When I hear somebody sigh, 'Life is hard,' I am
always tempted to ask, 'Compared to what?” Sydney J. Harris
Do you have a shelf or many with books on them? Might one of those books be a dictionary or a Thesaurus? Have you ever wondered where all the definitions in these huge volumes came from? I have. ‘Man’ writes these glorious tomes filled with words. Are you aware that you have your very own internal dictionary filled to the brim with terms, explanations, descriptions and classifications just like the big, fancy books? You may be wondering where all the information that is recorded in your book came from. This compilation of information was given to you by the many people who have shared your path as you have journeyed through life. Along with these contributors, YOU wrote the book!
So, what is in your book? Have you ever given this question any thought? Every word you say has come from some point in time and fills another point in time. The words you string together are your character; your reactions to the happenings of each day; your interactions with the many people in your life; reflecting your inner core and the face you want the world to see.
In May 2010, the theme of Silver Threads was ‘being Impeccable with your Word.’ Hopefully you remember a smidge of that issue. In any case, being impeccable with that which you speak is one of the most profound choices a person has the power to make. Recently I came to understand if you do not have a firm grasp on the meanings of the many aspects of your vocabulary, you cannot begin to be impeccable with what you say. So, the questions now begging to be asked are, ‘how do you know the meaning of every word you use; and is it necessary for you to know what every word you utter means?
How do you know…
How often have you said something that is entirely misconstrued? Each person interprets through their own filter that which people are saying to them. John Gray wrote a book about the communication between men and women and concluded that we speak such diverse languages that we come from different planets. (“Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus”) Have you ever experienced a conversation with a boss or manager where you walk away shaking your head in dismay and confusion because you did not understand a word they said and they did not hear a word you spoke?
These interactions are confusing and even conflicting because you are using differing definitions. The best way to figure out what words are in your private book is to think about the ones you use most often; what kind of conversation brings them to the fore; what emphasis or edge you place on them; and, what decibel level you use when you are speaking these words. In other words, listen to yourSelf. Be an active participant in every conversation you have by hearing what the other person is saying, and then by paying attention to the words you use to translate what has been said. Frankly speaking (no pun intended) listen to the things that are being said inside your head yet not coming out of your mouth. These phrases are often the strongest indicators of the true meanings of your words. When you trip over a word or phrase that makes you cringe, do a review. Think about when that particular expression became a part of who you are and who gave it to you. When you find the origination and originator you will have the insight you need to do a rewrite.
Our words have such tremendous power to help and heal or to disparage and hurt. Do you want that which you are saying to be a utensil used for building or as a wrecking tool? It may seem an exhausting task to be aware of everything you say, all of the time. That depends on how you look at it. What havoc have your words inadvertently wreaked; what remarks have had a devastating impact on you? What do you want your interactions to look and feel like? Just a couple more questions for you to think about...What value do you place on the relationships in your life and, do you ever wish that you could be the purveyor of peace to those in your circle?
The words you choose have the power to affect all that you do; all that you express and the expressions that are returned to you. In the long term it doesn’t matter who taught you what lesson that downloaded your definition, you can rewrite anything as long as you are paying attention.
Where to start…
As mentioned previously, begin with the words you use most often. Open you inner book and investigate what is written on your pages. Do you know your core meaning for words such as love, respect, honor, integrity, passion, happiness, share, care, truth, hunger, self, selfish, pain, joy, family, friend and peace?
Sitting in quiet reflection on this small list will bring you some profound and heart opening insights. Giving yourSelf the time and space to journey into this realm of communication will enlighten and surprise you. You will find yourSelf letting go of issues that no longer serve you; ideas and attitudes that may be holding you back from evolving and learning; and, expressing yourSelf in easy, understandable ways that dazzle and amaze those in your life. Imagine the harmony it may bring to you and those you love, those you work with, those you serve!