Corporate logos probably offer some of the best examples of symbols. The McDonald’s golden arches, for example, and Nike’s Swoosh. Newcomers include the Energizer bunny and the Aflac duck. Older examples include the Star of David and the Nazi swastika. One of the oldest symbols is the cross.
The meaning of a symbol, of course, is based on perceptions that vary among those who observe it. McDonald’s golden arches offer a case in point. For some people, they symbolize relatively inexpensive food, fast service, consistency, and clean restrooms; for others, “junk” food that is a major contributor to obesity and related health problems.
Each person is a symbol and, as with corporate logos, meaning is in the eye of the beholder. Until they died, my aunts and uncles called me “Bobby” whereas to my grandchildren, I am an elder.
Here’s a question to ponder. If those who know you best were asked, what would be the words most frequently used to describe you?
Are they the same words you would associate with yourself?