Effects of Negative Words

Every since I was a young girl I’ve had a very low self-esteem.  There are a number of reasons for this.  I was always overweight so of course I was teased about that.  I wasn’t athletic or coordinated so I was always chosen last for team sports at school.  The biggest hurdle I had to overcome was believing I was stupid.  This was because someone I was very close to as a child often told me I was ignorant.  Words like these can have a lasting effect, especially on a child.

Negativity is Habit Forming

Have you ever looked in the mirror and told yourself that you hated your looks?  Have you driven to work thinking that you hated your job?  Or maybe you were constantly thinking your co-workers didn’t like you.  Continuously thinking or say negative thoughts and words have both a mental and physical impact on you.  The more we speak, think, or hear negative things about ourselves and/or others, the more we tend to believe them.

Associating Words with Emotions

Every moment of every day, we are either thinking, reading, listening, or speaking.  There is an emotional feeling or response to the words we take in, thus forming our associations, beliefs, or perceptions about ourselves and others.

Spoken words in particular have an emotional impact.  For example; if your supervisor offers you praise, you are most likely be motivated to continue to do as well, or even improve your efforts.  However, if you receive negative feedback you are most likely to feel discouraged and think you aren’t good enough.  The same can be said for parenting.  If a child is constantly criticised they will believe they can’t meet up to the standards set before them so why should they even try?  Yet there are some, like myself, who will continue to seek the approval they so desperately need even if they “know” in their hearts that they won’t receive it.

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones…. 

Words can and do hurt.  One negative comment can ruin a person’s day.  Constantly receiving them can ruin someone’s life.  Think about the children, and even adults who have been bullied.  Some of them have taken their lives because they truly believed it wasn’t worth living.

Negative Thoughts and Words in Relation to Stress & Anxiety

Hearing or thinking negatively releases stress and anxiety inducing hormones in our brain’s “fear” center.  These hormones and neurotransmitters interrupt the logic and reasoning process in the brain inhibiting normal functionality.

Scientific studies have shown that positive and negative words not only affect us on a deep psychological level they can also have a significant impact on the outcome of our lives.

Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” – Benjamin Franklin

Wise words from a very wise man.  It’s very important when speaking, whether it be to yourself or someone else to remember, words can hurt.  Please be kind to yourselves as well as others.

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8 thoughts on “Effects of Negative Words”

  1. Hey Lisa, I feel for you and what you went through, my name is Lisa and I was bullied at school. I agree that if you think negatively this will impact your life in a negative way. Always think positively and be grateful and everything will change for the better.
    Stay safe and well.

  2. I am constantly preaching that to my kids. What you say to yourself reallly matters. We fall into traps and tell ourselves limiting beliefs…. “I suck at math” and “I’m not the smart one” are some of the responses I struggle to eradicate from their vocabulary

  3. Hi Lisa

    Great post. I myself have and sometimes still do experience self doubt. As you metion, this can be about looks and also self doubt in my abilities. I really enjoyed your post. keep up the good work.

  4. Words can definitely have an impact on us when we are young, that can lead into the years ahead. We can overcome our negative feelings, though it can be difficult and take time. Thanks for sharing your message, stay strong and take support from those that care.

  5. As someone who has lived with negative thoughts and self-perceptions I can fully relate. However I have recently found two concepts that have really helped with my negative thought loops in a very short time frame.

    The first one is memory reprogramming. The idea is that our memories aren’t actually that coherent. They are reformed everytime we visit them. If you manage to desensitize a negative memory, you can replace it with a positive one. This will slowly start healing your subconscious and self-image. I’m not sure who to credit this with, just Google it if you are interested.

    The other is the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. He teaches this concept that you are not actually the negative though patterns or the feelings in your body. You are the watcher behind them. If you can recognize this fact, you can then start stop identifying with the negative thoughts and emotions. This will offer piece of mind in a very short time frame if you can grasp the concept and realize it as truth for yourself. He also talks about the pain body, a stored body trapped negative feelings from a lifetime of hurt that we can learn to dissolve gradually.

    Just some ideas to consider! Remember that there is always a better tomorrow waiting.

  6. What a nice post you wrote Lisa! I really enjoyed reading it and could not be silent about your post so I decided to leave my comment here and say Thank You for sharing this quality post. Actually I was looking for information about the effects of negative words and when I landed on your website and read this post, it answered all my questions in details and it was exactly what I wanted to know.
    I’m happy that you’ve decided to write about this topic and share it with others. It’s very useful post in my opinion and can definitely be used as a great source for everyone who is interested to know about this topic.

    I will definitely come back to your site again to read more posts. Keep up quality articles! 🙂


  7. Hi Lisa,

    I know how it feels. I have a sister who is one year younger than me. When we grew up, people in our family compared us way too often and their words hurt me sometimes because we used to have the same heights and wore the same kind of outfits but as we grew older, my sister turns out to be taller and prettier than me. Even though it may seem like joking or something, but they don’t know the effect of their words to me. I had low self-esteem and it was difficult to deal with my heights.
    Luckily, once I participated in youth exchange program and lived abroad after I graduated from college, I become more confident and feel much better about myself.

    Thank you for sharing your story. We need people to be aware of the words they speak. Before we speak, we need to think first if it is kind, useful and thoughtful.

    • Hi Ferra,
      Thank you for the kind comments. I’m so glad you were able to learn to be confident in yourself. We are all special in our own way and we need to learn how to realize that.



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