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The Secret Power of Words

Updated on February 10, 2013
Source: flickr.com
Source: flickr.com

The Secret Power of Words

By Tony DeLorger © 2011

‘Ambivalence is the paradigm of indecision, the conflict unresolved. Its mere stance is the outward inability to be decisive, or critically resolute. This duality of thought can be less a conscious decision, but rather an unconscious release. The question remains, is ambivalence the result of ineffectuality or a lack of commitment to either of the contrasting views?’


For many reasons our thinking can develop periods of less focus, caused by stress, feeling overwhelmed or fatigue. At these times a response of ambivalence is simply a protection mechanism, to not have to make a decision or take part in any mental effort.

Often people respond with ambivalence to not upset or risk the trust of someone, invariably remaining aloof but safe in indecision. Ambivalence can be a statement in itself, an obvious laziness or lack of interest, or perhaps a deliberate evasive tactic in coordination with a secret agenda.

How we respond to the accompanying attitude around the word is up to each separate circumstance and how it appears to us. But ambivalence and its contentious conflicts of thought has so many possible outcomes it makes you think about how subtle is our language and how complex the reading of it.

In written form the word has a distinct meaning and we immediately understand its use. However in conversation with people we know, the subtle nuances of vocal tonality, facial expression and manner by which it is imparted, suddenly adds great complexity to this single word.

‘Ambivalence’ is a great example of a word that can reveal very different information depending on usage. I love that about the power of words; that we can communicate on different levels, just by our manner and attitude. What someone observes and understands can vary depending on how well they know the person in question. The understanding supersedes the basic definition of the word and adds infinite meaning.

Words are not just dictionary meanings but complex tools to express and to be understood to a great degree. The more we investigate the nuances and subtleties of word use and possible meaning, the greater the understanding and connection.

As writers it is our quest to rule words, to not just know meanings but to suck out their marrow and know them intrinsically, intimately. They then become our weapons of choice, to strike the hearts of the readers in such a way to really connect, deeply and convincingly. Having achieved that, we can tell what we will and have an attentive audience.

This is just one more aspect of what a writer needs to consider on his or her journey. Poetry is a good way to investigate these kinds of word use explorations, searching out the subtle tick of further meaning and expression. Its worth considering.


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    • Tony DeLorger profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony DeLorger 

      7 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Glad you enjoyed it, Happyboomernurse. Thanks for reading and your comment.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      7 years ago from South Carolina

      Cool hub on the power of words and you proved your point beautifully with the following sentences:

      As writers it is our quest to rule words, to not just know meanings but to suck out their marrow and know them intrinsically, intimately. They then become our weapons of choice, to strike the hearts of the readers in such a way to really connect, deeply and convincingly. Having achieved that, we can tell what we will and have an attentive audience.

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