They have the power to cut like a knife or open our hearts to unbelievable love. Sometimes it can be the same word only we hear it differently depending upon who's saying it as well as the context. A word said by an acquaintance can have a whole different meaning when said by one's lover, can't it? The word "lover" may even evoke a variety of responses when read by different people!
But the truth is all meaning starts with us!
Well, it does start with us but it didn't begin with us; your family of origin, the culture and times you grew up in all influence your listening. It's only when you wake up to the meaning you attribute to a word that you actually have the power and not the word.
Time magazine recently highlighted this concept in an article about Mattel, the makers of the Barbie doll. They spent a lot of time choosing what they would call the new Barbie's body types. Being sensitive to cultural consideration, they settled on Curvy, Petite, and Tall, as not to offend any culture, since she is sold all over the world.
Whether on a personal or global scale, what if you took away the power of a word to hurt. It doesn't mean you have to like a word it just means it doesn't have the power to sting. What if you could listen to others differently, so words no longer inflame but create understanding instead?
Here's to your listening!