What is it About Words?


I’ve heard a lot about words being powerful and about ‘speaking things into existence’ lately and while I’m not a proud and out supporter of the idea of the power of words, I do believe that words are powerful and do affect our lives to a great extent and of course as a writer, I depend on my words to move and persuade people. However, I do not agree with a few statements and theories about words and their effects and I’m attempting to clearly state my points in this post.

Illness: A positive attitude does wonders for people who are sick, even terminally ill and medical miracles happen very often. I cannot deny that it bothers me though when I ask someone ‘How is your cold?’ and they go all “Ah, it’s not my cold o. It will go”. Now I never implied that you owned the cold or that it’s yours to possess forever, I mean everything has an expiry date. I hate to tell you, but it is just use of the English language. If you had guests over for the weekend and I asked ‘How are your guests doing?’, you’d say they were fine because they’re with you, even though temporary and now before you argue that this is a different matter, if I asked you why you sounded nasal, you would indeed tell me with your own mouth ‘I have a cold’. Now that wouldn’t mean the cold was yours forever, would it? It’s English people, don’t get all tied up with superstitious (for lack of a more apt word) beliefs that only bind you. Think about this;

The things that actually harm you are things that you believe.

False Optimism: I cannot tell you how much this irritates me. I’m not the most optimistic person in the world and I honestly try to shut up when the optimists start their conversations. In my heart, I hope for the best whilst I prepare for the worst and most times I actually already know the outcome due to past experiences, instinct and of course the amount of work I’ve put in. Of course the pessimist in me calculates that the world and life in general is very unfair and most times things do not go as planned. I also cannot tell another human what they can and cannot do. Still, I get irritated when someone who knows they haven’t put in C material expects an A result and they blame it on faith. And ‘confess’ positive words and try to pull God into contracts whose clauses he has already stated. The fact is simple; while miracles happen because God is ever so merciful and blesses you with a B or C on that test you had absolutely no idea about, it’s not your right to expect an A when you did not put in the work. Period.

It’s not my portion: Evil things are nobody’s portion. We pray against them and we have faith in God’s protective ability. But sometimes, bad things happen, even to good people of faith (Job’s children were all killed) and many times, there are practical things we can do in addition to prayer and saying things are not our portion. Sometimes, when problems arise, we do what is humanly possible to solve them along with prayer. Before you waste all the time claiming portions, after you’ve prayed, get moving. Yes, there are actual people who think all they have to do is claim.

I believe that it’s important to speak good words like ‘you is kind, you is beautiful, you is smart’ to children, but at the same time I can indeed tell you that there are few Nigerian/African children who have never been called ‘stupid’ or ‘idiot’ by their parents and surprise! They didn’t turn out stupid. Sometimes, words are just that; words. They’ll sting. They can give you hugs and encourage you. And sometimes the sting might motivate you to be better, but most times only deeply, repetitive and ill meaning malicious words actually break people or turn them into people they’re not. No, I’m not saying it’s great to verbally abuse children or anyone, I’m simply saying, most times, it’s in your heart and in what you believe. So, if it bothers you that I say ‘how is your cold?’ tell me, I’ll try not to repeat it because it makes you believe you own the cold, but it doesn’t make it true. It makes you comfortable.

A lot of what I’ve said are known truths, but sometimes we need to step back and consider where to strike a balance. Optimism is such a great mental state, but there’s a thin line between optimism and fantasy. Temper it with a bit of realism every once in a while because one other thing God blesses after prayer and faith is good action.