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V is for Verbalization


We may assume that speaking a language enables us to express our emotions and that others will fully understand. However, this isn't always the case.


Communication, both with others and ourselves, is a delicate dance, and at times, steps are missed. Limited emotional vocabulary or the absence of a specific word can hinder our ability to express ourselves fully. If the person we're communicating with also lacks the vocabulary, it becomes even more challenging to be truly understood, let alone the ability to actively listen. Even when both parties know a word, it doesn't guarantee mutual understanding.


Consider the word "love." When uttered, the listener's brain conjures memories linked to love, which can vary from feelings of contentment to suspicion. Words are symbols we exchange, and true understanding is hindered by our distinct associations with these symbols or the lack of them. Hence, it can be argued that the broader our emotional vocabulary and the more languages we speak, the greater the accuracy in conveying our feelings.


However, the absence of a specific word doesn't mean the absence of an experience. Take the Spanish word "sobremesa," translating to "upon the table" in English, which doesn't capture its essence. It refers to the time spent lingering at the table after a meal, engaging in conversation, and enjoying each other's company. English speakers may have felt "sobremesa" without having the word for it. Knowing such nuanced terms enables more accurate expression and fosters deeper connections.


Having the skill of verbalization, to name and express yourself more precisely, aids not only in communication, in heightened self-awareness and in regulating emotions. It also gives us the opportunity to fulfill a deep human craving —to be heard and seen.



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