as amusing how we use words differently to say the same thing.

      On that note, I don’t have a problem when bloggers stay true to themselves and their heritage and continue to write in their native “language”. That’s what makes you, you.

      I’m wishing you a wonderful year too, Hilary.

  4. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    You bet words make a difference! As bloggers, we find out each and every day how our words are impacting the rest of the world. Whether it is through comments or visitors not staying long.

    Sometimes it is very hard not to blast someone with harsh words but figure out a way to get your point across without using name calling, cursing, etc.

    However, most of us try to use words in such a way to teach or share our information as we see it.
    .-= Check out Linda´s awesome post: The Roman Green Genius =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Linda,

      That’s a good point. Comments and the length of time our visitors remain on our blog says a lot.

      And you’re right. In anger we could easily “blast someone”, but maturity tells us we’ll be seen as a bigger person if we handle those situations in a diplomatic way.

      With regard to your blog, I like how you find stories that teach your readers how just by doing a little, they can do their part to make this place a better world for future generations. Even if it’s something that may not apply to all of us, you do get us thinking “green”.

  5. Words are indeed powerful. And I had the happy good fortune to find out just how powerful this past autumn.

    Over this past summer I had a very bad spell. A series of misfortunes, including illnesses and tragedies that befell a number of my family and friends. It was like a domino effect, one thing after another and then the last straw was falling ill myself. I was unable to keep up the blog for many weeks and became more and more discouraged.

    Summer became fall and I began to try and bring the blog back up to speed, my enthusiasm was gone. Then one day a new reader to the blog pounced out of nowhere to tell me how wonderful he thought the site was. I was dumbfounded and told him how far behind I was and the told him the horror stories of my summer months. A complete stranger, what was I thinking? He’s been there ever since bolstering me with words of encouragement and offers of help.

    I’m almost back on track now and Blogs With Wings is no longer limping along on the ground, but once again is soaring the blogshpere! Thanks to simple kindness and the power of words.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Joella,

      Thank you so much for sharing the story of how via words from a kind reader, you were inspired to keep your blog going.

      With blogging we often get that feeling our words aren’t making a difference; maybe because we’re not getting comments or a lot of traffic, but your story shows how just by receiving one comment was what you needed to continue on. Blogosphere is truly an awesome place. I’m so happy to hear you’ll be around for a long time to come.

  6. Mike GoadNo Gravatar says:

    Words can certainly hurt and some people are naturally more sensitive to words — and their pain — than others.

    I try, in my writing — in posts and in comments –, to consider how my words might impact others and, as a result, there have been times where I have edited or deleted drafts or comments before posting.

    Unfortunately, though, there are mean-spirited people who actually thrive on using words in ways that are painful to others.
    .-= Check out Mike Goad´s awesome post: The weather is…. =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mike,

      That is true. Some are more sensitive than others. I like how you pointed out how we have the ability of editing out or deleting that which we think may be misconstrued before we hit “publish” or “reply”.

      And yes, it is unfortunate some thrive on being mean, but I’m guessing you haven’t encountered much (if any) of that on your blogs, as you’re such a kind and considerate person.

  7. Lori HoeckNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you, Barbara, for mentioning my free e-book on self defense. You’re awesome!

    I agree, words are powerful in self defense, in blogging, and in life.

    My husband has taught me more about this subject than any professor or newspaper editor. He speaks more from a kind heart than anyone I know, and it shows in what he says. This idea has also been more deeply ingrained with an increased understanding that Christ is referred to as “Logos” or “The Word” and that scripture (which seems to be just words) is called “living and powerful.”

    Such a perspective makes me weigh words a bit more when writing. Now I try to educate and uplift with them, not just vent my thoughts.
    .-= Check out Lori Hoeck´s awesome post: Why are narcissists such crazy-makers? =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Lori,

      Your husband sounds like an amazing man.

      I love the lesson you’ve learned about weighing your words over writing. Although blogs are often used to vent our thoughts and feelings, by uplifting others we can accomplish so much more.

      With regard to your ebook, I do hope anyone who is reading this downloads and reads it as your words are so concise as you describe how we can use self defense skills to keep ourselves and others out of harms way. Thank you for sharing your expertise, Lori.

  8. Hi Barbara,

    Happy New Year! I love the message of this post. So often when people blog, they do it as a means to make money or promote their career. As a result, we do not see much open dialogue about the life of the blogger. Granted, not all blogs are related to personal issues or matters which is cool.

    However, I do think it is important for the author to convey some kind of warmth and heartbeat. We are all human beings and we are all are trying to achieve what we desire. There is no need to pretend to be all perfect when none of us are.

    I think it was C.S. Lewis who said “that people read in order to know that they are not alone”. I think the same holds true for blogs and so it is very important to be aware and conscious of what we put out there. No one likes a fake.
    .-= Check out Nadia – Happy Lotus´s awesome post: Decisions, Decisions, Decisions =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Nadia and Happy New Year to you, too.

      I love the quote you shared how people read in order to know that they are not alone. That sure fits blogging, doesn’t it?

      Having you here reminds me of how the direction of your blog changed not only because of the words you were sharing, but how your readers sensed spirituality was near and dear to your heart and wanted more of that from you. And look at you now, you continue to be an inspiration to others who are on the same path. I love how that works.

  9. Yes — the words of others have not only changed my life but have SHAPED my life. Words can break or build someone – let’s all build only good things together through kind words!

    I so endeavor to keep it positive on my blog. And I only ever review books and products I absolutely love.

    I hope my blogging words bring smiles. I hope they impart friendship. I hope they bring warm fuzzies.

    I know kind words always make my day!

    .-= Check out Jannie Funster´s strange, yet somewhat delightful post: “Doll Bed With Wine,” “For A Dear Friend” & “Kelly’s Korner, About Two Hours Ago” =-.

  10. And — Oh, and I just noticed your great new header!! Stellar, Barbara — simply stunning and stellar!
    .-= Check out Jannie Funster´s awesome post: “Doll Bed With Wine,” “For A Dear Friend” & “Kelly’s Korner, About Two Hours Ago” =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Jannie,

      Isn’t that the truth? We can build good things if we make a conscious decision to do so.

      I don’t think you need to worry about your blog. It’s always filled with positivity, a sense of friendship, warm fuzzies and tons of smiles or laughs. You put the fun in “Funster”, light up blogosphere with your “Jannieisms”, and are truly an inspiration to all of us. Please don’t change. 🙂

  11. LinNo Gravatar says:

    Words can definitely hurt people regardless of whether they are adults or children. It’s also true that those words are often never forgotten but can sometimes replay over and over in our minds for the rest of our lives.

    People who have been abused in their childhood, marriages or relationships often say that the mental and emotional abuse they experienced because of things said to them is worse than being physically abused. The bruises and marks go away in time but the emotional damage is done, deep seated scars remain, never to be forgotten.

    With my blogs, I hope my words help to convey to people the importance of standing up for themselves when needed and never ever find themselves tolerating and putting up with things they ought not.
    .-= Check out Lin´s awesome post: People Pleasers and Doormats Care What People Think About Them =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lin,

      Thank you for sharing the fact of how verbal abuse can stay with a person long after the scars from a relationship have gone away. It’s a great reminder of how our words can have a lasting affect on others.

      I commend you for using your blogs to share the importance of standing up for ourselves. Although for some it may take practice, by reading blogs like yours, you are giving them a soft place to fall. Keep up the great work.

  12. Your post reminded me that I wrote about this very topic in February 2007:

    I had forgotten about that incident & what I wrote in response . . . until today. We must be cognizant of how our words impact others in ALL settings and at all times. I find it becoming increasingly challenging to be mindful of the impact I might have on others in this age of instantaneous and throw-away communication. Everything is a sound bite. Everything is lightning quick. Everything seems to be disposable. What happened to the days of stopping, pausing, and then responding? They seem to be gone. What is all of this doing to our psyches? I’m sure historians will have fun figuring it out.

    Excellent, thought-provoking article.
    .-= Check out Hopeful Spirit´s awesome post: Speaking of Angels (Volume One) =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Hopeful Spirit,

      I clicked over to your post and ironically just the other day as I was reorganizing my bookcase, I ran across the book you showcased in your post, “The Four Agreements”. You’ve inspired me to reread the book. 🙂

      I hear exactly what you’re saying. We do live in a world of throw-away communication. Sadly, because everything is so fast, we often forget we’re dealing with humans whose feelings haven’t changed.

      Historians? Oh yes, they will have a field day figuring it all out.

  13. Wilma HamNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    I always remember reading “Speak with good purpose” from the book 4 agreements and that supports me to be careful with words.
    However there is always room for misunderstanding and what I really appreciate is the willingness from the receiver to ask for clarification or to declare how words have landed.
    Especially with humor things can land not as intended and I love it when I and other people are present enough to notice that words are not getting received according to their well meant intent.
    Although I am vigilant, how my words land still can escape me sometimes and I only notice that when I get feedback and thus receive a chance to create more understanding.
    And of course there are always people who love to feed their pain body as Eckhart Tolle says and I am learning to discern when that is the case and not get upset.
    Thank you also for sharing Lori’s words, that is powerful and thank you for sharing yours, Barbara.
    Lots of love and good words in 2010, Wilma.
    .-= Check out Wilma Ham´s awesome post: Only acceptance has you do things differently. =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Wilma,

      *smiles” I had just told Hopeful Spirit how I had found my copy of “The Four Agreements”. That’s a great book, isn’t it?

      You’ve raised a great point. If we read or hear something, before we jump to conclusions, it’s best to ask for clarification. Like you said, humor can often be misconstrued and feelings can be compromised. Fortunately, with blogs, the comments section is usually open so we can ask the author exactly what they meant so as not to be confused.

      Love and good words to you too, Wilma. 🙂

  14. DotNo Gravatar says:

    What a great point! I’m someone who used to be incredibly over-sensitive to negative or imagined negative comments, and I still retain some of that thin skin today.

    I was just watching a short piece on Scott Hamilton, and thinking of how he radiates friendship. Do I radiate friendship? No, I distrust people and feel fear when meeting new folks, a legacy I’d like to overcome.

    What an excellent idea, to be kind when blogging!

    PS – GREAT new header! I especially like the words from you — makes it more personal.
    .-= Check out Dot´s awesome post: Comment on Snowstorm! by Mama Zen =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Dot,

      Sometimes I think “thin skinned” people get a bum rap. Like you, I can get my feelings hurt, but I am learning to voice my feelings and letting the other person know it. Often something is meant to be funny, but if we’re not “in the mood”, the humor can easily escape us. Communicating our feelings opens the door for discussion and often the other person doesn’t realize what they said was out of turn, disrespectful or distasteful.

      Personally I think you radiate friendship, Dot. Don’t sell yourself short.

  15. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    I also like your new header – very nice way to get back to it! Thank you

    My mum always said, “if you don’t have something nice to say, do not say it at all.” It did not always work…..I did take it to heart. As a matter of fact I just did not write on a blog because I felt the writer was being unkind on purpose and masking the piece in what might be called humor.

    My parents used the word “stupid” a great deal when I was growing. It was assumed that they were referring to a behavior. But as an immigrant, I learned early on that “stupid” was used as an insult to the person’s intelligence in the USA.

    When I became a parent, I found myself using the word “stupid” with my children – referring to behavior….it was not until my 7 year old burst into tears did I realize I had fallen into an old habit and she was understanding it in her context.
    We all laughed over this word when we watched a series called Monarch of the Glen about Scotland. Every episode someone used the word “stupid” to describe a behavior or action. I think this allowed my child to forgive me and for me to forgive myself.
    Words can hurt.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Patricia,

      Thank you for sharing the story of how a word which was meant to describe a behavior can be misconstrued to describe a person. That goes to show how one simple word can affect us well into our adulthood to the extent we pass it on. Thankfully the series you watched taught you and your child forgiveness.

      Your comment reminded me of how we often “screen out” words, too. Instead of hearing or reading the whole sentence, we focus on one word. That can easily happen with blogging, especially if a reader is skimming the post.

  16. TracyNo Gravatar says:

    To put it succinctly, I feel I am at my best when I use my words to make people laugh. Everyone can use one of those, I think.

    Great food for thought in the comments. I am enjoying reading them all.
    .-= Check out Tracy´s awesome post: I know people, fabulous people =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Tracy,

      You do a great job of that – making people laugh. Although humor can be difficult to write, you’ve mastered the knack, not only in your posts, but in your tweets, as well.

  17. George AngusNo Gravatar says:

    Words are the commodity with which most of us trade. Spoken or written, they are hard to take back.

    I believe it is our responsibility as purveyors of the craft to use our words with great care. They have the power to wound and discourage and they have the power to enlighten and heal. I’m all for using them for the forces of good, not evil.

    And remember, sometimes it’s the words that are NOT said that can have the most impact on someone.

    .-= Check out George Angus´s awesome post: Okay, I’ve Written A Life List =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi George,

      That’s so true. Often what’s written “between the lines” is impacting others. With that said, your comment is a good reminder for us to ensure we’re not sending out a mixed message with our words.

      I’m thinking too, of how in real life, so much is said by “the look”. 🙂

  18. Oh I always learn from the words of others. I print off articles and use a highlighter on the good stuff I want to remember. I’ve incorporated ideas on index cards as affirmations…I could go on and on.

    I hope my blog brings to others as much wisdom as I garner from theirs.
    Thanks Barbara!I love the new look!
    .-= Check out Tess The Bold Life´s awesome post: 60 Ways To Become The Person You Love =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Tess,

      I like your idea of using ideas you get from blog posts as affirmations. When we think of all of the great words other bloggers are sharing, we will never run out of positivity.

      Have no fear. You share tons of wisdom.

  19. I’m probably the shallowest of your readers. I write about stuff that *I*care about… I don’t think too much about the impact it would have on my readers. Blush.
    .-= Check out vered | blogger for hire´s awesome post: MomGrind: Best of 2009 =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vered,

      Thankfully you do publish stuff that you care about, as it’s stuff that impacts a lot of us. As I’ve told you before, you are a great spokesperson for issues that affect many of us and our children, and without you, much of that might go unnoticed or undiscussed. For that, I thank you.

      P.S. You look so cute when you’re blushing. 🙂

    • Wilma HamNo Gravatar says:

      You might not always say much but I hear your honesty and that is what I like.
      .-= Check out Wilma Ham´s awesome post: Only acceptance has you do things differently. =-.

  20. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    I like your new header. It is nice that you invite us to have open conversations here.

    I believe that we should be very mindful about the words we use. Words can hurt or they can heal. We can change lives by the things we say. We should use them wisely!
    .-= Check out Evelyn Lim´s awesome post: My Gratitude To You =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Evelyn,

      That’s true. We can change lives by what we say. Hopefully everyone realizes the power they have, and like you said, use it wisely.

  21. Hi Barbara, I do believe that I want to be careful in the comments I leave as well as my own posts. While I want them to be thoughtful and insightful, I don’t want them to be mean-spirited or cutting. Reading Nadia’s comments, even though my blog is directly connected to my business, I don’t write the posts that way. I see the blog as the opportunity to share me and my thoughts and if someone likes the way I think, then perhaps my services may at some point have value to them too.

    I have seen some very mean-spirited bloggers and commenters. I have also seen blog communities rally when someone is attacked. When a blogger went after Danny Brown earlier this year, criticizing unjustly his 12for12K project and his involvement, the community rallied and supported him.

    I liked blogging from the minute I discovered it, probably because I always liked writing, but recently it is a joyful process and one I look forward to with excitement. There is much to learn but I find I have much to say. 🙂
    .-= Check out Julie Walraven´s awesome post: The Christmas Roast – Prime Rib =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Julie,

      That’s so true. By sharing who we are on our blog and in the comments we leave elsewhere, others can learn more about us. To echo what you said, blogs are the perfect place to show our personality as well as our work ethics.

      I know what you mean about liking blogging from the beginning. It’s an experience that’s hard to describe to a non blogger, but thankfully in blogosphere, we get to meet dozens of others who can feel the same.

      Happy Blogging, Julie!

  22. suzenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara! What an inviting new look! Love it! It reflects the warmth here! Just lovely, lady!

    Words are mighty powerful! I believe in sharing the best of them, the encouraging supportive ones. On my blog I like to share what I’ve read, or thought about, bits of experiences, wisdom, and with all this, I hope to encourage people to think – sometimes out of the box – and to find some humor, motivation or inspiration from what I write about. It has been a great vehicle to share my joy and enthusiasm with life and all the opportunity that is our daily bread.

    Can’t begin to tell you how I treasure your blog and the subjects you get us all to chew on! Thanks for being so good with YOUR words!
    .-= Check out suzen´s awesome post: Step it Up, Suck it Up – GET UP =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you for your kind words SuZen,

      Isn’t it great how a blog lets us do that? Share those lessons we’ve learned, funny stories, or what inspired us? And reading other blogs is like we have dozens of teachers from which we can learn. Teachers of all ages, from all over the world and from all walks of life. I’m thinking, where else we would find that and the only answer I can come up with is, blogosphere.

      Hugs to you, too.

  23. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Beautiful new header Barbara; both the colours and the typography you chose. Words are tricky, I agree. I find there is fine line between being authentic with your words despite what you *think* the other person might interpret from them, and filtering what you really want to say. I guess there are ways to deal with things offline as opposed to the public arena.

    I’ve caught myself feeling “charged” by certain words and remind myself that when there is a charge, there is something there for me to look at. Granted, I’ve seen people being out and out cruel to one another and that doesn’t solve anything. A message can be delivered so that the other person knows that you are doing your best to be honest and respectful at the same time.
    .-= Check out Davina´s awesome post: Mother Nature Waits for Nobody =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Davina,

      You’ve raised a good point. In fact, it reminds me of how we’re often told to write how we talk. However, when we’re writing we can’t show expressions, hand movements or the like. So like you said, it become a fine line between authenticity and filtering.

      “Charged words?” Yup! I hear you. I think many of us have those words or topics that push our buttons. What we do with that can become a challenge. If we comment too hastily we may regret it, but if we don’t, we may leave and then just stew. I like your idea of delivering a message while still being honest and respectful to the author.

  24. JeanneNo Gravatar says:

    Yours is a timeless message, Barbara! I know as a child I was hurt by words and I’ve always tried to be careful (as in, full of care) with words. In my blog I offer thoughts that are meaningful to me that I feel will resonate with others, although I admit I’m writing to myself as well, to remind me to “think highly”. It helps me walk my talk.

    Thanks for the reminder!
    .-= Check out Jeanne´s awesome post: New Words/New Worlds =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Jeanne,

      “Walk your talk.” That’s a favorite saying of mine, too. 🙂

      I like how you shared how words hurt you as a child, but you’ve chosen to break that pattern and learned to choose your words wisely. You’re not only a great role model for your children, but for those who know you in real life or in blogosphere.

      And you’re right. If we write what resonates with us, more than likely it will resonate with others, as well.

  25. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    Very thought provoking post — hey, a powerful post!

    It reminds me of a time, many moons ago, when somebody on my team said I have to set the example. I remember thinking, why am I the one to set the example … I’m just having fun like everybody else. He told me that like it or not, people are looking up to me as the leader (which was odd because I wasn’t the team leader.) I remember thinking I didn’t want to be the leader … but the way he put it made it very clear that people would follow my example. It was a shift for me to acknowledge the responsibility and play the role of service to others … it was a death and birth as the same time.

    While I liked to think I was just an insignificant Who in whoville, it turns out that influence happens — whether by design or by default — and it’s good to be aware of the impact. At this point, I hope the patterns and practices that I share lift others up and help them kick arse in life.
    .-= Check out J.D. Meier´s awesome post: How To Change a Habit and Make It Stick =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you J.D.,

      Isn’t that funny how that worked? That other person saw your leadership talents and then alerted you to it. Apparently you were already admired and respected by your peers even though you didn’t have the title yet. In your case it was actions speaking louder than words.

      Your patterns and practices are doing the trick. Not only in your real life, but on your blog, too. Keep up the great work!

  26. Words convey our thoughts, desires, and emotions. Words are so inherently powerful in so many ways, both spoken and written.

    To answer your question – I hope my words help and inspire others. I hope I can bring clarity and focus in the subjects I write about. I hope my words inspire thought and change. I hope my words bring happiness and success.
    .-= Check out Heather Villa´s awesome post: Weekend Reading: My fav’s from this week: 1/01/10 =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Heather,

      I love what you hope your words do for your readers. What you’ve written sounds like a perfect recipe for success, not only for you, but for those who frequent your blog, as well.

  27. jan geronimoNo Gravatar says:

    What a great way to open another year of blogging with this post about the power of words. Words can indeed empower or belittle. They’re sharpies. Must be handled with care. I’ve just been to Robert Hruzek’s Middle Zone Musings wherein he just declared 2010 as the Year of the Words. It’s a thought provoking post interwoven with a lovely personal story. Ah, great minds think alike, eh?
    .-= Check out jan geronimo´s awesome post: Happy New Year, Guys =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Jan,

      Yes. Words can be “sharpies”. I like the thought of 2010 being the Year of Words. That makes it sound like blogosphere will be alive with tons of great articles.

  28. DaphneNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara, this is a wonderful reminder that we need to be careful with what we say and what we do. I try to share my experiences as truthfully as possible for two reasons: (1) to gain from others’ experiences and to be supported, and (2) to give hope to others going through something similar, that they are not alone and that we can all lean on each other.

    The words of the bloggers I read, including you, have absolutely changed my life. Since I started reading more about personal development, I have implemented many of the lessons I have learned. The positive change that has resulted has made me very, very happy. Thank you for contributing to my happiness and for encouraging intelligent conversations on important topics!
    .-= Check out Daphne´s awesome post: Rocking 2010 =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Daphne,

      Isn’t it amazing how much valuable information bloggers are sharing? It’s like going to a candy store. And to have someone share from experience, like you do, certainly helps others who may feel alone in their battles.

      Who knew blogging could lead to such a wealth of information?

  29. CarolineNo Gravatar says:

    Good Lord it’s been too long! First of all, happy happy New Year to you! Looking forward to all the good things you have in store for us this year!

    What’s in a word? Great topic. My goal (if you can call it that) is to write about my life experiences in a way that my readers can relate to. I hope that what I write is uplifting and thought provoking. I never want to harm. I have learned (by reading The Four Agreements) to never take harmful words to heart.
    .-= Check out Caroline´s awesome post: Life should be like small plates of good food… =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Happy New Year to you too, Caroline,

      Writing to uplift others is a fabulous goal. I’m guessing by you sharing your life experiences your words will resonate with many and help them along life’s pathway.

  30. FriarNo Gravatar says:

    I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say Blogo-Land puts WAY too much emphasis on the words of others.

    Sure, there’s nothing wrong with encouraging tothers. But there are just too many “Experts” out there who claim to know what’s best for us.

    Everybody’s so busy “inspiring” each other, it makes me wonder, who’s left to actually think on their own and live their own lives? Good Lord, how did we all survive in the 1990s, before Blogging existed?

    The people who have inspired me the most in my life are mentors and role models that I’ve interacted with on a regular basis. Who have taken the time to get to know me and have taken me under their wing, and advised me when I needed it.

    Not some dead poets I’ve never met (or bloggers who know nothing about my life or personal situtaion).

    But that’s just me. 🙂

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Friar,

      I do agree with you on the fact there are many online who claim to be experts. What they write may work for some, but undoubtedly, not for all. In those cases, I say, “buyer/reader beware”.

      As for being inspired, I think the words of others can inspire us, but like you said, we also need to think on our own feet.

  31. “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God” John 1.1

    The Word was God…..

    I think about that scripture when this conversation rolls around from time to time. The word was GOD. That is how much power words can have. That’s a LOT of power.

    Power to love, power to hate, power to give life, to kill…..

    I wish to use my words to affirm love and life, to inspire and to build up hope.

    I know because I am human I fall short. But that is my daily goal.

    By the way, I have read Lori’s E-book, Think Like a Black Belt. It’s great and I highly recommend it to everyone. It is full of valuable information, it is easy to read and and can be finished in the span of an afternoon. Download it, you’ll be glad you did!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Wendi,

      Thank you for sharing that scripture. I agree. It’s a powerful one.

      You’ve brought up a good point. As humans we all fall short, but by sharing words of hope, we “lend a hand” to others and in turn build strength together.

      P.S. Thank you for the heads up on Lori’s book. I agree. It’s a must read.

  32. DaraNo Gravatar says:

    So very true…just like the saying, fight with your pen, not your fists! My site is comprised practically solely on user-based content (UBC), so my livelihood and our site’s success is entirely determined by words. Powerful little things!
    .-= Check out Dara´s awesome post: How do I answere this social studies question? =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Dara,

      I hadn’t heard that saying before. Thank you for sharing it.

      That’s a good point. When a site is dependent on user based content, words become the foundation. Without them, all would be for naught.

  33. PeggyNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I’m pretty sure my words have a positive impact on others. At least that’s the feedback I get – and sometimes when I write for my stepmom’s blog ( I don’t always write what my sister stepmoms want to hear…I write what the need to hear.

    Words that have impacted me – and writers I share frequently – Tess Marshall, Lance Eckum, Zeenat, Jodi Sloane, Megan Bord, SuZen, Wilma and Ann-Marie, Joy Christian, Angelia Sims, Nadia, you, just to name a few!

    Happy New Year!
    .-= Check out Peggy´s awesome post: Focus =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Happy New Year to you too, Peggy,

      I find your words have a positive impact. You have also raised a good issue; sometimes when we’re writing and trying to help others, we need to use words our readers may not want to hear, but like your said, NEED to hear.

  34. […] my sub-goals is to read all the books written by the career and life coaches who make comments on Blogging Without a Blog –  this is a good community base to work from….and the commenters are full of integrity and […]

  35. JACQUI JONESNo Gravatar says:

    Many years ago, when I was going through a very difficult time, and didn’t know how to get out of the situation, I met a lady who simply told me: “You can do it, things will get better”. Just hearing those words freed me. Just those words were enough to give me the hope I needed. I don’t know her name, who she is, or what she looks like anymore but I will never forget her. Her words were the lifeline I needed. Her words did magic for me. That’s how powerful words are. And I am eternally grateful to that lady.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jacqui,

      Thank you so much for sharing your touching story. That is a perfect example of how our words can touch the lives of others without us even realizing it. I’m sure she would be pleased to know her words were the catalyst that turned your life around.

  36. Hi Barbara,

    Words definitely mean something. I can’t tell you how many times I read and re-read a post to make sure my words help, not hurt, while still getting my point across. Especially since my new tagline/mission = “feel good living”.

    There are a lot of issues that “push my buttons” so to speak, but I’ve found other outlets for managing that, that are more helpful (at least for me) than writing. Writing is still relatively new to me (less than 4 years) and I find, as a result, my comfort goes more to video/speaking. Sometimes our words may not be mean spirited, but it’s hard to know the author’s true tone. With audio or video, the same message can come across in a very different light.

    Happy 2010!
    .-= Check out Stacey Shipman´s awesome post: Awake to Life, Turkeys and All =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Happy 2010 to you too, Stacey,

      That’s very true. By rereading a post, we can make certain our words add value and don’t come across incorrectly.

      I hadn’t thought of the difference between written words vs audio or video, but you’re right, the latter would add more clarity to our message.

  37. Jeremy DayNo Gravatar says:

    Hi All,

    Words are huge. It’s hard to say they aren’t when you are a blogger, otherwise what are you writing for?

    My biggest hope is that my words are encouraging and inspiring to people. Being a guy, I don’t think I have the best words for comforting people or making them feel better. But I do believe I have the words to help people take it to the next level. To really do something with their life.

    And without the kind words spoken to me over the years I don’t think I would be where I am today. It’s easy to get depressed in this world, but a kind person can make all the difference. So don’t forget that! 😉

    .-= Check out Jeremy Day´s awesome post: New Year, New Start! =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jeremy,

      It’s great to see you here again. It’s been awhile. I’m happy to see you’re back to blogging. 🙂

      I really like how you put that, “…a kind person can make all the difference.” That’s so true, and like Jacqui said in her comment, kind words did indeed, change her life.

  38. HulbertNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara. Interesting post. My honest opinion is that there are different levels of writers in terms of how effective they can convey a message to the reader and that is definitely through the usage of words. I think using words where you are clear, authentic, and informative can effect the reader in a positive way.

    I do think, however, it is very important that the reader “apply” the words that the writer is sharing because that’s all we really have as bloggers – words. But since there’s so much information out there, choosing the correct messages can be difficult. But at the end of the day, writers, or bloggers, can only do so much to convey a message through their own words; the rest is left in the hands of readers.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Hulbert,

      Thank you for bringing that up. Not only do we as bloggers have responsibility for being clear, authentic and informative, but readers have a responsibility, as well. If they have a problem discerning what a blogger has written, instead of taking the words at face value, they (almost always) have the opportunity to ask the blog author for clarification, as Wilma mentioned.