Thursday, March 26, 2009

The power of words.

Most of us have heard sayings and quotations about words. Words are just labels and yet they have the power to change your life. Often as a young teen, I would say hurtful things to my mother and actually end up really hurting her. She did try her best, but her best was never good enough for me. She was never as good a cook as my friends mother, or as good a teacher as my teacher or as well dressed as my neighbor. I always had something to pick on her.
I never did realize the power of my hurtful words till I heard something on similar lines from my daughter.

Life has a way of giving back. Just yesterday she said something like “mummy everyone thinks you are pretty, but they never see you in the morning when you wake up !!” I thought it was rather funny and pretended to laugh it off but when I thought about it, it actually bothered me. I thought about how I used to say things to my mother with the intention of hurting her. I thought that my daughter was purposely trying to say something to hurt me. Maybe hurting me was not her intention, but I took it as such and I started a whole debate on how she was being disrespectful and hurtful. She is still very young, so I don’t think her intention was to hurt me, but I already started thinking about when she would become a teenager and say things that would hurt me to no end. All this is going on in my own little brain and I have no proof that it will happen, but here I am thinking about how my daughter would behave towards me after 4-5 years. Is that warped or what????

This might sound a bit smug, but I think I have done a bit more research on child behavior and child psychology than my mother did. So instead of telling my daughter about the power of words and how it affects people, we did a little experiment. I had read about Masaru Emoto’s water experiment and how the water reacts to words. ( Google Masaru Emoto…if you don’t know about it). I saw the video and was quite fascinated, but being the skeptic that I am, I had to see the results for myself. I think I must have read somewhere about the rice experiment and decided to check for myself if it was really true that what we say has an impact?

The experiment goes like this.

Take two or three jars/bottles/Tupperware. On one jar write, I LOVE YOU, on another write, I HATE YOU, and if you have a third, write IGNORE. ( I made my daughter do that)

Next take boiled/steamed rice and put equal amounts in each jar. Cover the jar and say out what you have written on the jar, so to the jar that says, I love you…say with love..I love you and to the one that says, I hate you …say with emotion..I hate you and the one that says ignore, just leave it somewhere where you may not see it and just ignore it.

Do this every day for about a week to 10 days . The results will blow your mind.

In our case the Jar which said ‘I love you was all white with very few green fungus bits, The jar which had I hate you written was all black and green and the ignored one was the worst, it was all fuzzy and mouldy. We could hardly see the rice.

Exactly same content, same environment, the only difference being the written word and the thought given to it. If words can do this to rice, imagine what they can do to us and to our life.

So now I had ammunition to show to my daughter. As she was the one who had done the writing, it was really her experiment. She immediately understood how what she said had an effect on people. No she has not become mother Teresa and neither have I, but we are now a bit more aware and conscious of the words we speak and the thoughts we think.

My mother used to always tell me… “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t bother saying it at all.” But did I listen?

Well, I guess it is never too late to start

1 comment:

Happiness coach said...

Pallavi Sethi at 1:22am March 22
You know alot of what you have wriiten makes alot of sense.From a a teenagers point of view (that would be me) i feel yes many a times i hav said many hurtful things to my mother which were better unsaid.Im not exactly evil and have never wanted to cause hurt but its most of these times it is just the situation which makes you do behave the way one does.But after reading this i am goin to try out this experiment for myself.And maybe this will be the eye opener i need!

Bean Smith at 1:25am March 22
you're kidding! that actually worked?? did you place the rice containers jars in the same area or different rooms? I gotta try this! :b

Karamvir Dahiya at 2:06am March 22
sensitive, persuasive and moral based such is this happening--i ravish your thinking, Shavetta!

Namita Kochar Singh at 6:49am March 22
I tell my students this on a daily basis. Many of them are very hurtful to each other and I can't stand it. I have to try out this experiment with my own kids though....I think it's pretty neat! Thank you for sharing.....

Shveitta Sethi at 10:12am March 22
Bean sweety, yes it is real and true. The rice was kept exactly in the same place and under the same circumstance. Only the one that had ignore written on it was obscured from view.

Pallavi darling, we all have done things we are not proud of , but don't ever beat yourself over what you should have/could have done. Just start doing it now. I ... Read More

Deepam Chatterjee at 11:40am March 22
Beautifully written Shwets!
Love and Blessings

Riti Kapoor at 1:52pm March 22
That was lovely Shveitta. Love

Zara AM at 6:03pm March 22
Beautifully written so true and realistic...we are blessed to experience turbulence in our lives only to come out stronger,wiser and most importantly to move forward the positive way :)

Gitte Birlev Könyves at 6:52pm March 22
That´s amazing! The mother - daughter relationship is very special. The daughters tend to hurt us? They look up to their fathers and the father´s approval is very important! I´m reading a book about how important "near connections" is early in our childhood....just so we can develop a truly loving relationship....anther topic?
Love gitte

Nithya Shanti at 10:16pm March 22
Brilliant Shveitta! I did this experiment four years back with similar results.

ZakiYa Shah at 1:42am March 23
A great way to get the message across...thanks for sharing :)

Mukul Bakshi at 5:19am March 23
Thanks fir this piece. I'm going to try this experiment soon.

Barbara Lewis at 7:29am March 23
I have to send this to Eva...or shall I try the experiment first?

Shveitta Sethi at 8:57am March 23
Thank you ladies and gentlemen, I do encourage you to do this for yourself as 'seeing and doing is believing" It really makes you stop and think.

I sincerely encourage you to speak with love and affection towards yourself as the first person you need to be kind to is you. I met a friend yesterday and was saddened at how she was berating herself , ... Read More

Sophia Hwang-Judiesch at 9:56am March 23
I love this.. I absolutely believe in the power of words, I try and make a conscious effort to compliment my children, my husband and my friends... as a result, I heard Thai the other day say to her friend, "Wow you look really pretty, I like your dress." That warmed my heart because she knows that by complimenting other people, they feel good and ... Read More

Shveitta Sethi at 10:02am March 23
Couldn't agree more Sophia, we need to encourage , motivate and help each other instead of fearing and envying each other. On that note, Sun afternoon the girls need to come over. xxxx

Sophia Hwang-Judiesch at 10:53am March 23
yes, we'll be there... need some ideas for gifts????

Seema Sethi at 2:53pm March 23
so true. one should never underestimate the power of words. Its a constant effort. I am still working on this...

Enrique Soundscraper Holder at 3:10pm March 23
Grooverotomy on a funkadelistic playformnational revelrie.

Shveitta Sethi at 3:23pm March 23
Enrique, I think i understand but can you elaborate. Many thanks.;-))))

Enrique Soundscraper Holder at 3:34pm March 23
Teach your daughter to make up her own words and her own way of putting emotive power in the words she chooses.

My mother often tells the story of how she asked her mother to define a word for her.

Her mother responded by telling my mother to go look it up in a dictionary.... Read More

Teresa Mak at 3:44pm March 23
sorry.I don't check facebook often enough...

Brilliant thought and excellently expressed!

I was born in a very critical family. Being the youngest ,I kepy my mouth sealed.Otherwise , any response from me would be a sign of disrespect. I had observed and learnt a lot from my family.Like your mum. I believe that " if there is nothing nice to say don't say it".Tt has become part of my personality that I feel uncomfortable to make a criticism.... Read More

Enrique Soundscraper Holder at 3:54pm March 23
I do think I was taught to imagine first, then to question, then to visualize, and then to criticize.....criticism is an well as a responsibility.

Shveitta Sethi at 4:03pm March 23
Teresa , our families could only give us what they knew. That generation was generation that saw so much pain and knew a lot of fear. There was not much open display of affection, so all they knew was how to protect themselves by coming across as hard and critical. that was all they knew.
we always have the ability to take what is beneficial and reject what does not resonate with us. You are an absolutely beautiful person..both on the inside and outside.

Shveitta Sethi at 4:06pm March 23
Enrique, i completely agree with imagine and then visualize , maybe experience and evaluate...what need to criticise??
I like the way your grandmother taught your mother. My grandfather did exactly the same with my mother and to an extent with me.

Pavita Sadeev Singh at 9:20pm March 23
Shveitta... when did you get all so grown up? Thanks for getting such meaningful stuff across to so many. I enjoy reading your thoughts... looking forward to sipping good red wine with you in person some day and really getting intoxicated philosophising .. much love... I am glad you are back in Namita's life.. I hear her smiling more...

Anjali Bhalla at 9:30pm March 23
Your daughter is very lucky to have you as a mother and look how lucky you are to learn so much through your daughter...
Words are powerful and words unspoken too go a long long way into this universe...