Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Lost in translation

Lost in translation
11 June 2013

I think that lots of disagreements and arguments, are caused more by things getting lost in translation, than by actual disputes about principles.  Or different viewpoints.

And when tempers are riled and emotions are high, this inclination to misunderstand can grow ever bigger.  Of this I am convinced.

And I think that part of the cause of this whole lost-in-translation-thing, is the intonation people use when they speak.  The way they say stuff.  Not so much the actual words being spoken.

I see this with my kids nearly every day.  The words they say to each other, might appear nice enough.  But their tone of voice when they say them?  Not nice at all.  It's all about where they put the accent on.  Very unflattering at times.  And this very tone, can set the mood for the rest of that conversation.  It can effectively make one deaf and incapable of hearing anything thereafter as well.  Making you unreceptive to anything that follows.  No matter how nice the intention.

It is so easy to talk at cross purposes too.  To believe the worst of others, as it justifies your feelings of righteousness.  Quite often people having a two-way argument, are not even talking about the same thing at all.  Each so intent on getting their point across, they’re not listening to the other at all.  They might as well be speaking different languages.  In fact, for all intents and purposes, they are.

Maybe it is best to have disagreements in letter form?  Lest there be any dispute as to what was actually said.

I wish we could caution the world to use greater care when communicating.  That though sticks and stones might physically break bones, those bones do usually heal.  Whereas the damaging effects of unkind words can linger for much longer.  A lifetime if you please.

People in positions of power, are quite often most guilty of this.  Of saying unkind things.  Of being verbally cruel.  Perhaps they feel their power gives them the right?  When in actual fact the opposite is true.  Caution should always be exercised.  Irrespective of who you are.  No one is above consideration of others.  Whether family, friend or foe.

Furthermore, what means one thing for one person, means a whole different thing for someone else.  Sometimes even innocuous, harmless words can be misconstrued.  And taken up wrong. 

I try and remember this, because words are powerful.  Even mightier than the sword.

And so, I caution myself, to be careful of what I say.  To be considerate and thoughtful of how it might be interpreted.  To ensure that I say exactly what I mean, and that others understand this. 

Kindness, begets kindness.  In thoughts.  And in deeds.

And most importantly of all, even in words. 

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