2008-09-19 / Columnists

The Inner Voice

Commentary by Marilyn Gelfand

Words mean different things to different people and also help define our reality. For some, words are a way to explain real feelings and thoughts while for others they are tools to accomplish a desired end result. If I am manipulative, I know ahead of time how to make you angry, guilty or sad by using certain words. If I am just talking with no agenda, I may not understand how our conversation got to this place.

I may even search myself to see if I caused this result. As much as possible, it is important to know who we are speaking to, and if there is an agenda to this person's communication. Just having an open conversation about yourself is good when you believe you are talking to a friend.

Let's look at the word "or" and the word "and." Because we use the word "or" so much, in our thoughts we start dividing up life into boxes or categories: Is it this or that? Is it cold or hot, good or bad, left or right. It is important to ask myself, "Do I think in boxes?" Do I constantly classify to have to make everything fit into my ordered thinking of reality. If we think this way, then we are distorting the reality to fit into our way of perceiving life. It may or may not be tied into what is genuinely happening.

So much of what happens, what we feel, what must be understood is more "and." Do I feel happy or sad? Well, I could feel happy and sad at the same time and that is perfectly as it should be. I can be happy that an ill person is freed from pain and suffering, yet feel terrible over my loss of this person. When people tell us how we should feel, it can cause great discomfort. The most important thing to do is to acknowledge how I actually do feel. I must spend time with myself and realize what I am experiencing. It is so important for my own peace of mind to say to myself this is what I feel. When I am ready, I can choose my actions from clarity. I don't have to let conversations or words interfere with my true feelings or be the force that creates them.

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