Finding the words

Human beings have a special knack for misunderstanding each other. Is there any hope for fixing that?

Sometimes it can be a real challenge to know what to say. We know what we mean to share, but we don’t know how to say it in a way that makes us understood in precisely the manner we want to be.

Why? Is the problem intelligence? Bad habits created by our abuse of social media trends and SMS? Lack of understanding the perspective of our audience?

One of the things that’s always frustrated me about social media is that it’s so easy to be misunderstood and to misunderstand others. Is there a way to avoid that problem?

“None of us read the same book.” That’s something a teacher told me years ago, and it makes me think there is no avoiding the problem of misunderstandings. If you speak too succinctly, you might lose some of the nuance of your point, but if you speak at too much length, you might leave a lot of room for onlookers to add their own interpretation to the message.

None of us read the same book – we all have our own interpretations.

I guess the problem isn’t so much, “How can I be perfectly understood by whoever reads my words?” and more-so, “Am I willing to be misunderstood?”

Am I prepared for it? Am I confident enough in myself to withstand a barrage of criticism from people who misunderstood me? Am I willing to let the (from my perspective) “incorrect” interpretation of my text go on and have a life of its own without me?

It’s hard to say. For now, I think the goal is not to be understood, but to understand. The more I read, the more words, phrases, idioms, and concepts I can add to my arsenal.

And then one day I’ll write something that is perfectly misunderstood exactly the way I want it to be. That’ll be a treat.

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