According to The Concise Oxford English Dictionary, the word "semantic" is defined as "1: relating to the meaning of words, relating to the connotation of words...  2:  branch of philosophy concerned with meanings..." and Webster's pocket dictionary gives a definition that is essentially the same, if worded differently, though I'm only quoting the COED directly because that's the dictionary I grew up with. 

The reason I've brought up this topic today is because it seems that a lot of causes of friction, on several levels, from interpersonal to academic and professional, seem to be caused by this one issue.  And what I find interesting, is that it seems to affect so many people on so many levels.  If you wish to dispute me on this question, by all means do so, though I would encourage you to investigate the fields of politics, religion and philosophy first.  As one example, look at how many disputes arise in the field of religion.  And I'm not talking about the fights between Jews, Christians and Muslims, or more accurately, only those groups.  You have passionate, even violent disagreements between different groups of Jews, different groups of Christians, and do we even need to bring up the disagreements between the Shia and Sunni muslims, not to mention the members of either group who lean toward Sufi philosophy within their religion.

It's gotten popular in "mainstream" psychology, and counselling to use the concepts of deletions, distortions and generalizations, concepts that were really established and defined in NLP.  While each one is dangerous to communication with others and yourself in its own way, one of the most dangerous is the "nominalization", which is a type of "generalization".  Specifically, it's the practise of turning a verb into a noun.  It's something we see politicians do all the time. 

As an example, you hear politicians the world over talking about accountability.  I can actually confirm that according to communication strategist Chris St Hilaire (a world leader in the field on communication strategy) the word "accountability" is one of the top three favourites used by politicians.  They all love to talk about accountability, because it's a noun, a name, a word that essentially is meaningless.  You hear every politician talk about it, "accountability this" or "accountability that".  But not once do they ever say "Let me show you, let me demonstrate to you, how I'm going to be truly accountable."

It's because we've gotten confused about the difference between a noun and a verb.  Another of their favourites is "education".  A lot of politicians believe in "education", but ask yourself this, how many politicians believe in "educating" people?

I was showing a good friend around my office recently.  This is someone I've known for several years now.  Someone who, we don't always agree philosophically, but there is respect for most of our differences.  For example, I believe in the Law of Attraction and he doesn't.

To paint the picture a little, my office is decorated with pictures and photos of things that I want and people that I want to meet.  Similar to a vision board, but I don't limit myself to 24" x 18" of cardboard.  If it's a flat surface that can hold a picture of a goal, it does.

So we're in my office, and he's looking at all these pictures.  One of them is a male torso, really buff and cut, the sort of torso I'm working toward having for myself.  Another picture has a big bag of money (choice and freedom) and I have a picture of the big three, Kiyosaki, Robbins and Trump.  That's just a few of them.

Anyway, my friend is looking at these pictures like I've just grown another head and asks me what they're for.  So I explain that they're there to help me attract them into my life by studying them daily so I can create new neural pathways to help move myself toward them.  That's how the Law of Attraction works.

"Oh I do that all the time," he says.  And still disputes the Law of Attraction.  I've always thought semantics was a funny thing.

While on the subject, I just want to touch on something else too.  Something that semantically, is where a lot of people get a little stuck.

You hear a lot of Law of Attraction experts talk about "Getting clear".  They generally explain it by saying that they mean that you need to get rid of all the negative emotions.  Even Dr Robert Anthony mentions it in his Law of Attraction course and talks about his Flipswitch technique.  Without giving the actual technique away, you try to think about something else to feel better and say an affirmation to yourself to choose to feel better in the moment.  I've used it myself and it does work, at least in the short term.

I personally find a more effective way is to experience and work through the negative feelings and if they still won't budge then get to work on them with some Thought Field Therapy or NLP.  That's because I find that the best way out of something is to go through it.  Once I've done that, I find the Flipswitch technique puts me in a whole new place.

But to me, "getting clear" has a double meaning.  It's a phrase that has two meanings but most people, including the experts, only tend to see one of them.  This second meaning has only really hit me in the last couple of weeks because of all the study I've been doing to upskill, ie: Life Coaching, Clinical Hypnotherapy and NLP.  It was actually thanks to the NLP training that it hit me, and also thanks to another conversation I had.  The conversation had been about the difference between the terms "weight loss" and "weight reduction" (you can search through earlier posts to see what I mean by that).  In a nutshell, the person I was talking to couldn't believe the need to be so specific in the use of the words chosen. 

Semantics again.  And there we have it.  Have what?  Being clear.  It's second, almost hidden meaning is that we also have to be specific.  Too often we treat words and phrases like they have meanings and definitions that are interchangeable.  I regularly hear people use a word for one meaning, then another meaning and then another.  Then they're frustrated when they're misunderstood and upset if someone has the audacity to correct them.

So if you get your semantics right, you can expect to be understood a lot better by the people around you



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    G'day everyone.  I'm an Aussie Life Coach, Clinical Hypnotist (www.americanallianceofhypnotists.org)  and author with a passion for making every relationship in our lives the best it can be.   I work at local, state, national and international levels.  I am also a Callahan Techniques Thought Field Therapy practitioner trained by Eugene Piccinotti TFT - dx, and I studied Neuro Linguistic Programming Master Practitioner Level (MNLP) under Steve G Jones at the American University of Neuro-Linguistic Programming
    (http://www.aunlp.org).  In other words, as a coach, I'll use whatever I have to use to help you to make the changes you want to make.