2005-07-01 / Columnists

The Inner Voice by Marilyn Gelfand

When we interpret what we see, we may pay attention to words, actions

or our own interpretation of why someone did what he did. We are taught in our culture that lying is bad, and often we believe the words that people say.  This can lead to confusion if our instincts are telling us that this is not what this person means with his words. We know of those who operate as con artists and take advantage of unsuspecting people. Often the targeted people believe the words or want to believe them or are too polite to ask for clarity. 

Words are not reliable as sources of information unless we are dealing with someone close who we know means what he says. Words can be used as weapons or manipulative tools to get you to believe me. Words can create illusions, such as terrorist organizations that put the word peace in their title. We must never assume that anyone else uses words the way I do.  Some people use the words as mirrors back to you so you will believe in compatibility and give the person all the information he needs about you to control you. Others use words to get them off the hook. Our instincts are more reliable here than the words themselves. 

We may look at what someone does, and say that the action is giving us

solid information. However, many people only do things with strings

attached. The action is done to get something. Then it becomes a business transaction. Often this may be hidden so the person may be encouraged to give the other a good end result. Actions may be stronger than words in giving us a picture of what someone is like, but you can never be sure. As long as we are pleased with the actions and don’t feel obligated by them, they work for us. Instincts can again tell us if this person is sincere or not.

Trying to figure out why someone said or did something may be very

helpful. Even if the action or words come out wrong, the person may

have had good intentions. It is more important to know the motives so

that things can be simply corrected and then new steps taken to rectify

a good intent. On the other hand, if the words and actions are perfect,

but you believe they were done for the wrong reasons, you may want to

remove yourself  from this relationship. 

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