Do Words Matter

A few days ago I posted a question on my Facebook page and on Twitter, “Do words matter?” The full text of the posting went like this:

Do words really matter? If words matter then why do we say words we don’t mean or words that we regret? If words don’t matter then why do we say them at all? Perhaps we should be careful with the words we use. At other times it may be better to be silent rather than say words we will regret. Understanding the pure meaning of a word helps in choosing when to use it. Applying honor and respect to each word we use is also important. I believe words matter, do you?”

I ask this question because I listen to a lot of words from a lot of people and I am often confused by what they are saying.  First, do they believe in what they say and second, is my understanding of what they said the same as what they thought they said.

If I restrict the scope to verbal communications then I can say that it is a two way path that requires both a speaker and a listener.  Both the speaker and the listener have responsibilities.

As a listener I have the responsibility to clear my mind and clearly listen to the words that are presented for me to hear.  I must try to understand the meaning of the words, both from my perspective and the perspective of the speaker.  I continue listening until the speaker has stopped talking.  At this point I may ask questions to clarify my understanding.  Sometimes I may need to tell the speaker what I thought I heard in order to get additional clarification.  Throughout this process I must remain both patient and respectful even if I disagree with what the speaker has presented.

As stated above I must control my emotions when communicating with others.  If I let my emotions run wildly I will not be able to clearly hear and understand what the speaker intended to communicate. Regardless of what the speaker says, even bad things or good things about me, I must remain balanced with my emotions, always keeping myself tuned, much like the grandfatherclockpendulum on a grandfather clock.  If the pendulum is unbalanced the clock will fail.  I will also fail if I let the words of another control my emotions, first left and then right.  Instead I must remain balanced and simply trust myself.  When communicating with others I do not have anything to prove, I only need to listen and understand the words that are spoken.  If I am asked, or if I must say something then I have responsibilities as well.

As a speaker I have the responsibility to speaker rationally and completely in words that clearly convey the message I intend for my audience.  I must remove my emotions and remain patient when speaking, allowing time for my audience to hear and interpret, in their own way, the words that I present.  It is very important for me to remember that people will interpret what I say based on their own frame of reference; if I do not allow time for questions and dialog with my audience then I may fail because what I intended to be understood will not be what they heard or understood.

I captured this quote that TransitionsI included in Transitions, A Spiritual Evolution, IUniverse, 2011

“Why that we move with you through time, robes of old to suits of present. That you stay with we at a time, robes of old now robes of present. Thus then, “why robes?” not heard and now “why robes?” not understood.

If then, that “is” was we and “that” was you, “is” was said and “that” understood. And now “that” heard and “was” understood, when “is” not heard then, nor understood now.”

It is important to understand, it is important to be clear and choose words wisely, it is important to be respectful.  Words matter.  God loves you, love always.

Nathaniel

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