Words and meanings

There is a certain group text chat that I am a part of in which I need to pay certain attention to how I word my responses, for certain others will read into the words more than I intended. I choose my words with care often and still get complaints of how I was “too abrupt”, “too wordy” or “could have worded that better.” No matter what I do, it seems some people just are not happy with the way that I write. They read what I write and interpret them with their own meanings, their own intentions, and their own misconceptions based on the past, taking what is said out of context. I try my best to give words the meanings that won’t be misconstrued and often fail miserably. But, sometimes when the shoe is on the other foot, I know I also do the same.

It is human nature to look for our own meanings in words.

In anything written and in conversations, words have meaning. Culture, language structures, past experiences and personal conceptions all redefine words, giving them different interpretations to different people. We all attach meanings to different words that are uniquely our own. We also attach meanings to words others say that are dependent on past experiences with that person or even emotional states we happen to be currently in.

For example, when one of my parents usually said “let me get back to you” when I requested something as a child, it usually meant no. When my other half does it, it means he needs time to think about it and will actually get back to me. A family member of mine takes the phrase “It is what it is” to mean something defeatist, whereas I view it as a phrase when I can’t change something (oh hey, I wrote a blog post on that phrase last year!)

It’s when words have different meanings to different people in the conversation that misunderstandings happen. Perceptions can make or break a conversation. Arguments happen when others misconstrue what is being expressed.

It’s not a bad thing to understand the world differently than anyone else. But it can be quite difficult when someone takes what you express in an entirely different way than intended. It can also be quite difficult when what they say is also given different meanings by you.

It takes a certain element of magic to learn to convey intention without argument. It takes a certain kind of person to learn to communicate effectively with all certain kinds of people. Language is a wonderful thing when it is used to inspire instead of inflame. Words can be powerful. Learn to give them meanings.

Stay magical.

Write your own story.

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5 thoughts on “Words and meanings

  1. SO many truths in this piece! I frequently find myself in the role of translator, explaining what 1 person said and the other person heard. Its amazing how our own experiences and history can color an innocent comment!


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