Context Is Everything

Previous post – Freetrade diary #10 – October

Disclaimer – This has nothing to do with personal finance or FIRE

Context. Is. Everything .

How you say something. Where you say something. The time period you say that thing in changes its denoted meaning. Sometimes subtly. Sometimes entirely.

The deictic function of a word means nothing when taken out of context.

‘You’, ‘me’, ‘they’, ‘them’, ‘here’, ‘there’, ‘those’ etc. are all examples of deictic words that exist to put context to something someone is saying, but that mean nothing if we don’t already know who the ‘you’, ‘me’ or ‘them’ are.

In order to use these effectively, it’s presumed that the listener has the knowledge that ‘you’ is X and ‘they’ is Y. Any misunderstanding at this point turns the discourse completely on its head, sometimes with awkward consequences.

It’s why I get incredibly frustrated when the media and individuals take things out of context and use them to fit their own narrative or ideologies; crying blue murder or offence when the context that thing was said in was meant to convey something entirely different.

It’s important over this second lockdown period to take everything you experience in context.

Whether you’re struggling or thriving you can only do your best in the situation you’re given. Just because your mate or your neighbour appear to have it all together, this is not always the case.

You also have the right to feel positive. It sounds ridiculous, but when so many people are struggling sometimes it feels like you shouldn’t be so happy. It’s your context. If you’re happy, that’s ok. Some people may want you to share that happiness in order to help their own context.

Conversely, some people may feel like they have it a lot better than others and so don’t have ‘the right’ to complain. I genuinely heard someone say this on a YouTube video recently.

Yes you do have the right to feel down. Everyone does. Everyone’s life is different. No one person’s experience is better or worse than the other. Everything has to be taken in context with your own personal narrative.

Whether you’re a bajillionaire with 1,000 butlers or a homeless man on the street, we each have our own mental and physical battles that no one else could possibly understand because they aren’t you.

If you’re having a down day, week or month, but feel like you shouldn’t say something because you’ve kept your job, don’t have a mortgage, have a loving relationship…whatever…then talk about it to someone you trust.

It’s ok to not be ok.

These are difficult times, even more so when we have been given a taste of normally only for it to be taken away again.

If you’re struggling – whether you have a job or not; whether you have loads of money or none; whether you’re in contact with loads of friends and family or nobody…please take a look at the below professional and regulated organisations below to seek out the help you need and deserve:

Samaritan’s Helpline




The NHS A-Z of mental health organisations

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