Do Words Have Meaning?  

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Just joined a blogging event called The Artists Synchroblog where various medium artists can participate and post on their blogs or sites about the monthly topics offered. The first month's topic is 'Words have meaning', so I have to write something about this phrase, whether somehow related to jewelry making in one way or another, or not really, it really doesn't matter, as long as it relates to us, the actual bloggers.

The thing is, for me words definitely have meaning, and they touch me more than many other people with 'thick skin'. Words can heal, but they can equally hurt, especially if you are a more sensitive person, like I am. In some of the spiritual groups I am called an 'empath' because I can sense moods of people faster than they even realize how they feel. I go to a room that is currently empty, and I know if there was a verbal fight going on there just before. It is not always good to be an empath because it's extremely difficult to develop that so-called 'thick skin' if you're overly sensitive to others, even if what is going on around you has nothing to do with you at all.

It's the same with words, I am always looking for hidden meanings and even when something is said with the lightest of words used, my interpretation of the words might be completely different from the intention of delivery by the other person.

Many things get lost in communication, especially online, and I think the words have the meaning of the person who receives them, and not of the person who sends these words. You might have wanted to say something, but from some cues or others the other party might have taken something completely different from your words.

For example a person saying 'she is a marketing genius' about a well known jewelry designer might mean that 'way to go, great that she learned marketing and she can apply it to her art to sustain herself and no longer be a  'starving artist', but this could also be taken as 'yeah she's good at catching flies who buy everything she has to offer', as if it were a bad thing.

So yes, words have meaning and it's not always what was meant to be said - but what was instead understood by the recipient.

If you're interested to see what others have written on the topic of Words have meaning, check out these other participant blogs. I'm curious if I'm the only one who rambled away this time :) - oh yeah, this is me :)

7 comments: to “ Do Words Have Meaning?

  • Janice
    May 15, 2013 at 4:52 PM  

    I love your take on the topic! Thanks so much for participating! :) It's a great reminder to all of us to choose our words carefully to try to convey what me intend.

  • Elenor
    May 15, 2013 at 5:31 PM  

    This is so true - perception is reality!

  • Amy Estelle
    May 16, 2013 at 4:57 PM  

    Totally true!! And the internet just adds to the possible misunderstandings! It's not always easy to understand the tone in which something is intended.

    Nice to meet you! New "follower" here. :)

  • Lisa Dahn
    May 16, 2013 at 6:57 PM  

    I really appreciate your perspective on this topic. You are so right about words taking the meaning of the receiver rather than the sender. Thanks.

  • Perri Jackson
    May 16, 2013 at 10:57 PM  

    I take your points - as someone who values words and the feelings they evoke very highly, this perspective is very interesting to me.

    I agree that ultimately, the filter of the receiver dictates meaning to them - so being careful is not only prudent, but kind.

    Our personal filters are imperfect things - they lead us to many, many assumptions - which are the ultimate enemy of understanding until they are laid on the table.

    I guess what concerns me a bit is that your premise seems to be a one way expectation of social responsibility and kindness. In the interest of pleasant interaction, doesn't the receiver also have a responsibility to question their own assumptions and filters then *ask* what was meant in any given situation?

    It seems like it would be so much better for both parties to take responsibility for a conversation, rather than putting the complete responsibility for the other person's feelings on each individual. We would all need to be mind readers.

    As someone who has been married for over 25 years, I know all too well that this can potentially lead to interpersonal disaster. (actually, that's almost a direct quote from a marriage counselor I know. (smile))
    Doesn't it make more sense to try very hard to assume no 'negative' intent from either party - at least initially? Or if we do assume, ask them what they meant rather than treating our assumptions as fact?

    I'm really interested here..... not totally disagreeing with anything you have written, Marika - just giving my perspective on my understanding of what you have presented. :-) If you feel I have misunderstood, please do set me straight. Clarifying conversation is a good thing. :-)

  • Francene Stanley
    June 11, 2013 at 8:43 PM  

    Yes. Words can hurt or heal. Words can be twisted to mean so many things. Words are the way we express our feelings. Visiting from Authentic Blogger.

  • Michelle Jensen
    June 18, 2013 at 8:58 PM  

    It would be much better if both parties took responsibility, and if one wasn't sure of how the statement was intended, they asked before jumping to conclusions and getting their feelings hurt. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case, especially in a public forum such as a webpage. Many people read many things, and opinions are formed based on initial impressions. A person might decide to not even bother to continue to read if the first reading is perceived as brash. And asking someone online, did you intend that to be *insulting, derogatory, confusing, disturbing* etc can be hard.

    When a person has no idea who might read the article or comment, they bear a responsibility to not ASSUME that others will approach them when offended or confused about the words used.

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