So last week Amy and I and some other friends got together for a book study. And we were talking about how you talk to yourself and if the words you use are important. We were contrasting the difference between "I'm so dramatic" vs "Sometimes I can be dramatic" or "I can be dramatic." After the book study, Amy wrote down some thoughts on the subject that really helped me. And she gave me permission to share her thoughts here!
I realized that, for me, even though I used them as examples tonight, using the words "tendency" or even "sometimes" connote a different meaning and I really like the freedom of "can" because the flip side of it is "can not" or I can be "something else."Isn't Amy the best? Thanks Amy!
For example, when I say "I am controlling" that is cut and dry and can keep me stuck in that along with the judgments of myself for that.
If I say "I have a tendency to be controlling" that still implies that this is my natural state of being and therefore it can be difficult for me to overcome that.
If I say, "I am controlling sometimes" even though I have qualified it by not all the time I am still saying "I am" something.
If I say "I can be controlling" then I feel the freedom to also say "I can not be controlling" or "I can be flexible."
This works for more positive things to, "I can be loving", "I can be compassionate", "I can be organized." I don't have to say "I am loving, compassionate, organized, etc" and then judge myself harshly for not being those things all the time.
Therefore, none of these words define me, I am not them, I just can "be" them. They are just part of who I can be at any given moment in any given situation. And when I say "I can be..." I feel like I have a choice about what that fill in the blank word is going to be and can take action about it.
I can also ask God to help me--to either remove something that I do that is a defect and does not serve me or others well, or help me to grow towards something I believe God wants me to be more often.