The power of words has no limits. The words we say to ourselves, the words you say to other people, they have value, meaning, and hold so much power. You can destroy someone by using certain words, as you can lift them up. It’s your call whether or not you decide to be a good person or an asshole.
We’ve all heard words about ourselves that stuck with us. Qualities and flaws we attributed to ourselves, and sometimes these words leave a mark on us. I remember once I was eleven, maybe twelve, and I didn’t wanna do chores around the house. I didn’t have school or something and I just wanted to keep watching Disney channel, as a pre teen usually wants. So my mom called me lazy, because I spent that time off waking up late and watching tv. That word stuck with me, because I sorta believed it. Not wanting to do vigorous work like cleaning and rather choosing to sprawl in the couch, that must be who I am, someone who’s lazy. And it didn’t bother me that much, it’s just something that I was, just like I was nice and generous. We all have qualities and flaws after all. We can’t be perfect.
While that’s true, these words you hear about yourself, shape your conception of who you are. She was the one who called me that, yet I kept the word around, inside my head, and began saying it about myself to other people. I labeled myself with it, and I believed it whenever I didn’t wanna do something, I figured it was because of my laziness. It didn’t strike me that I just didn’t have interest in the activity at hand. It became part of who I was.
I’ve grown up and I didn’t pay much attention to it anymore, but last year during my wedding organization, I was also decorating my house, and I’m very driven when I’m passionate about something. It’s all I do, it’s all I think about. I was waking up very early every morning going shopping and meeting with every person working at my place, because I wanted it to be done as soon as possible. My husband and my mom even threatened to take my car keys away from me because I needed to rest, I was very tired but I was filled with energy so I got restless. I wouldn’t stop until I was done. And you know how it goes when you’re a bride to be, people want you to chill and be pampered but that’s the opposite of what I wanted to do.
Anyway we were all having tea some afternoon and we were talking about ourselves, and I just said offhandedly « well you know me, I’m kinda lazy ». So my husband looked at me completely puzzled and said « no you’re not », and my mom asked me where I got that from. It was very anti climatic because I didn’t realize it at the time, I didn’t even remember it, that she was the one who told me that one time when I was a kid. And that’s a word that stuck with me and that I used to personally define myself.
Instead of thinking that I was just uninterested in some things, I used a word to define myself that had a negative connotation. And boy do I wish it was only that one word (I wanted to keep it soft today so I chose one that wasn’t that bad). But word after word, fleeting thoughts that become reality once someone say them to your face, all of this serve to define you, by you. Because someone may call you something during one angry moment – or maybe for a couple of years, and that’s abuse in this case – but you carry it around as long as you live. Unless you stop and decide to do something about it.
Unless you decide to change your story, to say I’m a blank canvas and I’m going to decide, right this second, what I want to be. And just take a pen, grab a paper, and write down words that you want to define yourself. I’m brave, I’m fearless (even tho you don’t believe you are), I’m generous, I’m helpful, I’m successful, I’m a fun person. Anything you want. Whatever those words may be, use them, ask your loved ones what are the words that they wanna hear about themselves, say them. Use them offhandedly or when you’re looking right at them. Say them as much as possible, as often as you want, until you start to become those words. Spread positivity around you, change the vicious cycle into a virtuous one, and believe that you can change your narrative.