It’s interesting how our language and words can have such a huge impact. But when you really think about it, words are just labels. Without their meaning they are just a series of letters that go together to make a sound, without the sound they are just shapes and symbols, yet these little insignificant shapes can have such a powerful impact upon our emotions.
I have talked before on the People Building podcast about water experiments by Dr Emoto, as featured on the film “What the bleep do we know?” In the experiments messages are placed on water containers and the water is frozen and photographed whilst it is crystallised. It was fascinating to see that the messages that were positive produced beautiful symmetrical crystals from the water and the more aggressive or negative messages made oily “ugly” shapes.
The message in the movie was that if thoughts can do that to water, imagine what they can do to you….
However the words are just labels, they are not the true experience of love or hatred or anything else, so it must be the intention of the words that creates this impact.
I was recently discussing these phenomena with a friend who asked me the question “Well who says that the symmetrical crystals are better than the oily blobs? Isn’t beauty subjective?”
Now that got me thinking, what if anytime someone says something, we remember that their words are just words that we could strip back the meaning from so that any perceived power that they may have can be removed?
Sometimes that may be useful. I get particularly irritated when people make something of the words to over inflate them (usually for dramatic effect) when actually the words may have had a very different meaning or very limited meaning.
An example of this was when recently someone responded to my rant on Facebook in which I was having a moan about having to use a pc as I had lent my MacBook to someone. In jest I had said that I’d like to spit on and stamp on their laptop and that it was pure filth! I sent the message to my friends wall and was really surprised when someone got back to me saying “I wonder what that meant symbolically as a reflection of your psyche, being a student of the mind and all that.”
I wasn’t sure at first if he was joking, if he really thought that there was some deeper meaning to be had from my words that were entirely about my dislike and distrust of PC’s!
However, the “word psychologist” went on to say “The Pc scenario was an opportunity to accept part of yourself , that has been stamped on and spit on an suppressed in your unconscious. Your shadow.”
I thought at this stage he was talking nonsense and made a point of saying so in no uncertain terms!
You see for me, when you read words off of a written page you already miss so much of the context. There is no physiology and no tone, there is very little relationship between written words on a page and the experience being described. As such I think it’s really important to choose your words carefully and to avoid “feeding” your words to others in order to describe what you assume their experience to be. You can’t ever truly describe it even if you are very close to them with excellent rapport, the thoughts and feelings are unique to the internal world of someone else. So use their words, their reality and their own representations.