Relentless. The word most used by my family to describe me. And up until about a week ago, I thought it was a bad thing. Then I realized I actually need to thank my family for giving me that descriptor. It’s actually the very best thing about me.
So, maybe those words that have become associated with us aren’t a part of us at all or maybe they are something that is thought of as negative but is actually quite positive.
How do I sort that out and how can you?
1) I sit down with a piece of paper. I start writing about relentlessness, or whatever it is people describe me as and think about every facet of the word. (The definition, my associations, society’s ideas)
2) I write about how the word makes me feel and if it’s something that rings true for me when I think about it. (I know it rings true when I get that tingly feeling in my heart)
3) I write and write and write until I get to a place where I discover what these words mean to me, not anyone else.
4) I do not judge my ideas about these words or what is positive or negative. What I am writing is not a manifesto to submit to Oxford’s English Dictionary on how to redefine a word, it is not for anyone else but me.
Here is what this looks like in action:
I’m relentless, right? Which I used to think of as a really annoying way to be. I took out my journal and I started writing and I wrote all of the ways in which being relentless has brought me closer to my goals or has helped me achieve them. All of how relentlessness has made me a fierce believer. How relentlessness has ultimately brought me joy, laughter, thoughtfulness, drive and so much more. All I had to do was write about it for a while. This works with any word someone else has ascribed to me that didn’t feel good initially.
Relentlessness was a pretty easy one, but then I came across a word I really didn’t want. A word that I didn’t believe there is any positive to.
Clingy. Ugh. Ew. Get that thing away from me.
That stupid word has followed me around my whole life like an annoying shadow. When I thought about that word, I knew it was time to get out that journal again.
I got quiet.
I asked myself if being clingy is something that really rings true at my core—is it me? Am I clingy?
Okay, yes, I am. But what is clingy really? It’s loving deeply and expressing that affection often. It’s also sometimes annoying the hell out of people worrying if they still love me.
So, I write about the wonderful parts of clingy. My deep love. My fervor for people to understand how much I adore them.
Wait a second, that sounds pretty amazing. I think I actually might like being clingy.
I let the rest of it go. The downside of being clingy is the expectation of what I want from other people, which I have no control of. I write about that, too. I write and think and talk until I get to a place where I believe that maybe it is time to let that go and embrace the lovely part.
I write about it some more. (You can paint about it, sing about it, talk it out with a friend, any way you want to.) I write and sit and think until I have pulled it out of myself until just the part I want of it is remains. And then I thank every person that has ever had the courtesy to call me clingy because it is such a beautiful word.
Sometimes I want the whole damn word and everything associated with it.
Sometimes, not. I get to pick what I take with me.
I put it down on paper—my judgment-free zone.
I get to choose who I am. No one else. No one else gets to tell me with these words who I am. It is up for me to decide and act on.
How do you find what words you do identify with? You simply ask yourself: Is that how I define myself? Yes? No? Does it matter? Maybe not. Let go of self-judgment. And move on.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” –Eleanor Roosevelt
Happy Friday friends, I hope you have a second to find a word, whatever it is and write about it and decide for yourself whether it is what you want or not. I struggle with what other people think of me and I have found this insanely helpful when it comes to letting go of other peoples’ opinions and I hope it brings some peace to you, too. Love you oodles. XOXOX, your clingy little pal who is super proud of it, CAMDW.