In high school I was very active in the English Department. I wrote for the school newspaper, was involved in the yearbook, and was part of a special group that were focused on journalism as a college track. As I enrolled in college I found that journalism and English seemed to call me and my first year was spent enrolled in these programs. It wasn't until my first Introduction to Psychology class that I realized the value of mental wellness and eventually changed my academic journey to focus on the science of the mind.
In spite of my departure from the English language as my focus of study I have always carried a deep respect for the use of words and how we each apply them in life. A word that could be considered "acceptable" within one group suddenly becomes taboo when you take it to another audience. Or a word that means one thing at work takes on a whole new meaning at home. Words that are acceptable in certain regions of the Country are gibberish in other areas. For example, a "hoagie" in Philadelphia is a "sub" or "hero" in areas. "Pop" in the Midwest is "soda" in other places. And being "stuck in traffic" creates a completely different picture for someone in Miami versus someone in Texas versus someone in the Northeast!
Another avenue of language is to appreciate people applying the same meaning to a word. In some cultures it is commonplace to use profanity while in others it's considered offensive. The word itself does not carry weight but, rather, the weight the audience places on a word.
Words are a large influence on communication in modern society. Made more so important with the advent of social media and the use of words and acronyms to relay emotions, thoughts, and opinions to the masses. Text messages have brought an entirely new language that is useful and accepted universally. Twitter has taught the mainstream to limit it's usage of letters and words and suddenly what was once a full sentence is now a blur of letters that many may understand but others may not.
How do we navigate the use of language in today's society? How do we know how something we say is accepted or applied? Are you aware of the power of your words within your family? Are you conscious of the value your words play when interacting with those you love?
Try listening this week. REALLY listening. What words/sentences do you take for granted believing that those around you "get it"?
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