So today was my first day of university and I am currently testing the waters in the field of psychology. Let’s see, where I go from there. Being an avid reader, I have always understood that words be it written or spoken have a great impact on the human brain or psyche.
What inspired me to what really come here and write a post about “The Power of Words” are actually a few things that I have heard and had quite some time to ponder over; I am here again struggling with words in order to explain the musings of my poor little brain. So if I don’t make sense in between my words, forgive me.
I have decided to go in chronological order regarding all those thoughts of mine.
There was this poem we read in school in our English class when I was in grade 5 called “Sticks and Stones” by Ruby Redfort, it went little something like this:
Sticks and stone my break my bones, but words can also hurt me.
Sticks and stone break only skin, while worlds are ghosts that haunt me.
So when I first read this poem and the teacher explained it to us lot, at that time although we knew what the teacher was trying to explain to us at that particular time we didn’t really know the significance of it. Later in years as I grew up and experienced the world more and more, the emotion behind this poem and the power of words started making sense to me. I finally knew and acknowledged not secondhand but with my own personal experience that “Okay, I know what this lady was saying about words being more injury inflicting (mentally i.e.) and more damaging than perhaps getting a good beating (in a sense of course and by good beating I mean a pinch here and slap there!)”
The second time where I sat and really thought over the power of words is many year later i.e. a few weeks ago not that I didn’t keep thinking about it, as this brain of ours that has been given to us does nothing but think, think, and think. So as I stated earlier I am testing the waters in the field of psychology, at our orientation the professor while taking to us about the importance of psychological help and raising mental health awareness along with welcoming us student in to the study of the human brain and behavior told us to “never call a person coming to for psychological help i.e. counseling etc, a patient, as a patient is that person who is sick with something unnatural or has illness due to earthly reasons etc; but to call them a client so they don’t feel like there is something abnormally wrong with them.” This really stuck with me as, it made me think in a completely different light that, yes that is one correct way to look at it ( Being open to the fact that maybe the teacher is somewhat wrong, as even though the teacher is more experienced and learned in the particular subject than you doesn’t mean he or she was complete mastery over that matter). See, again words came in to play here; calling someone a patient can make them worse, back out and give up on themselves and whereas calling someone your client seeking psychological advice will make them feel that they are talking to someone who can guide them and will understand them and help them achieve the peace of mind that they are so desperately looking for me.
The last point that was been bugging at me is that a week days ago I met up with my friend who is pursuing her degree in medicine told me this very interesting fact about something related to the department of gynecology and how over there they don’t use the word patient for the mothers coming in to deliver their babies. The story she narrated as told by her professor is as follows: Benazir Bhutto (I don’t know how many of you know of her? She was the first woman Prime Minister in Pakistan and other Muslim countries) was in the process of giving birth to her first child she came to a Pakistani hospital for it, where when asked to fill a form there was only the option to sign herself in as a patient only on it. Where she refused to sign herself in as a patient as she told the staff that she is going through a phenomenon that is completely natural for a woman becoming a mother and women before her have been going through this same process from the beginning of time. Thus after the birth she filed a petition in the WHO at the UN for women who are in labor to be called mothers only and not patients as this is not an unnatural or abnormal phenomenon, which was eventually passed and thus led to this slight but significant change in the field of gynecology where doctors now refer to them as mothers instead of patients*.
So this is something else that for me strengthened the belief that see words can hold so much power and make or break thing as we know it. It’s all in the words we use and how we them, that is why e are told to think before we speak as words have repercussions that at time go beyond our minds and may seriously offend or hurt someone even if our intention may not be so. Hope this rant of mine somewhat made sense to you all, this was something I felt I needed to get off of my chest and I do have my blog here to do that.
*I have retold the story as well as I could remember, I tried fact checking the story but googling about Benazir Bhutto and her achievements and life for a small story like this, is like trying to find a needle in a haystack! But if anyone has heard this same story with a different version of it please share it with me!