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Words Have Power

the pen is mighty

By Caitlin McCollPublished 2 years ago 3 min read
Words Have Power
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

I realized something after reading the Vocal Spotlight on Tom Bradbury (In Memoriam), that was spurred by this quote that Tom used that’s been brought up over the past few weeks since his passing.

Those who tell the stories rule society

The above quote is from the famous philosopher Plato. And what's that realization I had? It's that words have power and that those who tell stories do rule society.

What we write, whether on social media in posts or even just something we might think of as a throwaway comment, or newspaper or magazine articles, on blogs, in books, or on platforms like Vocal, has the power to hurt or heal. So you must choose wisely. What is the sort of impact you want to make with the ink that flows from your fingertips?

Words have the power to lift people up or bring them crashing down. Hence the saying the pen is mightier than the sword. Yes, the sword can cause grave injury or even death, but words can inflict so much more on its readers.

On the bright side, they can bring joy, awe, comfort, even happiness. They can draw people together in community. They can inspire and motivate. They can console. They can feel like home, like a warm cup of your favourite beverage and wrapped in a cozy blanket.

And they can deeply wound. They can cause doubt, fear, anxiety, uncertainty, sadness. They can leave you feeling vulnerable, exposed, raw, and hurt. And you can't take words back, once they've been said or written. Not really. They are out there in the universe, and once read, immortalized in the heart and mind like little barbs that stick and don't come out easily. At least not without causing more damage.

As is popularized by Spiderman fandom, but in reality dates back much further the quote:

with great power comes great responsibility

is apt here. You have to know how to wield the pen. You have to think about your legacy. About how you want to be known. What you want to leave through the trail of letters typed out on your keyboard or that flows from the ink in your pen. You have to have intention. Do you want to inspire? Inform? Entertain? Or perhaps you want to do all three, and there's a balancing act to get it right.

Hopefully, you don't set out at the get-go to hurt or harm, though, god knows the internet is a treasure trove of that, with people on their soapboxes from the comfort of their couches and anonymity of their homes. Though your words still may hurt or sting or barb, accidentally, because people may misconstrue or read between the lines things you didn't mean, hopefully, it isn't your intention. You can't control how people will react to your written words, since that interpersonal body language and tone isn't there because it's hidden behind computer screens.

Why are we here, all of us, on a platform like Vocal? Because we want to share our words, our thoughts, our ideas, our inspirations, our motivations, our interests. What does that all boil down to, at the crux of it?

We want to connect with our fellow human beings.

And how can we do that in today's uber individualistic society where connection is sorely lacking? Through words. Through stories. Through being vulnerable enough to share the most intimate parts of ourselves with the world so we can say to others, see here, and I can relate. So that others can see that we are all the same.

We are all just human beings trying to live our lives and forge our paths and leave our marks on the world.


I hope you enjoyed this piece! If so, please consider sharing, ❤️ing or if you feel so inspired, a tip (but no obligation!). Your support means a lot to me, thank you!


About the Creator

Caitlin McColl

I hope you enjoy my writing! Your support means a lot to me!

Find me various places here.


My Series

My Short Stories

My Novels

My Poetry One & Two

Aeternum Tom Bradbury

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