Must-Read: Words, Meaning, and Exchange of Essence


Words are powerful. Exciting. Thought-provoking. Invigorating.

Words, in the right context and usage, can be a dynamic catalyst for creative thinking and solid results.

However, using the wrong words in either content or meaning may be disastrous. How many times have we seen dialogue turn ugly just because the words were either misconstrued or misinterpreted?

How many times have we seen dialogue turn ugly just because the words were either misconstrued or misinterpreted? All the pieces are in play with our speech: phrasing, interpretation and even gestures.  One slip of our tongue of our communication could be a catastrophe.

However, go one step further…

How is that possible?

Simple; if a person acquires aphasia.

The Ability to Communicate

Aphasia?  What is aphasia?

Well, guys and gals, as the Mayo Clinic indicates,

“Aphasia is a condition that robs you of the ability to communicate. Aphasia can affect your ability to express and understand language, both verbal and written.”

Thus, when I suffered my massive stroke, believe it or not, I also acquired global aphasia which obliterated my communication for years.

What a bear.

You can just imagine, (especially in my younger days of my recovery,) to get the meaning across to a person that doesn’t understand or appreciate what aphasia is. To put it another way, people get hung up on words so intently that they are missing the intrinsic meaning of the message when I am grappling with aphasia.

The Exchange of Essence

Therefore, my meanings ongoing need to be extraordinary each and every day with aphasia. Compelling, yet strong in my seek, in particular, I:

  • Listen to another person intently
  • Ask one million questions
  • Craft my words the best that I can and
  • Lastly, if I make a mistake, then, lo and behold, I make a mistake.

But, if I can have a cozy chat with another person on the exchange of essence and not the words itself in the microscope, then we set sail on a productive conversation.

What do you think your words are?

Note: As an Advisory Council board member for the National Aphasia Association, I promote public education and support services to assist people with aphasia and their families.

Because June is Aphasia Awareness Month, I present several links for more knowledge and information about aphasia:



Add yours →

  1. Hello my friend! I wish to say that this article is amazing,
    nice written and include almost all vital infos.
    I would like to look more posts like this .

  2. Shelia Perkins June 26, 2014 — 9:27 am

    Words are extremely important. The wrong one in the (wrong) right place, can change the whole meaning of what one is trying to communicate. Nuance can be everything. In the ‘world’ as it is today, and social media (which we are using now) thoughts and words fly around the globe at the speed of -well- thought, and certainly in an instant. Add to that the popularity of Twitter, emails, and whatever other source of instantaneous communication I am missing, and there are a myriad of means to being misunderstood (or perhaps worse- actually being understood). To me, the limitations in these communication methods are dangerous, even without the added issues of aphasia, dementia, and thoughtlessness.

    Crafting words into clear thoughts is an art. Twitter can be as charming as a haiku. Or it can be very ugly.

    Working with seniors, and becoming one myself, I see people struggling for ‘that’ word that eludes them. It is extremely frustrating. Often embarrassing. With co-workers we ‘fill in the blanks’ for each other and that works.

    I am curious, however, would ‘filling in the blanks’ work with strangers. Should I try to help someone find the correct word? Someone I don’t know that well? Is it embarrassing, or is it helpful?

    • Even though sometimes it’s very difficult because you want to help the other person, they have to make their own decisions and use the words that fit the situation each time. Otherwise, even though you are helping out which is very kind, it may lead into situations that you can even think about at the beginning.

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