I do not think it means what you think it means.

What a great line. Have you ever quoted this line to someone?

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." – Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride

With three kids, I get to quote it often. As they grow their vocabulary, sometimes they get the words and definitions mixed up.

Picture of a dictionary open to the word dictionary
How we define things is how we process them. Make sure you get the definition correct before you take action.

In this article though, I want to use it as an anchor for helping you maintain a healthy mindset. You see, we often experience situations and then completely miss on the real meaning behind them.

Have you ever had a spouse who's emotional outburst caused you to feel unloved? It may be because you interpret the eruption or action as a sign they don't care about you.

But what if the cause of the raised voiced is frustration from another source like a project at work that has gone wrong, or fear surrounding a situation unknown to you?

Is it possible the outburst has nothing to do with you at all? Is it possible that they don't have the words to express how they feel, so it comes out as angry or hurtful? How often do we misread other people's actions and give it a negative definition?

Over the past 20 years of marriage, I have often misinterpreted my wife's words or actions, allowing it to lead to emotional disasters. Until hours, days, or weeks later, the true meaning behind her reactions come to lite. Then I feel like an idiot for letting the incident negatively impact me.

Kimbra and Dave Quinn selfie in the Verizon store.
Even after 20 years Kimbra and I still misinterpret each other's words and actions. Give yourself some slack and commit to just getting better everyday.

We must be diligent in evaluating our definitions. To maintain a healthy positive outlook, it is crucial that we ask better questions and seek the real purpose behind others' actions. If we are not careful, we can create a compelling negative stories that leads us down a path to a dark and lonely emotional state.

So the next time you get an unexpected negative response from a spouse, child, friend, or colleague stop and ask yourself what possible reasons could they have for their response. Allow them to explain how they are feeling. Maybe they are just not able to convey the real emotion driving their behavior.

Dave Quinn, CEcD is Chief Inspiration Officer for DaveQuinn247.com and President of City Services for Day One Experts, an economic development consulting firm specializing in economic development consulting to companies, communities, and organizations. If you'd like to set up a time to visit with Dave about possible speaking engagements or to find out more about becoming a member of the Day One family click here to set up a 30-minute discovery call.

Dave is a passionate keynote speaker and coach, encouraging others to be a positive influence in the world around them. As an economic development mastermind, wellness advocate and vision caster, he loves inspiring others through talks on Leadership, Wellness, Economic Development, and Personal Responsibility. Connect with him in the social media world: TwitterInstagram, and others @DaveQuinn247.