The Power of Words

Words, especially with intonation, inflection, and visual cues of hand gestures and facial expressions, have a variety of meanings. These meanings are both connotative and denotative. Toss in the relationship aspects of those trying to communicate, the history and beliefs of each, and many meanings can be construed,sometimes leading to misunderstandings.

This is why most of us are forgiving of the spoken word where a misstep is so common The wrong word choice, or even a hurtful comment spoken in the heat of a moment is forgiven, because anyone can misspeak or get carried away. This is why libel laws only apply to what is in published, and must pass the stringent requirements of intentionally spreading lies and causing harm to reputations (usually measured financially). If spreading the truth causes someone financial harm, you cannot be found guilty of libel.

In the written word, many of those nuances are lost. Misunderstanding is easier. Criticism can seem harsher, and much more than a mild disagreement. Wry humor can become criticism, mild sarcasm can become cruel, and any actual criticism can become harsh.

A few months ago I was the recipient of a critical message regarding a couple of my posts.. Without bragging, I am a better than average communicator, especially when writing, which I studied and worked at for several years. I was stunned. I reread the offending posts and your very supportive comments several times trying to figure out how I could have worded things differently to avoid misunderstanding .

I am a sensitive person. I may have been over reacting to this personal criticism, but in my defense, this relationship is very special to me. I do not want to upset the fragile peace.

It has been suggested that I have a very inflated opinion of myself to think that my opinions and actions can really control the happiness and well-being of others. After thinking about it, I realized that my friend was wrong. It was not my inflated opinion of myself, but the inflated opinion of others. Others who expect me to be other than I am to make them happier and affirm their well-being.

It took me a long while to get to be the person I am today. I am happy with who I have become, but that doesn’t mean I feel like am competed. I still try to be the best person I can be.

I endeavor to be kind in expressing opinions that I know are contentious. I endeavor to never belittle (although sometimes I just can’t help being a little mocking). I endeavor to show respect to all people everywhere, even those who disagree with me. I attempt to understand differences in opinion expressed by others. I try to understand, and not judge.

Respectfully. I am back.

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2 thoughts on “The Power of Words

Add yours

  1. Welcome back April. I think that as a writer, you should never be afraid of getting a reaction, especially if you weren’t being malicious, and, as is often true in my case, you were just being funny. I wouldn’t shy away because of someone else’s opinion.

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