Words are more powerful than we often think them to be. Sometimes, we say things jokingly with no real meaning behind those words, but to someone else, those words may be like weapons. We must take care of what we say, because not only can we end up hurting someone else but we may also end up hurting ourselves.
People are taught, at a very young age, that words can be hurtful. As children, we are often careful of what we say; in fact, we call it a time of innocence because children rarely say things that are hurtful. But, sometimes, children can be the biggest bullies, too. At this point in their lives, children should be taught that words are double-edged swords, and that they must mean what they say or say nothing at all. The old adage, "If you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all," is pertinent to the question at hand.
Words work psychologically. Therefore, sometimes verbal abuse can leave "wounds" that are harder to heal than those left by physical abuse. The mind is similar to the body, but it does not react the same when it becomes to hurtfulness. The mind can leave open sores, even years after the situation has occurred. On the other hand, the body can heal of its wounds; our bodies themselves cannot feel the physical pain that we have gone through, but our minds can. Our minds can recreate that pain.
In the case of verbal abuse, our minds capture those hurtful words and they are branded into memories. Thus, we can clearly hear what has been said to us, even if we no longer remember who said it.
Words can be hurtful because they carry a lot of weight in them. For instance, let us take some positive words like "I love you." We feel happy when somebody says this to us. We ask that those whom we love say these words to us, even if they have done things for us that symbolize that love. We want verbal confirmation. When we examine a negative example, we see the same effect; when somebody says "I hate you," even in a joking manner, we pause, even if for just half a second, to think, "Is it true?" And, our minds immediately begin working to try to convince us that it is true.
Words can be beautiful things. We create beautiful poetry with them, we write wonderful novels with them, we express our emotions and communicate with them. But at the same time, if we use them maliciously, we can hurt others beyond belief. We must choose our words wisely, just as we must try to make all decisions wisely.