A 2 or 3 Letter Word? Language Surprises


My studies (and ultimately my work) over the last 10+ years have taught me the power of language.  Language is generative, not static; it creates our reality.  Thoughts become things.  I know this has made me see, hear and notice things differently.  It’s similar to the experience of getting something new … a particular coat or car or purse (name whatever) … never having noticed it before and all of a sudden you seem to see it everywhere.  I seem to see the “surprises” in our language all the time.

In a recent radio interview I was stuck by language in a certain exchange.  The speaker was talking about being present, noticing the things around us, stopping to smell the proverbial tulips (roses).  (I am a firm believer that we could all use more of that.  I work at it constantly … sometimes I have more success than other times.)  I was captivated by the conversation when all of a sudden, to emphasize her point she made reference to “living for the moment.”  The word FOR hit me like a ton of bricks!  Living FOR the moment infers something entirely different to me that “living IN the moment (and I’m putting words in her mouth though from the conversation, I sincerely think that is what she meant).  As her talk went on it was clear that she meant “IN”.

I was curious whether my assessment was just that … or had any truth behind it.  Was I taking this language thing too far? It caused me to jot a few notes and do some research.  “FOR” means aimed at, intended for, in lieu of, in place of, in support of (to name a few from the thesaurus).  “IN” means (aside from fashionable and trendy) … now!  For me the exchange of those two words significantly changes the meaning of the phrase.  I invite you to notice your language and (like my mother used to say) “choose your words, carefully.”  What do you want to say?   Maybe more importantly, maybe, how do you want to live?



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