A quick English lesson. Every word has two definitions, denotation, and connotation. Denotation is the definition of a word found in the dictionary. The connotation is our emotional response to a word. Sometimes the connotation of a word is so powerful it becomes the real definition of the word for us in our lives. Sometimes for better, but many times, for the worse. As a teacher, I have heard that school is a prison. Some students allow that connotation to affect their feelings about, and therefore their experience of, life at school.
Today I will challenge the denotation (real definition) of words to enhance the connotation (emotional definition) of the word. This will, in turn, I hope, enhance the experience of your every-day life. The dictionary definitions come from the first entry listed at Merriam-Webster.com
Dictionary Definition: strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties
A Truer Definition: Love is a choice to live with your heart open, no matter the pain and disappointments you may encounter.
Dictionary Definition: the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires
A Truer Definition: Joy is the choice to see the beauty in the world, no matter the hate and rejection you may experience
Dictionary Definition: a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head
A Truer Definition: Family is the choice to let a person know your true self, whether they are family by blood or friendship.
Dictionary Definition: the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a dead body
A Truer Definition: Life is the accumulation of our choices.
Every word has a denotation and a connotation. The depth of our lives is the collection of the words we live by. That is the special power words have.
Change the definition of the words that build your life and you change your life.
Jamey Boelhower is a husband and a father of six, TIS, coach, ED Blogger, Author, Graphite Educator, Speaker, and an Instructional Coach for Central Community College, Nebraska. You can read his thoughts on life at his regular blog “It Is All Connected.” You can follow him on Twitter at @jdog90