Words can break people down and make them feel less than they are worth. I struggled with this when I was younger, taking words to heart and boxing myself into the quiet wallflower definition. I've been described as everything from meek and timid, to outgoing and charismatic, and even - intimidating. I don't doubt that each of those have been true at some point or another.
I'm not sure how people describe me now but I do know kind words about anyone can uplift. The power of positive thinking is undeniable in my life and something I strive to exude every day even when if the situation is less than ideal.
Jimmy Carter's Living Faith is an amazing book that speaks about unexpected ways to live. When working with preacher Eloy Cruz, President Carter was amazed by the way Cruz was able to connect and communicate with people. Cruz said that he always tried followed a simple rule, "You only have to have two loves in your life - for God, and for the person in front of you at any particular time."
It doesn't cost us anything to treat a person with respect and equality, but it does take humility. Make it easy - start with just one kind word.