Words by Alexi Lubomirski
Words are strange aren’t they?
If one were to really break it down, words are simply random letters, arranged in thousands of different ways, each resulting in particular formations, that can translate a myriad of different thoughts and emotions.
More often than not, they tumble out of our mouth with no thought, to the affect they may have on unsuspecting listeners. We throw them around like confetti, rarely stopping to think before blurting out whatever comes to our mind.
Words are also stealth like sinners and saints. A positive word can transform a frown into a smile, whereas a negative slight can drain a person’s hope. All because of the way a word’s letters are formed… or spelt. Maybe there is some connection between spelling and “casting a spell”?
The easiest way to understand this random chaos, is to look at two short words:
LOVE and HATE.
Each has four letters. Just 4 random letters taken from an alphabet of 26. Their four letters are arranged in a particular order, that result in their final intention.
This is where it gets interesting.
These two simple words have such contrasting weight and meaning behind them, that one word has the power to turn hearts cold and inspire millions to march under the flag of darkness, and the other that can inspire millions to rise up and fight for light and compassion.
Now take those two words, each consisting of four random letters, and throw them into a three word sentence.
I love you.
I hate you.
We all know what it feels like to be the recipient of a sentence like, “I love you.”
We feel fireflies take flight in our belly, illuminating our hearts so much that we feel that we may explode. Our insides swell and ripen with joy. We skip, we laugh out loud, scream halleluiahs to the heavens, smiling sheepishly at the wonder of it all. We feel like we could run a thousand miles, conquer mountains and soar over valleys. There is no feeling like it. To be loved. To feel loved. To hear those words.
Now take the other four letter word.
Have you ever said “I hate you” to someone? Have you felt the venom drip from your lips, as these cursed letters fly out of your mouth, like a wave of poison tipped arrows, darkening the sky, before they land on their intended target? One could argue that to say these words is as painful as receiving them, for the pain that must be felt to ignite such disdain, is hard to bear.
But to be the recipient of these words, is akin to a slow thrusted dagger to the heart. To feel the words penetrate you and twist and turn, leaving nothing but a cold hard, heavy rock in your belly. Like and imploding star, our heart folds in on itself and our body falls to the ground, sounding the retreat to all limbs, who curl in to protect the weakened heart, as we lie in a protective fetal position.
Words and the power behind them are often forgot. We forget that because of certain words, said in certain ways, by certain people; wars have been started, genocide, persecution, hate crimes and so much more. However, because of other certain words, spoken in certain ways, by certain people; love has spread, compassion ignited and inspired movements for change have risen from the ashes.
So what does this all tell us? How can we take responsibility for the spells that we are casting so unconsciously?
Simple. We must only think before we speak. Ask questions of ourselves before we flippantly mutter this or that.
“Are the words that are about to come out of my mouth positive?”
“Will these words bring joy or pain?”
“Will my words lift or weigh down?”
“Will these words add light to the world or suffering?”
Words can heal.
Words can harm.
Words can lift souls from despair to hope.
Words can carry us from darkness to light.
We all have an immense capacity to love and spread love. We also have the power to spread hatred and sorrow.
It is simply up to each and every one of us to take responsibility for our words, so that our “spells” can create a world of magic and wonder.
Alexi Lubomirski is the author of the parenting book Princely Advice for a Happy Life and the picture book Thank You for My Dreams. He is a world-renowned fashion and celebrity photographer who has worked for Vogue, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar, among other major magazines, and who shot the official engagement and wedding portraits for Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. He lives in New York.