Insight and Choice Words

The colossal misunderstanding of our time is the assumption that insight will work with people who are unmotivated to change. Communication does not depend on syntax, or eloquence, or rhetoric, or articulation but on the emotional context in which the message is being heard. People can only hear you when they are moving toward you, and they are not likely to when your words are pursuing them. Even the choicest words lose their power when they are used to overpower. Attitudes are the real figures of speech. ย -Edwin H. Friedman


You can speak wonderfully about something you think people should be doing, but if they are content to sit on the couch, nothing you can say will move them. You can tell people that you love them, but if they don’t love you, your words don’t mean anything.


2 thoughts on “Insight and Choice Words

  1. I will even take this one step further, from observations of human nature that I’ve made.

    One day I was visiting with a single mom on welfare, who’s had serious problems with alcohol, whose sons have all been in scrapes with the law — whose life, I would say, is a shambles. She told me she’d like to be a social worker and help people with their problems.

    There are a lot of people out there — and maybe all of us, if truth be told — who already have the insight. Who could tell you or me the answers we need to hear — and be right on. But they / we are still sitting on the couch when it comes to actually applying those answers to their / our own lives.


    • That is so true Christine. Thank you for sharing that story. I have met people who I thought were dumb rednecks; I listened to them tell their story and was surprised to hear them articulate their problem in its fullness and express some ideas about what they needed to do to get rid of their problem. I waited for these people to change their situation, but they never did, or took years to do it. Human beings understand their situation, but they get comfortable sitting on the couch, or get too afraid to get up and change things.

      Liked by 2 people

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