I recently had a conversation with a young friend (7 years old) that left me in pondering mode.

He asked what I was doing.  I said I was getting ready to lead a retreat.  And he said, “Why are you going to help people give up?”

That’s what ‘retreat’ means to him.

I guess it kinda means that to me, too – just in a different way.

That’s how words work.  The same word can leave two people feeling very differently.

Take ‘accept’, for example.  To some is means receiving and openness.  To others it means not getting what they want – conceding.

Some people think ‘confidence’ always involves being better than someone else.  Others see it as an internal/individual trait.

“Help” is a word that some have no trouble using at all – sometimes they may over-use it.   For others, it’s the most underused word in their vocabulary.

So as I prepare ‘to help people give up’, I’m more aware that words don’t just have definitions.  They also have emotional meanings, which are tougher to anticipate, translate and sometimes understand.  Not too sure what I’ll do with this enhanced awareness except remember (again) that what’s heard really IS more important than what’s said.

What do you think?

7 thoughts on “words…

  1. Without facial & body expressions, sometimes words are very much misunderstood. That is probably one of the worst aspects of our social media (Facebook, Twitter, email, text messages, etc.) that everyone uses today.

  2. GREAT point, Judy~ i couldn’t agree more.

    ps… i’ll be unplugged til Sunday evening. looking forward to reading & replying to other comments then.

  3. like how hard it is for me to hear “concede” when i really hear “conceit”

    just a thought….

  4. While we’re talking about words, how about sentence structure? Once I had a male friend say to me, “I was thinking about what we discussed in the shower.” What he really meant was “In the shower I was thinking about what we discussed.” Just having “in the shower” in the wrong place gives a TOTALLY different meaning. I was NOT with him in the shower, but we did share a good laugh about his comment.

  5. And hearing what is said, not what one thinks they heard is important too! (Lesson learned in counseling, that isn’t learned by all that go!)

  6. I agree with Judy. Words can not only be misunderstood, but hurtful. Not only for the person receiving the words, but for others that read them. It’s sad to see arguments between 2 people posted under someone else’s innocent comment. We’ve heard for a long time that people should not discuss politics or religion. I don’t think Facebook should be the forum for such things. Sometimes it’s better to leave your words unheard or unwritten.

  7. Judy, Judi and Bonnie,
    ya’ll have SO helped me pay better attention to not only which words I choose, but in which order I place them and IF I even need to use them at all – THANKS, gals!

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