Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sensitivity of Words

The past few days have been a bit difficult for my family. Tuesday evening, we found out our friends' son passed away. He was only 25-years-old. His death and family's pain got me thinking, especially after leaving the services today.

Something I've realized is that our society is insensitive to the words that we use on a daily basis. Our generation has become so lax and immune to certain verbiage taking on multiple meanings. We say we're going to "die" when we really mean we're sick, tired or worn out. Some use the word "gay" as an adjective that has no relation to the true meaning of happiness or homosexuality. Just yesterday, I had the stomach flu and dramatically said, "Mom, I'm dying..." But here I am, blogging the next day.

I should know better than to even think of using the word "dying". My boyfriend had AML Leukemia as a child and had a greater chance of losing his life, rather than living. I lost my amazing grandfather just over one year ago. Regardless, the word tumbled from my lips like it was nothing.

Here's my challenge: When I'm about to use words like these, and there is no direct correlation to the true definition, I will motivate myself to search for another. To me, people's ability to curse every other word, or use "gay" or "dying" to be dramatic, reveals a lack of vocabulary.

I'm not claiming to be vocabulary genius. In fact, I often wish I would have taken my honors english vocabulary tests more seriously in high school. And to be frank, I sometimes let a curse word slip off my tongue when I'm angry. But, from now on, I'm going to make a bigger effort to search for better words to explain situations.

The reality is that we never know what a friend or acquaintance may be going through. If I would have told my mother's friend I was "dying" yesterday, she would have broke down due to the death of her son. You see... We need to be more sensitive to others' feelings and circumstances.

I'm hoping that this challenge becomes a habit and that I no longer will find myself using unnecessary words for dramatic effect. I'm sure I'm not alone and I wish you the best of luck if you join me and attempt to find more tactful, articulate and realistic vocabulary.


  1. I am so sorry for your family's loss. This post is a powerful one due to your challenge, and I love it. Choosing words wisely is definitely something I try to remind my students each day! Thanks for this wonderful reminder.

  2. Hi Shannon Marie! I absolutely love this post, it speaks very loudly. I completely agree with you, in that if we don't use such "words of exaggeration" we can look like we have a limited vocabulary. It's something that I'm really going to work on. I really like your blog- new follower here! Have a great weekend!