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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

One Word, Two Letters Can Change a Relationship

A couple of weeks ago, my honey and I went to talk to a friend of ours about something personal. Because of the time of day, it happened to interrupt a critical 15 minutes of her work day. When I asked if she was sure she had time, she answered in a reassuring way that it was fine. As soon as she spoke, I asked myself what she'd said. Because one word changed the tone of our interruption and her involvement.
She spoke quickly so I wasn't sure if she said, "There's nothing going on over there that's as important right now." Or if she said, "There's nothing going on over there that's very important right now." One word interchangeable, "as" or "very." I paused in that moment not to dissect the intent behind her words because I know her heart. It's big and giving and open. Instead, my dorky, literary self sat in the magnitude of what one single word in the same sentence can do to change not only its meaning but how it's received by those who hear it.
Our friend's use of the word "as" tells us that whatever we need to share with her is more important than anything she is doing at that moment. To use the word "very" implies that whatever she is doing isn't important and she can spare a moment.
In a sentence of simply eleven words, a single word can change its meaning. Whether someone you care about hears that you have a minute because you simply do or you have a minute because they matter most.
Words are incredibly powerful. We tend to use them superfluously and not appreciate how they can affect another person. Alter their sense of reality, understanding or belonging. I live with and love a lot of "verbal processors." People who need to dissect situations by talking through them. But in doing so, they often create situations or exacerbate emotions in their need to understand. But for those of us who don't process this way and believe each word carries a reverency of truth and vulnerability, we ingest each word instead of hearing it as a single link in a process.
Words carry weight and emotion and revolution. We must always keep this in mind. To some, you can be hyperbolic but with others you need to be literal. Remember the power your words carry. Speak with love. With grace. With life.

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