Had an interesting exchange on Facebook today regarding language. It evolved from a conversation I had with a Brit on Twitter a few weeks ago. What I learned today – that “moby” across the pond refers to a mobile phone and not a whale – would have made my original conversation much more productive, and I probably would not have appeared to be the typical American blonde.
Not only was it clarifying as well as amusing, it also got me thinking about language – how even though we technically may speak the same language, on far too many occasions, we misunderstand each other. This misunderstanding often hampers our progression through the quagmire in which we find ourselves. It bogs us down in our homes, our workplaces, online, even within ourselves. The words we choose and the way in which we choose to use them has a significant impact on the results of our communications.
How many times have we had a huge brannigan with our spouse/significant other/kids/friends other because of poor word choices? How many “Twitter Wars” start because people read something into a tweet that simply wasn’t there. (Hey, kids, with 140 characters, it’s amazing we haven’t all killed each other by now!) How many times has our resume been passed over or an interview blown because of a word written or a phrase uttered that was simply misconstrued by the person reading/hearing it?
Finally, how many times have we held ourselves back because of our internal dialog? Some of the words I say to myself I wouldn’t utter to my worst enemy. I guess that truly makes me my own worst enemy, so that previous sentence was a fallacy! No surprise there. If we all went to jail for verbally abusing ourselves, they’d have to build larger prisons. It seems contrary to reason that we shouldn’t be able to understand ourselves perfectly, but we can’t…or maybe we just won’t.
I’m not saying we should don a cheerleader outfit and stand in front of the mirror with pom-poms waving, but, for Christ sake, we could allow ourselves to be real. We’re not the dumbest, ugliest, fattest, most worthless piece of shit to ever walk the planet. We’re also not the smartest, prettiest, skinniest, or best piece of shit either. We’re just us. And that’s okay.
The language we use should not be to admonish, but acknowledge. Admit we have some faults and work on them. Admit we have some strengths and celebrate them. The rest? Learn to laugh at it. Humor is the same in any language and will always get you through…