*I apologize in advance. This entry will contain some babble you likely won't understand. I hope you enjoy it anyhow.
"I know that you believe you understand what you
think I said, but I'm not sure you realize
that what you heard is not what I meant."
Have you ever gotten really upset over something someone said, even when you know that the thing that was said was not meant to be hurtful? Well I'm upset right now because of something someone said to me this morning, even though I know what was said was not intended to upset me. I hope I'm not the only one who gets upset when they know no offense was meant.
Here's my question though: does it really matter if no offense was meant if offense was given? Does the intention supersede the emotional toll inflicted?
I mean it's not like you can un-hear what you heard. I can't very well pretend I never heard it. Nor can I pretend what was heard didn't have a negative emotional impact on me.
It doesn't seem to matter if I am logically aware that hurt feelings were not the intended outcome of the remark--hurt feelings are what I've got. Words sting, especially when words in a particular context have been utilized as weapons for years--aimed to maim.
When words have been used to cause nearly irreparable damage there comes a point when it no longer matters who wields the words--the words themselves become daggers and when not used carefully these daggers draw blood.
Words are potent, powerful....dangerous. I've been reading a lot of Julia Kristeva's work for one of my grad classes. She argues that words themselves, the structures and superstructures of language even, are literal revolutionary acts. The spoken and written word are a revolution--a violent sundering of something huge.
I think I agree with her. Words can be revolutionary. The intention doesn't always matter. Words are intimately bound to emotions. Words elicit emotional responses. Words can harm and heal, cut to the core and sooth a broken heart.
I think you have to be careful with words.