Language can be a beautiful tool for communication. It can share thoughts, ideas, messages of hope, and feelings of love. As with most aspects of life, however, the use of language can be extremely harmful as well. Language can share pain, tragedy, and messages of ill-will. For an example of the power that language can have, an individual need look no further than bullying. Bullying, specifically verbal harassment, can literally change the self-perception and self-image of the victim and alter the way they see themselves.
One of the ways that language impacts an person’s well-being is through pain. Studies have shown that words that hurt psychologically, such as in cases of bullying, can actually manifest themselves physically. An individual who is facing consistent bullying, where they are berated or put down or told painful mistruths about themselves, can cause pain to the mind and this translates to physical conditions as well. For that reason, words used in bullying then can be extremely problematic to the physical as well as the emotional health of an individual. When someone is in pain, then, their self-image can be affected subconsciously and consciously. They may begin to feel bad physically and this physical change can change a mental view as well. In this way, then, the language of bullying can bring down self-esteem.
Language is powerful and it can do more than just convey a message or tell a story. It can also change how an individual perceives him or herself as well as the world. In instances where verbal abuse or bullying is present, a person can begin to shift the model they have come to know. They may begin to mold their behavior or their perception of the world to the one being told to them by those who wish them ill. Language can be strong and harsh and bullying brings much of the negative side to language to the forefront. It can literally change the way in which an individual views how the world works and their role in it. In this way, verbal bullying can greatly alter self-image, self-perception, and world-image as well.
Though language is powerful, especially when it comes to the negative impact of bullying, it can also be seen as a remedy as well. While negative words and thoughts are shown to have a more powerful impact that does not mean that its effects are irreversible. Instead, those who face bullying of a verbal nature may find remedy in being told positive items about themselves. Hearing words of encouragement or the antithesis of what the perpetrators have told them can be beneficial in reaffirming self-image in the long run. Language can also be used in bullying remedies in that words of the victim will allow emotion to be shared and released. By talking about the situation and, figuratively, letting the anger and frustration go, self-image can begin to regain strength and positivity while helping the individual to heal.