“We’re close,” said the text.
Jeff was making breakfast when he got the text from his friends.
But what did they mean by “close”? Close enough for Jeff to turn off the stove and wait outside? Or close but still time to sit down and eat his scrambled eggs?
If our daughter Jenna is coming over, “close” means she’s within 5 minutes of our house. For an out-of-town friend, “close” might mean they’re an hour away.
(And to another of Jeff’s friends, “close” means they’ve been sitting in our driveway for 10 minutes already.)
The meaning of our words makes a difference with each other.
It even matters for the words we use with ourselves.
I’ve been trying to monitor the words I tell myself. I’ve been collecting helpful mantras from books, friends, scripture, etc. (They might become my 28 Days blog series in February 2022?)
Here are a few I use often:
- Instead of “This catastrophe must be all my fault,” I’m replacing it with “I am human, not harmful.”
- Instead of “I lose my worth when someone doesn’t like me,” I’m replacing it with “Other’s inability to see my value does not detract from my worth.”
- Instead of “I can’t handle not knowing,” I’m replacing it with “I don’t like not knowing, but I can accept it for now.”
I like what Brené Brown says about language having the power to define our experiences, such as between anxiety and excitement:
“Anxiety and excitement feel the same, but how we interpret and label them can determine how we experience them.”
I need to watch my labels so I can alter my experiences.
And when I can do so authentically, I want to turn the negative talk into positive language.
It doesn’t always work. And it isn’t always even possible.
But when it is, I want to do it.
And when I can, I hope I do.
- How Do I Find My One Word? 3 Steps to Choose the Right Word
- We All Need This—Hope