I’ll be honest, I’m a complete word nerd. Words hold a great amount of power in our lives, more power than we give them credit for. The way we talk and the words we choose can shape our perspectives, alter our experiences, and even impact our mental health.
This is why for 2018, I have chosen instead of “resolutions” to have a couple of goals (for another post) and a list of words I will be using less and more in the upcoming year.
Words I will be using less in 2018:
I live in Vancouver, and for those who also live here or in a similar area, the cost of living has gotten stupid. Do you know Vancouver has the highest cost of living in the country and yet the lowest salaries? But I digress…
Last year I allowed the “state of things” to consume me. I couldn’t make it through a day without having at least one rant or emotional breakdown over how exp*nsive everything is getting.
Did this make me feel any better, though? Absolutely not. Did it help me make wiser choices about my money? Absolutely not. Did it solve any problems whatsoever? Absolutely not.
It also didn’t help me approach things from a posture of gratitude; instead, everything was coming from a place of lack.
I realized that anytime I used the word “expensive” my entire mental posture would change.
I’m walking down the grocery aisle and I pass by the yogurt. “Are you kidding me? Yogurt is THAT expensive now?” I shake my head in frustration, but that’s not where it stops. “I can’t believe the cost of groceries. Everything is getting more and more expensive. It doesn’t help that I can’t eat dairy, so I’m forced to pay a premium for dairy-free. Why is the Universe against me? All I want to do is make a difference in this world and here I am being forced to pay $** for yogurt. Why do I work in the nonprofit world, again? My life is so unsustainable I don’t even know what I’m doing or why I’m doing it.” *anxiety sees an opening and decides to march right in*
Do you see how that spiral went? How differently it would have played out if I hadn’t used the word exp*nsive.
I want to preface this by saying that “Fat” is inherently not a bad word. However, personally, I allowed it to become one in 2017. I’ll be honest, I have not been kind to my body lately and slowly I let the word f*t creep into my vocabulary as a hateful adjective rather than a neutral noun.
Whether it was calling myself f*t, referring to f*ttening food, or using it in other unproductive ways, the use of f*t in my vocabulary became something that I’m needing to put an end to.
This is not to say I will never use the word f*t again. I believe that f*t and I just need a break, a time to reset so I can re-integrate it back into my life in a more neutral way.
Bonus: a tip for breaking word habits
Breaking habits is not easy. If a word has snuck into your everyday vocabulary in a negative way, it’s not always as easy as putting it down on a “no” list.
One thing I have found helpful in the process is replacing it with a similar, yet an unrelated word. This works best if the word is something that makes you think of a positive thing, or makes you laugh. For example, as I try to limit my use of the word f*t, I have replaced it with the word “fluffy.” Fluffy makes me think of Zoey and Zoey makes me smile. So when I have a mind-slip and I am complaining about my body (because change takes time and no mind-transformation is perfect) calling myself “fluffy” instead of f*t tends to stop the thought pattern in its tracks and makes me either laugh or think about something else.
I haven’t come up with a “fluffy” for exp*nsive yet; comment below with your suggestions!
Words I will be using more in 2018:
For the last few years, I have allowed perfectionism, anxiety, and ambition to take the wheel and navigate me through life. This has left me saying yes for the wrong reasons, and also saying no for different, but also wrong reasons.
To state that I’m going to say “yes” more would be just as unbalanced as stating I will say “no” more, which is why I will be saying more of both.
This year I will not allow fear and anxiety to trigger my “no” reflex any more than I will allow perfectionism or ambition to push me into overcommitting myself.
“What if” ⁽ᴵ ᵏᶰᵒʷ, ᴵ’ᵐ ᶜʰᵉᵃᵗᶦᶰᵍ⁾
I lived a lot of my life with a closed mind. The social “box” I grew up in approached questioning or exploring as harmful and even wrong.
This year, I am committing to learning. I believe that part of learning is being open to the question “What if?”
“What if this is actually an opportunity?” “What if there is possibility here?” “What if there is more to this person?” “What if [belief] is right/wrong?” “What if I tried that?” “What if I am wrong?” “What if I can?”
I’m realizing you can’t learn any more from an unopened mind than you can an unopened book.