LANGUAGE AND ITS POWER        by Howard Diamond

September 8, 2022 (Submitted by Howard Diamond)

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Language and power is more than words. Of course, many of us tend to convey ideas best through spoken language using words. There are a host of different ways to show we are using language and it power, including writing, or signing, but most communication comprises facial expressions along with gesturing and physical cues, like the popular saying, “Speaking with our eyes“, a type of body language.

Some people with mental health issues tend to misinterpret what others are doing or saying. In these instances others might assist in clarification for folks. Essentially, language is definitely used to advance all ideas, due to this, it inherently has a power that consciously we are never physically aware of.

In addition, language also has power when it comes to mental health. Any sort of negative language and speaking can halt the progress for mental health wellbeing and conversely, positive language and speaking has the power to move it forward. In addition, language shapes how we see the world. Contrary to what many people had believed for many centuries, especially in the 15th Century, the world is still round. Also, Chicken Little, a fictional character in  children’s books stated, “The sky is falling“. Wherever we are, please
look upwards, and notice the sky is definitely not falling.

Here we will show how language has the power to positively and negatively affect people’s thinking and wellbeing. Any words we might choose and their respective meanings that are affixed to them can influence society, especially with folks with Mental Health Issues. Ultimately, individuals say the power of
language takes a view that language has power of its own. This power allows language to retain its capacity behind it, to unite or divide a group of people or even an entire country.

In my way of thinking, there is no doubt that language has power and wields its mighty arms to everyone and everything everywhere. This is used for a communication device, not only for humans, but the vast array of members of the animal kingdom. Mere mortals like us, use language and its power to share our ideas, thoughts and feelings with others. “Feelings“, has been written and sung by many artists. In Nina Simone’s version she added, “No matter what words men say“, to express feelings of the heart. We often
use language to understand someone else’s experiences and values, and when it comes to people dealing with mental health concerns, the language is valued, too.

Can anyone think of any words or stereotypical language that hurt or label individuals? Also, doesn’t that language used hinder people from achieving and then progressing? These words and language let these human beings to be heard, included and one day be cared for and supported. By using the correct language it reduces the power of others and communicates clearly, respectfully and with hope we all can and will be respected.

Popular song lyrics also show this. In a song from “Carousel” written by the amazing creative duo of Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein almost echoes this by ending their song with, “…, Walk on, walk on, With hope in your heart, and you’ll never walk alone, you’ll never walk alone“. Since it was heard on Broadway, over 75 years ago, it has transformed to become an anthem that pulls in our consciousness during periods of strife. Mental Health Issues can be no different and we can champion the cause and move our agenda forward.

Really, all a song is, but a series of lyrics (words) set to music. By utilizing language and its inherent power to make us laugh, cry, and by using our emotions we get ahead. Think about this, language and power shaping
individual and societal progress through strong song lyrics. Hurry everyone, get those boxes of tissues. With a special series of lyrics, we can, “Make Your Own Kind of Music, Sing Your Own Special Song“, just like Mama Cass Elliot belted out in the 60s and 70s. That is why we might need those tissues, whether we are weeping or chuckling, both can often induce tears.

Recently there has been a shift in mental health language. A term people apply is “Lived experience”. All this means is that someone who has had similar situations in our daily life while relating this to a mental health
condition. Fundamentally, the selection of words and language to describe an individual with any type of condition is up to them. Here again, language and its power is reduced. When engaging in a direct conversation with a person or many people we need to be identified by the language or title we feel and are most comfortable with. Significant here is not to use any words or phrases. Simply just ask how each other wants to be addressed.

Understanding language and its potential power is vital for communication in all cultures and includes their religions plus customs. People struggling with mental health issues are often lumped together incorrectly. Each affliction needs to be viewed separately; therefore, each will have their own specific type of language and can spread that power differently. Only put these unique conditions as one, when we are in the commonality of having mental health issues.

 A message to my readersPlease use words and language for only good intentions and spread its power in a positive way to make our Planet Earth is an even better place to live for all, now and forever.

See everyone in the NewsBlogs.

Howard Diamond is a New York State Certified Peer Specialist from Long Island

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