We wear our words

What words do you live by? What words do you allow to accompany you in this life, and which have you erased from your experience? When you give your word, which word is it exactly and where does it spring from? Who do you allow to keep it, keep parts of you? Because our words, our personal words are like allies that we keep close, they are the chisels which we allow to carve out who we are, they are everything. Yet so few people look around and within to see what company they are keeping.

There is a saying which goes along the lines of “you are the sum of the five people who you surround yourself with”. Yet words are far more important than people. What are the words that you find yourself using again and again? If they are “should”, “can’t” “maybe” then you are an indecisive bantam weight at life, and you will never progress until you can erase these words from your vocabulary. Yet at least if you say “should” then maybe you should know better.

Perhaps the words around you are “yes” even though you don’t want to. Maybe “yes” is your answer because it stems from a place of confidence and ability and a genuine desire to help. Here, your “yes” works for you and is your power, when on someone else who is not truly aligned with “yes” it looks like resignation and bitterness. Words are personal and based on our own perspective once we take them inside us.


It began with the word – that comes from the bible and I always wondered what it meant. Who we are is made up of the sum of words that have been spoken to us, spoken above us, spoken around us and in turn, we are made up of the words that we use every day, the words that come from within us. The language we use shapes our thoughts, our thoughts shape our actions. Of course it begins with the word. We begin with the word. And we can change, at any time, beginning with the power of words.

I was listening to Bear Grylls in a podcast interview this morning. He was asked what would his kids say about him, how would they define him, what was his motto, his ethos. His response was “they would roll their eyes and say “never give up”. These words he uses so often they truly define him. Never give up is so important to him that he jokingly said if he ever got a tattoo, then that would be what it would say.

I found that interesting given that Bear is ex SAS so he has a military career as well as being an adventurer that has accomplished unbelievably dangerous and exciting goals. I think of the words that he lives by and see how much support for him they are. We should all have our personal words of power. I know I have many that I turn to and as I gather up a new motto or quote that resonates, I add them to my arsenal. A constant storehouse that I can dive into when I need help, wisdom, guidance, support. I also have special credos – the word credo itself means “I believe” – these words, passages have a certain energy that seems to speak just to me, I treat them as my own and guard them.

So words can be a powerful support and we reach for them in times of strife, grief or whenever we flounder and they shore up that burst feeling, offer a rope.

If you haven’t gathered it from this post, words are incredibly special to me. Not just as a writer and reader but as human. I have learnt how deep an impact that a word can have on the psyche. How it can propel or stymy, instil motivation or deepen the ennui, aid or hinder. So much more, and I’ve written extensively on this before, but not quite like this.

I hadn’t realised how much the words we allow into our consciousness could truly shape who we are. So much so that I have banned certain words and encouraged others. Some people like to come up with a word that is their word for the year, I don’t think I could settle on a single one though. I like the company of many words which is funny because I’m not one for a crowd. But I like good words the way that I enjoy the company of character filled people. Words, as I’ve said, can change you. But words are impartial – they are tools until we embody them.

Perhaps impartial is the wrong word for word. Perhaps to instead describe a word as a conduit, an empty vessel, may be more accurate. The power of the word comes from the meaning which your experience imbues it with. If a word was to be uttered in a foreign language that you didn’t understand then it may not mean anything to you. If that word was accompanied with body language that made it clear you should “run” “hide” or “stop” then it would probably elicit a certain response. But if someone criticised you in a language you didn’t understand then it would have far less impact then if you knew exactly what was being said. I sometimes wish my inner critic spoke a foreign language because she would be far easier to put up with and tune out. And that is the thing, if you choose the wrong words to surround yourself with and even worse, describe yourself with – you will very quickly deteriorate mentally and physically.

We think a great deal about the food that we consume when we are health conscious, but then allow all sorts of words into our mind that proliferate like weeds if allowed. Words should be chosen with extreme judiciousness. Don’t let a crappy word that makes you feel bad overstay their non welcome. Words are like people in that sense, and it is best to avoid the ones that deplete your energy if you can.

If you choose the right words, words of power, words of strength and passion and love, and you use only these words when speaking both to and about yourself, then words can be almost magically transforming.

Abracadabra is an ancient word that is thought to have been originally believed to evoke mystical powers. And it does, or rather, it points to the fact that words can invoke seemingly mystical powers. The word abracadabra come from the Aramaic phrase avra kehdabra meaning “I will create as I speak”. As we speak to ourselves and the world around us, so ourselves and our world is created. I think about that, I think about that a lot. When I find myself in a nasty internal conversation it is how I pull myself up by recalling, that, I create as I speak.

Do you do what you say you will do? Or do you just speak the words emptily into the air? People who do as they say they will do have a power that is perceptible. People who are fully aligned and match their actions with their words are charismatic and successful. People who think before they speak and only speak the truth are sought after for both company and advice. To embody powerful words is to infuse life with meaning and purpose. To deliberate for a time each day, which words do I choose to accompany me, to flow from me, to surround myself with and to infuse my actions with? Is to live in an intelligent and thoughtful way.

Words have energy and as they hit our consciousness they cause a corresponding energy within us. There have been experiments on plants which show this concept powerfully. But it is easily enough felt within as you hear words such as grace, peace, power, strength and then hear words like ugly, weak, despair, grief. To hear words particularly when they are used to describe something, someone and most especially ourselves, is like someone running their fingers over a keyboard in our body, our hearts, our minds, our guts. And it has the same response whether we hear the words externally or produce them internally ourselves.

A bit of food for thought. Choose your words wisely today. They will either be wonderfully supportive allies or the worst of enemies. the choice is ours. But if you had to wear them as a tattoo – or a series of tattoos, which would you choose?

Header photo courtesy Allef Vinicius Unsplash

12 thoughts on “We wear our words

  1. I would modify a sentence you wrote. Who we are is made up of the sum of words that have been spoken to us, *and what we do with them after we hear them.*

  2. I like to surround myself with words of inner purpose like spirit, soul, persona… What exactly was the point of the video with respect to this topic?

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