Would you like to know why so many things go wrong between you and the people in your life….?
The reason is as basic as it is bone-headed. Neither of you really understands what the other is saying. Even if they’re looking each other right in the eye when saying it. The problem is we use words we think the other person hears exactly like we hear them. Sorry! Virtually every one of English’s 988,000 words has more than one meaning. For instance when I use words like “love,” “ghetto” or “gay,” you will hear them according to YOUR personal lifetime experiences not MINE. Hey, it’s just the way we are!
Here’s a letter I kept from my high school sweetheart 63 years ago >> “Dear Jack, I hope you are still not angry. I want to explain that I was really joking when I told you I didn’t mean what I said about re-considering my decision not to change my mind. Please believe me, I really mean this. Love, Rita”
I kept it because I couldn’t believe it then and I still can’t believe it now. Sultry brown-eyed Rita apparently knew exactly what the hell she meant in 1950, but even she can’t explain it today. And no, I didn’t marry Rita; she correctly concluded I was just as confused then as she was. Linguistic confusion, however, remains the great Barrier Reef between the oceans of ideas that try to wash across the shores of billions of minds each new day. You see, all the wondrous technologies in all the world are not quite sufficient to laser through the thick filters that accumulate around the human mind over its years of life.
From Rita all the way back to the Greeks attacking Troy, to the Roman Legions attacking Spartacus, to the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, to the endless filibusters in today deadlocked US Senate, to my neighbor throwing their garbage on my law, what we have here is a-breakdown-in-communication.
Look, whether it’s high schoolers, warriors, politicians or quarterbacks, the only real way words work is if they can get them from inside-us into inside-them. Getting our words to actually find their way through those stubborn filters that have built up over the years in our listeners’ heads.
Toughest little journey in the universe!
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