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Teen Talk

June 14, 2014

On the Go: Some words get a bad rap

A connotation is the tone and underlying suggestion attached to a word.  A connotation can help or hurt an idea. 

Certain words end up with a poor reputation. These words do not inherently represent a bad or unfortunate thing, though. Sometimes their definition is essential or at least harmless to us. 

Every behavior has flaws. But sometimes these flaws are actually blessings hidden underneath the shroud of a negative connotation.

“Denial” is one such word. 

It conjures images of a sulky person sleeping off the night before refusing to acknowledge he has a problem and might need help or another person missing an opportunity simply because the task seemed too daunting to attempt. In those cases, and certainly many more, denial is at a fault and has enabled pain and suffering. 

But denial can be a person’s saving grace, too. After a trauma, a victim may not be immediately able to cope with what has happened. Denial allows the person to survive without being attacked by his immediate reaction. Denial temporarily fends off pain or difficulty until one is ready to deal and cope with the issues. Denial is a distraction from or a refusal to acknowledge something that could put one’s self in mental, physical or emotional harm’s way.

“Judging” also suffers from this sort of negativity. 

A snobby city guy looks down at a corn field and thinks of the lowly laborers who sweat all day in the dirt under the hot sun while he sits in an air-conditioned plane from New York to Los Angeles, and he assumes they’re stupid and poor and worthless. This guy is definitely using judging in a negative way. He knows nothing about the people who work that land. It could be an educated, caring and beloved member of a family and community. 

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