Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Words matter

I am blessed with many oh-so-cool friends. One I am especially fond of is Amy. Amy is a mom of 4 kids, ages 6, 4, 2, and 3 months. She is wise beyond her years. And she somehow manages to stay sane and kind in a life that is by anyone's standards a bit ... hmmmmm ... well, let's just say that's a lot of little people to be caring for, even when they're awesome people you love!

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."

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.
Isn't Amy the best? Thanks Amy!

1 comment:

Lara Robinson said...

I love this. I love words a LOT, and I can really see how powerful they are in the messages we tell ourselves. Just today I was bemoaning my current state of affairs. After talking about it and putting words to the situation and using the words to convey how I WANTED to feel about it, I realized that I was more accurate about the possibilities that I have than the doubts that were creeping inward. "Tendency", and "sometimes" are very powerful words that should be used a LOT more. Thanks for the reminder Amy!