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Lisa Collazo : The Power of Words

The Power of Words

By Lisa Collazo

"Words, so innocent and powerless…when standing in a dictionary, how potent for good or evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them."— Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) American Novelist

Words are powerful things. They can stimulate intense emotion, thought and creative ideas for the writer to form into their very own work in progress. Words communicate who we are, our perceptions of the world and our role in it.

I love words. I enjoy reading them, voicing them and digesting them into my vocabulary. When I hear a word that resonates with me, I become giddy and eagerly slip the word into my language pocket — feeling a sense of disappointment for not discovering it on my own. I then take it upon myself to use that word as often as I can. This can be challenging when my seven-year old son asks with annoyance, "Why do you always say that word, Mommy?" To hold his interest, I'll suggest he share a favorite word with me, and we make a game of it. A recent favorite word of mine is serenity. I seem to be drawn to 's' words for some reason. Solitude and spirituality are other words I enjoy.

I'm convinced it's not an accident that I'm drawn to words that trigger what I want to feel or experience in my life. It's during the tough times that I need to be careful with my words. I'm learning how quickly I can fall into a funk if I'm not conscious of my word choice. I believe it's natural to slip into thinking negative thoughts when we're feeling like our lives are disorganized, stressful and uneventful. It's moments like these that words like "stupid", "uncreative" and "unoriginal" creep in. I've discovered the best remedy to deal with this is to create mini-mantras throughout the day such as "I deserve to feel serene today" or "I'm a complete human being on a spiritual path." I used to think it was corny, but I've been trying this consistently for months and it works for me.

Here are a few tips for opening up your own powerful word vocabulary:

  • Think of your favorite words. Why do they resonate with you?
  • Come up with 5 words that best describe who you are.
  • Catch yourself using a word that brings you into a negative place and ask yourself: "Is this really true?" This question will help you to become more conscious of your word choice.

Whether they simply slide off your tongue or move across the page, enjoy the process of becoming present to the power of words. •

Copyright 2007, Lisa Collazo LCSW. All Rights Reserved.

Lisa CollazoLisa Collazo, LCSW, helps writers who struggle with balancing their heavy work loads with their creative endeavors — helping writers of all genres become comfortable with the writing process. More »

7/7/07