"No, that's not what I meant."
"Maybe I should have clarified by what I mean by "positive" and "negative." "Hopefully the explanation below sheds a little light on what I meant."
Heidi, all of us face the exact same communication challenge on a daily basis, at work, at home, and in any and all situations where we struggle to understand what others mean by what they say, do, write, etc., on the first pass. For example, professors, project managers, governmental representatives, etc., struggle with assuring that the message they believe they sent was interpreted EXACTLY as they meant it, the first time, every time.
In my professional and personal life this interpretive challenge has been a bit easier since I learned about the "Ladder of Abstraction" back in Houston, Texas, ~1982~
My employer's executives wanted all of their staff to become competent communicators.
I look forward to the feedback from your "Discussions" followers.
Abstractions are ideas that are not described in specifics. They cannot be physically sensed (seen, heard, felt, touched, or smelled). Abstraction lacks representational qualities. Abstract descriptions are in contrast to concrete descriptions.
The Ladder of Inference describes the thinking process that we go through, usually without realizing it, to get from a fact to a decision or action. The thinking stages can be seen as rungs on a ladder and are shown in figure 1,
From Argyris, C., 'Overcoming Organizational Defenses: Facilitating Organizational Learning,' 1st Edition, © 1990. Printed electronically and reproduced by permission of Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. and Sons, Inc.
 "Language in Thought and Action," – See attachment.