Are you sure the person you're talking to defines a word or a topic the same way you do?

I mean we all talk together using many of the same words, but you might be surprised to learn that they don't mean the same thing you do all the time.

It's a lesson I am learning over and over again in life. People use the same words in conversation, but don't necessarily define them the same way.

Words like:

  • Love
  • Integrity
  • Care
  • Tolerance
  • Diversity
  • Privacy

Statements like:

  • Team work
  • I miss you
  • Freedom of speech

Now you might think those words and statements are pretty self evident. But if you listen on social media or the mainstream media you will quickly realize people are saying them over and over... But they don't mean the same things.

Love is a good one. Most everyone say "I love you" romantically to someone at some point in their life. But one person might mean they feel that in love feeling, but nothing more. While another might care so deeply for the other person that they would sacrifice anything for that person. Both said the words "I love you", but both meant completely different things.

Freedom of speech is another hot topic in the media right now. Everyone is saying it. But some people think it means you're free, but only free to say what's politically correct and allowed by the mob. While the vast majority of US citizens embrace the American definition of it. Which is everyone is allowed to say whatever they please, and everyone else has the freedom to ignore them if they want.

Aside from politics, why's it matter you might think? Take this example and consider... A guy says "When I wake up and you're not here, it makes me sad and anxious." You might think awww that's so sweet. And in many cases you'd be right. But consider this. There are people out there that truthfully and genuinely say "When I wake up and you're not here, it makes me sad and anxious." However they say it without a single ounce of care or concern. They are even saying it truthfully because they are sad the person isn't there to control and abuse and find amusement from abusing them. They are anxious because they cannot stand not being in control, and you not being there means they aren't in control. It's a dark place but it's a real place many a person woke up in this morning...

I've had to slow my life down with family and friends. And take the time to compare definitions of things. It's a process and the first few times it's certainly awkward. But each time it gets easier. And at the same time I learn so much about the people around me. It's worth the time, worth the awkwardness. Because in the end it's about people, and people are always worth it.