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Word Choice Matters

I don’t exercise. I engage in physical activity. It’s funny how word choice makes all the difference. I desperately hate the idea of exercising, but I don’t mind being physically active. They really mean the same thing. I just have a mental block for one of the words that probably stems from a traumatic gym class incident that took place when I was a kid.

Word choice is important in all areas of life. I can tell my husband that his cologne is a bit strong, or I can tell him that it reeks. I can tell my boss that I’m displeased with a certain situation or that I’m furious. I can tell my friend that her son was a handful, or I can tell her that he was a holy terror.

I’ve chosen the wrong word plenty of times. I once referred to my cousin as a wild child. My mother quickly corrected me. My cousin was a free spirit, not wild. She wasn’t unruly. She simply liked to do things her own way. My poor word choice upset my aunt when no insult had been intended. Once the words were spoken, the damage was done. I could not unsay them.

powerful words

Communication is very important in today’s world. I believe that much of our strife is caused by communication failure or simply poor word choice. Our world leaders must choose their words very carefully when dealing with other leaders. They must communicate extremely well to avoid international strain. One wrong word can cause a great deal of embarrassment and possible heartache.

Imagine the confusion if one leader said to another, “Your military equipment is quite lavish.” Can you imagine someone telling Queen Elizabeth II that her favorite garden was pungent? One poor word choice could destroy peace talks. Imagine a male leader remarking to a female leader, “You look scrumptious this evening.” Things would not end well.

Words are powerful. Use them wisely.

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