The idea of language, the way we speak and what we choose to say is fascinating.
There are words you may use without really understanding exactly what they mean or how they could be interpreted.
I recently received a message that included the word probably. My first thought was how far from definite it was.
I found myself asking google ‘How certain is probably?’. The answer I got, is that it’s more likely a yes than no. However, that no is not a no without a shadow of a doubt, it’s more like a no with a shadow of doubt.
For example, if you asked someone of they would help you with something later in the day and they responded with ‘probably’, you haven’t really gained any clarity from the answer.
When you’re looking to someone for some form of clarity, you’ll want responses like yes, no or certainly, you want an answer that you can rely on.
There are some cases when, if you don’t know what to say the best thing to say is nothing at all. But that doesn’t apply to every situation.
In fact, in some scenarios saying nothing is one of the worst things that you can do.
Sometimes we hold off from speaking up because we think that less than perfect is not good enough. However, the perfect composition of words shouldn’t always be the aim.
At times it’s better to speak up in the moment, to perhaps let someone know that you care instead of staying quiet. The alternative is to wait until what you have to say is closer to perfect but by then it will be too late.
There’s no need to skirt around the issue.
Being clear with your words might seem like a simple thing to do. Yet if you reflect on conversations you’ve had and the things you’ve said recently you might find times when you haven’t been so clear.
It might have been because you weren’t really thinking in the moment but upon reflection you can see that you should have chose your words more carefully.
However, it could also be that the words you chose in the moment weren’t totally honest. Maybe you were scared to say how you really feel.
Either way what ends up happening is you’re not happy with the response you get from the person you were talking to. It’s not because you didn’t agree with them but instead because their response wasn’t addressing what you really had to say.
Next time try being a little clearer and say what you really mean.
In some situations you might find that that there is a discord between what you want and the outcome you get.
If you’re unsure if this applies to you, think about some of your recent encounters with people.
What did you want?
What was the outcome?
Were you happy with the way things turned out?
It’s worth noting that what you want and the outcome don’t have to align completely. Sometimes you end up happy with the way things turn out even when it’s different to what you originally wanted.
But when you find yourself discontent with the outcome, the reason more often than you might think is your choice of words.
People often talk about how it’s good to open up, to let people know how you feel and be vulnerable.
However, it’s important to add if you don’t take the time to word things thoughtfully the outcome can be just as unhelpful as it would be if you say nothing at all.
After a week or so of struggling to write I got my flow back, the words began to pour.
I began to think about how difficult it had been to post everyday that previous week, until I caught myself and realised why I hadn’t been able to write as easily.
I’d stopped writing.
In that week or so of struggling to write I’d gotten caught up in being busy and I chose to do other things with my time instead of write. And so I suppose I created this story in my head about struggling to write because it was easier than admitting the truth.
Plus, at times it’s almost cool to have ‘writers block’ just so you can shout about when it’s over.
It’s hard to balance tense and triggered aspects of self with the softer more malleable bits.
My anxiety makes me tense and rigid but it also deeply influences the way I write. But my softer more malleable side deeply influences my writing too.
It is often through writing that my anxieties subside and I am able to go with the flow, follow the words and not worry about the order or things making perfect sense but to instead stay inflow allowing the words to pour.
To be able to follow the flow no matter how brief or specific is something worth cherishing. When you’re tense and rigid or feeling overwhelmed by life it seems impossible that there’s any other way, but there is.
The flow is always there whether you choose that path or not. You can go back to it at any point because the moment you realise that what you’re doing isn’t working or should be different is the moment the solution becomes available.
On learning to see things more clearly.
In situations where your perspective is hazy you might need someone to polish your glasses.
Not in the literal sense but in the form of sharing words, interacting and connecting.
When you’re so used to your own way of thinking you might find that you’ve become rigid and closed minded.
And unless you make a conscious effort to open your mind, your way of seeing things is not likely to change.
That’s why it’ll take someone else to shift your way of seeing things. Someone that’ll come into your life with polish and one one of those microfiber dust free cloths to give your glasses a little polish.
And it’ll rarely be explicit instead it’ll be so subtle that you don’t notice until it’s already done.
I think that’s the purpose some people serve in our lives. They could be in your life for multiple years or a mere moment but they spark change.
And sometimes the best thing is to say nothing at all.
Because if someone isn’t willing to listen but is willing to argue and disagree you’re probably wasting your time and energy.
But other times the reason to say nothing is because you can’t quite find the words. You’re talking in phrases, stumbling over words and not quite making sense.
Maybe you need a moment of rest, a moment to not speak (or write) or make a grand statement about what you’ve discovered about life.
I’m in the mood to say nothing today but since I committed to saying something daily this is all I have to offer.
Some days are easier than others.
I have days when the words pour out with such ease that it can be hard to keep up. But I also have days when I’ll open my laptop to write and after 30 minutes I’ve gone back and forth on the same few sentences and I have a total of 23 words on the page.
But by posting daily I can’t rely on the days when it’s easy to write because those moments don’t come 7 days a week.
Instead I’ve taught myself to work through the days when the words don’t come as easy and still end up with something I’m happy to share.
I find that once I’m willing to try and write the ‘block’ eventually dissolves and out pour the words.
I recently found a scrap of paper with a few sentences scrawled on it. I’d forgotten about this particular moment but as I read my words it all came flooding back.
I’d written down some thoughts about a conversation I had with someone over lunch. It was from around 4 years ago which reminded me how quickly things can change because I’m living a totally different life now.
But what really surprised me is how clearly, I could remember that moment.
This is one of the reasons I love to write, I’m able to make notes of things that are meaningful to me and look back on them years later. What’s even better is that I remember how I felt.
As great as photo’s are, they could have never captured this moment the way that words have.