Words Fail

I need to have a word with you.

The most difficult trials I’ve had to deal with all revolve around misunderstanding. Either something about me was misinterpreted or I misinterpreted the information I had at the time. It’s hard to do the right thing when you don’t have the right information.

Words are supposed to give the people we meet an idea of the ideas we want to share. They represent our observations, our feelings, and our intentions. Most languages have a word for every concept you can imagine. New words will be crafted when fresh ideas need sharing. Most misunderstandings can be decreased by using the right words.

I worry that most people care about having information more than understanding it. What good is it to listen to people and not think about their words? Then again, words are not always the most reliable medium of thought.

Words have both a literal meaning and a feel to them. A person motivated by logic could take the literal meaning of another’s words to get a sense of what is meant. A person motivated by emotion may choose to focus more on the feeling they get from someone’s words. You need a combination of both logic and emotion to see the big picture.

Focusing on just logic or just emotion leaves you open for deception. Overly emotional types are reactionary by nature and are easily controlled by those who make them feel good with their words. Overly logical types trust too much in facts and figures that they become slaves to whoever has the most information. We can avoid some deception by not delegating our thinking to someone else.

One must not put too much reliance on words. How many of us are actually good at expressing ourselves whether in spoken or written word? Language is a skill we pick up over time. And even if you master a language you can’t be certain you will perfectly understand every person you come across. You need more than just words to know what people really mean.

You might be asking why you should take time to understand what other people mean. I’ve spent the majority of my life inside my own head. I have ideas, feelings, and dreams to fill many lifetimes. It frustrates me when people would rather guess what I am thinking than actually ask me. I doubt I am the only one who feels this way. Lonely is the soul not sought for.

I want to know if the people I care about are happy. Why should I leave that to chance? I’m smart enough to ask them how they feel. I’m skilled enough to know which words are comforting to them. I’m confident enough to declare my own feelings openly. I might mess up my words, but I won’t give up on the ones I’m trying to speak to. I will wade through all the misunderstandings I have to as I constantly reach for the truth. My hope is my friends will understand what I mean when I say to them, “I’m here.”


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