Choice of words can really make a difference! Reflections of B&B owners in Boquete

Blog by Terry Richmeier & Manzar Lari

Recently at Casa de Montaña we put out a flier that was about a “back terrace sale” The intent was to sell off stuff that we purchased and brought down from the U.S. when we moved here. We had not used this stuff in over a year and a half since we opened for business. In the flier we tried to create a sense of urgency to come to the sale early and included the following statement “Everything must go!”

Back Patio Sale 1

That particular statement was received by many as an indication that we were closing up shop, selling off everything at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast and were moving out of town!!!

The “Bochinche” (gossip) around town spread like wildfire! People shared their concern by either emailing or calling us directly. This told us how others viewed us as an integral part of this community and made us feel all “warm and fuzzy” and made us realize that we are truly “home” in Boquete, Panama!

A different time that comes to my (Terry’s) mind is when I was trying to give a compliment about how wonderful our dinner was, when we were invited to a friend’s house, was received and interpreted incorrectly. What was said was this, “I think I’ve gained 5 pounds during this meal” What was meant was “Wow, what a delicious dinner”, what was Interpreted was: My food that I worked so hard on is so fattening. Totally different message!

This and other situations around choosing carefully one’s words invoked in me several thoughts around this subject. Should I be more careful and concise regarding the words I choose to say or write? Will what is said and meant always be up for interpretation from the receiver? And how often when we say something we offend them or they offend us? Is this something that comes from lack of confidence?

As I sat there meditating on this, I realized that improvements can be made on all sides. I thought about why this happens and how we talk to others. Does “Bochinche” happen because we want to share our feelings and thoughts around the topic? Do we want to have acknowledgment that we are on the right track with our thoughts? Do we want validation of our own feeling as well? Or do we just have too much time on our hands and not much going on in our own lives?

So often times, we receive something incorrectly. Whether from our other people or even our spouses and this makes us feel lousy about what was said. Is this something that can be changed? Is this something that should be changed? Is this our direct intuition that tells us to receive this information the way we do and it is correct? Or is it our pride? Or our decisive knowledge about that person we just received a message from? How many times is there an undertone from people telling us something? And sometimes, we just really heard it incorrectly!


One thing that we looked at is that most people are not coming from a place of ill will or ill intent and just trying to start some gossip. It’s just their perception. Look at the following definition of perception:
Source: Boundless. “Introducing the Perception Process.” Boundless Psychology.

Perception is the set of unconscious processes we undergo to make sense of the stimuli and sensations we encounter.

Key Points:

  • Perception refers to the set of processes we use to make sense of the different stimuli we’re presented with. Our perceptions are based on how we interpret different sensations.
  • The perceptual process begins with receiving stimuli from the environment and ends with our interpretation of those stimuli. This process is typically unconscious and happens hundreds of thousands of times a day.
  • When we attend to or select one specific thing in our environment, it becomes the attended stimulus.
  • Organization of stimuli happens by way of neural processes; this starts with our sensory receptors (touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing), and is transmitted to our brains, where we organize the information we receive.
  • After we receive and organize stimuli, we can interpret those stimuli, which simply means that we take the information and turn it into something that we can categorize.

This is one reason why here at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast we feel that attending the “Get Out of Your Own Way” 1.5 day workshop would be a good choice for accepting the stimuli and information that one senses on face value and without judgment. Good way to reduce stress, anxiety and depression and truly live in the present and enjoy each moment.

If that is not going to work out for you at this time, or you are planning a visit to Boquete, Panama, also know that Manzar Lari (Owner of Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast) is a Counselor and a Life Coach and offers a free half hour session. You can meet with him and begin to “Get Out of Your Own Way”!

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