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Do Words Hurt?

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posted on May, 6 2013 @ 07:25 AM

Originally posted by LesMisanthrope
reply to post by backcase

Words are spirit and they affect the spirit.

Peaceful words and angry words have no difference only to those who do not listen.

Only the spirit affects the spirit. Words convey nothing but your own spirit.

You are right about that. When someone is offended by words, it often reflects more upon them than the person speaking. Most people get offended when the person speaking means no offense. This is because of something the observer is afraid of about themselves.

For example, I have a good friend Cory from a small town in southern Idaho. The first time we met, he asked me if I was gay. I said "Hell no!" and he said "Good!" then we became fast friends.

posted on May, 6 2013 @ 03:08 PM
reply to post by LesMisanthrope

I agree that words in and of themselves generally do not have the capacity to physically hurt someone. However, this is a very mentalized materialistic notion of words, and you are attempting to show that we can simply dismiss various words' impact through this form of logic. However, no one is simply logical only - fortunately!

We all value relationship - in fact, no one exists in isolation. Language was developed as a form of relating to one another and is a most important means for expressing our natural condition of feeling-relatedness (non-separation) with one another.

If words are used that are separative, unkind, malicious, etc., - it is implied that one is not in relationship with whom they are speaking to. That separation is what can hurt, not the words in and of themselves.

Of course, this is not to say that angry words are never unnecessary, but even when rightfully angry with someone, one does not have to be out of relationship with the other. Being angry about another's action may very well be justified, but this does not require trying to insult another's very being. Even in anger one can stay in relationship to another being, though this can be a real test sometimes!

That being said, in any given moment that we recognize our inherent relatedness with others, we do become more sensitive to the words we choose, and their impact on the others.

edit on 6-5-2013 by bb23108 because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 6 2013 @ 03:44 PM
reply to post by LesMisanthrope

My opinion is that words only hurt when the recipient is ignorant of the fact that when someone tries to insult them they are actually showing their own weakness. Someone allowing themselves to be insulted also shows their own weakness as well. The one being insulted needs to be unaffected and above any insult directed at them... but it's easier said then done.
edit on 6-5-2013 by Z3v3N because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 6 2013 @ 03:52 PM
Words hurt just as words do not hurt.

As a child, words hurt me very deeply because words were all I had. In the absence of a knowledge of self-worth and importance, feeling loved and appreciated, I looked to other people's words for confirmation that I was good and kind and worthy. Unfortunately, positive words were not mine to receive. So, I learned to think in that negative self-talk, it became my comfort.

As a youth, words from other people did not hurt me at all. Nothing anyone else could say to me could be anything worse than what I already told myself, so I laughed at all attempts at offense because they were pointless. I could not be hurt by words because they were hollow and meaningless.

As an adult, words from other people are interesting. I listen to the words, but I also listen to the intent behind the words. Surprisingly, I find a lot more than just hate behind words of hate. I find that vulnerability and fear and insecurity the hateful words are hiding. I feel compassion and love for those who would hate me, for those who speak words with the intent to harm me. Words do not hurt me because I listen and I understand what it truly being said, "I am hurting so I want you to hurt, too." I do not take that burden of hate as my own, I choose to feel love instead.

The intent is far more meaningful than the words, because words are incapable of explaining our deepest emotion. While words do have a purpose in meaningful communication, words are unnecessary and meaningless where love is present.

Words are useful in the world, because they have the power to convey our thoughts to other humans.

Words are detrimental in the world, because they have the power to convey our hate to other humans.

Words are beautiful in the world, because they have the power to convey our love to other humans.

In the end, words can hurt just as they can soothe - it is only in one's heart that the reception of words can be determined. Most people never learn that words do not have to hurt, that all words are the same if one loves the human from whence the words came. Thus, it is both: words hurt and words do not hurt.
edit on 5/6/13 by ottobot because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 6 2013 @ 05:27 PM
Words do not hurt by their own function, but they are a function of communication. There is a difference between emotionally hurt and physically hurt. Anyone who has been in love and had their heart broken can explain emotionally hurt. Mind and body.

Words CAN hurt physically, if I scream them into your ear.

posted on May, 6 2013 @ 06:25 PM
reply to post by LesMisanthrope

Words do hurt. Voice tone and pitch can turn one word from a derisory comment into a full personal attack. It's like sending text messages in capitals on your phone. Text doesn't contain anything other than words but if sent in capitals it's meant to reinforce a point or make it more shocking for a more poignant response.

posted on May, 6 2013 @ 07:21 PM
reply to post by LesMisanthrope

No, words don't hurt. It's a matter of age and sense of self. Words hurt kids because they haven't developed a sense of self. Words hurt the immature, and those that are insecure in their beliefs.

Me? You can call me white, honky, gay, small-membered, small minded, son of a whore, and it won't mean a thing. Plus, when people do try to belittle someone, it is only a reflection on themselves.

Okay, I'm wrong. Words can hurt those that use them. I guess I did a flip-flop here, so don't anyone call me an airhead! Don't do it, cuz I'll cry!

edit on 5/6/2013 by jiggerj because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 6 2013 @ 07:28 PM
reply to post by LesMisanthrope

I apologize if this has already been stated by others, but the simple answer to this question, in my opinion, is yes. I believe that words can hurt us both emotionally and physically. I won't address the emotionality associated with words because this seems too obvious to me - we are beings largely governed by our emotions and the idea that "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me" is a glorified affirmation that, I believe, does not apply to human nature. Whether this aspect of human nature has always inherently existed in us or if it evolved over time is an entirely different topic. It has been scientifically proven that our emotions oftentimes manifest themselves in physical ailments, so that's one link between words, emotions and physicality.

Looking at it from another perspective, if one believes, as I do, that any thought has the capability of becoming a reality and that words are merely a verbalization of our thoughts, then yes, one can extrapolate that words do have the ability to hurt in a physical manner.

Edit: Being added to verbalize my appreciation of this thread. I think it's a topic worthy of debate and discussion. S & F to you, LesMisanthrope.

edit on 5/6/2013 by timidgal because: Stated above.

posted on May, 6 2013 @ 08:24 PM
Words can cure a broken spirit, and mend poor relations.

Words can break people apart, they can stir contentions, they can cause innocent people much suffering, when falsely accused of things they don't do.

Words can start wars.

Words have profound effect. The OP is full of ignorant tripe.

There is a proverb I remember from somewhere saying, that what a small thing the tongue us but what a great fire it can produce....Here it is I went searching for it, it's from the Bible: So, too, the tongue is a little member and yet makes great brags. Look! How little a fire it takes to set so great a woodland on fire! Well, the tongue is a fire. The tongue is constituted a world of unrighteousness among our members, for it spots up all the body and sets the wheel of natural life aflame and it is set aflame by Ge·hen′na. - James chap. 3.

posted on May, 6 2013 @ 08:36 PM
reply to post by LesMisanthrope

IMVHO, verbal attacks against one's physical appearance hurt the most and they're the meanest things someone can say.

I do think it is very wrong to do so

posted on May, 6 2013 @ 10:40 PM
reply to post by LesMisanthrope
Try being on the wrong end of the word "FIRE" and tell me they dont hurt.

Have somebody say something hurtful about you, it hurts...not physically but you want to call it... have somebody scream into your ear and then yes, words can hurt

posted on May, 6 2013 @ 11:24 PM
Great insight from everyone. I have read you all with pleasure. Thank you for sharing.

Taking all your great points into consideration, the conclusion:

Of course, words in themselves cannot hurt. It is an absurd notion, and equally absurd of me to point it out—for that I apologize. They are not supernatural. They are beyond good and evil. It is like blaming the hammer when we hit our thumbs.

Whenever anyone has said they were harmed by words, they instead refer to the situation in which the words were used, how they were delivered, and how they were recieved. This is where the damage is caused—all of the threatening gestures, mannerisms, demeanor, the delivery, the tone, facial expressions, the disrespect, the threat of physical harm, the destruction of innocence—it is the context, the moment, the memory of that experience, that has perpetrated the damage.

But that isn't entirely true is it. Because we think in an inner language and associate words to memory, words can rouse emotion. Once hearing words, we will think of them, and understanding what they denote, will lead ourselves to certain experiences whether we like it or not, particularly if we believe the words being spoken. We associate the words to the emotions that had once arisen during an experience we remember, stimulating all the necessary bodily responses to react as it did before.

Get to the point. We associate words to what we know about them.


  • If we were to softly and cheerfully whisper the most insidious of insults to someone who didn't speak the language, it is likely they would be unaffected if not more delighted by our mannerism. The experience is good, therefore the words must be good... yet they are bad. Negated, words are neither good nor bad. They are unassociated to any memory or experience; they are simply not known. Harmless.

  • Because we use less medically-inclined terminology during intimacy, and opt for more seedy words, it is natural that those words will become associated with those experiences, and when uttered, risk conjuring those experiences in the mind of another. They are associated to sexual experience and memory. These words can make people uncomfortable in situations where sex should be irrelevant.

  • If words are associated to a more vivid experience, such as physical abuse at the hands of another, the words and the ideas that arise seem to resonate longer to such a horrible experience. They are associated with a horrible experience and memory. These words remind us of evil experiences.

We know all this. That's not to say we are powerless against them.

Words are tools through which we manage and express our thought. Once they are beyond our mind and manifested in voice or verse, they will land in the domain of another; for that we should never be reckless with words. But once those words are in our domain, we have the power over our thoughts.

What is my point?

I'm just thinking out loud here. Writing it down and discussing it some fellow thinkers helps a lot.

posted on May, 6 2013 @ 11:29 PM
reply to post by Covertblack

Words CAN hurt physically, if I scream them into your ear.

You could scream anything and it would hurt. It wouldn't matter if it was a word or not. That's like saying you punching me with a word tattooed on your hand implies the word caused the damage.

Articulating a scream into a words makes no difference. Correlation does not imply causation.

posted on May, 7 2013 @ 12:30 AM
reply to post by LesMisanthrope

Here's a guy who stood out on a campus holding a sign reading "YOU ARE GOING TO DIE" who was told by the police that they would take him to jail if someone were standing beside it and said they felt threatened.

He also offended people by standing with the sign: "I AM NOT GAY" People said it was offensive, homophobic and "playing with people's emotions".

His sign "BEAT WOMEN" was also clever and managed to offend (needlessly, as should have been clear from the small print on the sign).


posted on May, 7 2013 @ 12:54 AM

Originally posted by LesMisanthrope

Do words hurt?

[align=center]“Sicks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me.”

No. Words don't hurt.

BUT, they are usually backed by actions, related to the intended meaning of the words, and the actions can hurt.

edit on 7-5-2013 by SQUEALER because: (no reason given)

edit on 7-5-2013 by SQUEALER because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 7 2013 @ 01:04 AM
reply to post by LesMisanthrope

I have made words my trade. As a printer, as a teacher, as a graphic artist, an editor; words have always been very important to me.

I would rather be killed than have my words taken from me. To say that words can injure is facile. Of course words can injure. Well-deserved castigation 'injures' the receiving party. Many concepts and ideas that 'hurt' some people MUST be explored for the sake of justice and truth.

There is no excuse, ever, to use physical force to stop verbal expression. If an idiot tells me my red-skinned savage ancestors deserved to lose their lives and their homes, guess what? He's a retrograde, inbred idiot. If I'm not able to consciously separate my self-chosen ideas of self from the ideas of self that other people might want to make me feel, then I have no business calling myself an adult, and I have no place discussing how things 'should be' for anyone.

posted on May, 7 2013 @ 01:07 AM
They hurt because they convey the thoughts and feeling of the speaker. How badly they hurt depends on the value you place on the speakers thoughts and words.

Something said by a friend, loved one, or authority figure is going to has a bigger impact than the words of a random stranger.

posted on May, 7 2013 @ 01:07 AM
Oh this is a great question!
I'm replying now to be able to find it later.
I'm on my way to work but I'll see if I can squeeze in some time to devour this thread.
Can't wait to sink my teeth in

posted on May, 7 2013 @ 02:02 AM
reply to post by LesMisanthrope

You now say "Of course, words in themselves cannot hurt"
but I ask you
When are words in themselves?
There is no such thing as words without a voice/speaker? And the one who hears?

Words can wound.
If this is the point of the thread ... great.
If it is to say we cannot wound others with our words I disagree as MOST( maybe you have found yourSELF and are unaffected by others) still live in a world where they are vulnerable to others pain/anger/fear/hate in the spoken word.
The saying sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me is from a materialistic viewpoint teaching children only the physical can hurt.
This thinking try's to say verbal bullying is harmless.

posted on May, 7 2013 @ 04:27 AM
reply to post by LesMisanthrope

Great thread . . . I was raised under a similar belief. One of the few strong memories I have of my great grandmother, as she passed when I was 13, is what she used to tell us kids about "words". I won't get into her life experiences that led to those discussions, but she would talk to us often about the power of words and our reactions to them.

Basically, she would tell us that words have no power. It is not the words that we should ever fear, but the intent behind them and the actions of those who say them. Words only have power, if we choose to give them power over us. It wasn't only about "hurtful" or "insulting" words, but also about not falling for those who wish to confuse you with "nice" words when their intentions/actions speak otherwise.

Those that use words to hurt do so in order to gain power over you. If their words have no effect they not only fail to dominate you, but expose themselves for who/what they are. This applies to those that use words to instill a sense of guilt, as well.

So to answer the question posed . . . No. Words do not hurt. People hurt other people to dominate over them. Those with a poor self image and weak minds must find that same weakness in others and prey on it, in order to make themselves feel better about themselves. Unfortunately, it works all too often, as far too many people have poor self images, weak minds, inherent guilt, etc.

Again . . . great thread.

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