How Words Truly Impact Us

Remember the phrase: “Sticks & Stones May Break My Bones, But Names Will Never Hurt Me”? What a bunch of BS that was! Tell that to the kid who was called dork/dweeb/nerd, & see if it never hurt.

Words matter, whether they’re directed personally at someone/some grp, or whether they are used to describe a place/action/decision, etc.

Ironic having this convo 3 short months after we shared how the term “social distancing” was just wrong. Maybe in the early 1900’s when the only form of “socializing” was at pubs, restaurants, dance halls & parks, it was spot on to stop the spread of viruses. But, in 2020, where we do much of our “socializing” on “social” media, encouraging ppl to distance themselves socially, at a time when we needed each other more than ever, that was not the right word choice.  Physical Distancing was more appropriate.

Why bring this up now? W/ so much unrest in our country/world…w so many ppl being asked by the media to choose “sides” even while I believe most would like to feel united…words right now, matter more than ever.

I’m a self-proclaimed word nerd, & that name that doesn’t hurt me. It’s part of the EQ that helps me understand certain situations & what ppl are attempting to communicate (even tho it can take the wind out of my sails when I think too much).

In MH it applies to terms like: 1in5, mentally ill, mental, sick, stigma, etc. I don’t believe anyone has bad intentions when using terms or words like this, BUT, the wrong choices can actually divide more than unite.

What’s going on in our world rt now, unfortunately, I believe there is much the same happening when it comes to the specific phrases/words being used, & how they DO hurt ppl (despite the line we’re fed, above).

If we think to terms used daily, rt now: “BLM” & how it compares to “ALM”…or White “Privilege”…or “Thugs, Looters, & Rioters” the words matter, the tone matters, the background as to how they were formed, matters. UNDERSTANDING the genesis, usage, & even explanations, are so impt to unify & not divide. Looking fwd to discussing these terms as part of the #SameHere “Hear Us Out” upcoming talks.

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