Words matter: Carefully crafting communication

Your words are more powerful than you think. When you choose to communicate carefully, you are less likely to hurt those around you.

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  • Have you ever yelled at water?

  • Probably not, but for Japanese scientist Masaru Emoto, screaming put-downs at water was just part of his research. In his studies, he discovered that positive words like "love," "peace," and "thank you" crystallized into beautiful ice formations. He also received similar results after praying over water molecules and playing uplifting music.

  • However, when saying harsh and negative phrases to the water, Emoto found that the molecules made a mess and were disorganized. Although his research is still theoretical, Emoto claimed from the results, "It may just be a simple combination of hydrogen and oxygen, but the intricacies of water are far more complex."

  • Water makes up to 60 percentof the adult human body. In newborns, it can be up to 75 percent. If your words can create either a beautiful combination of water molecules or a complete mess of them, imagine what they can do to your family members. Besides feeling influenced by the amount of water in them, humans also have fragile emotions, which can get hurt when painful words are shot at them.

  • In moments of frustration, it's easy to let emotions get the best of us and grumble insults at our loved ones without really thinking about the effects. The old phrase "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me" is actually untrue for most people. Long after a cast has healed a broken arm, teasing words from the playground can still sting a heart.

  • Our homes should be a refuge from unkind words, not a place where insults, whether a joking or argumentative, are tolerated.

  • When arguments arise, it is wise to try and settle them with peaceful discussion. Recently, a police officer in Rochester, N.Y. broke new ground when he sent out letters to gang members, politely asking them to stop their illegal activities. Although the impact of these letters is unknown, open communication to make peace with those around us is crucial.

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  • Whatever challenges your family is facing right now, sit down and talk them out. However, make sure you carefully chose your words. Marital stress. Dishonest kids. Teens dealing with depression. All of these issues and many more can be helped with loving, patient communication.

  • In the video, a woman changes the homeless man's sign. Instead of reading, "I'm blind, please help," she rewrote it as, "It's a beautiful day and I can't see it."

  • After his sign was rewritten, those passing by gave the blind man many more coins. Touched that he couldn't enjoy the beauty of the day, strangers decided to give him some money. If he just said, "I'm blind," they were more likely to keep walking. This is a great example of how our words, when fully thought out, can be extremely powerful.

  • Next time you’re communicating with your family slow down a little and choose the right words. Whether you're writing a love letter to your husband, or disciplining a rebellious teenager, expressing love instead of hurtful put-downs will help you show your feelings and be a peacemaker in your home.

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Alysa Kleinman is a journalism student and an intern at Deseret Digital Media. 

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