The limits of my language means the limits of my world – Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosopher
I think I’m quite well-read … from Enid Blyton to Dr. Seuss (Theodore Seuss Giesel, in case you’re interested) and a little bit between.
Depending who you believe, there are more than 500 000 words in English. I was tested the other day … I only know a woeful 10 000. So much for my reading.
In light of the unexpected gift of panic attacks I’ve been dealing with over the last couple of months, it occurred to me that being unable to express myself properly has disempowered me from making sense (meaning) of my anxiety.
I just don’t have the range of words to become fully self-aware, connected and to heal.
When my therapist asks me how I feel, my range goes to sad, happy, angry and fucked. That’s the sum total of my expression. Ai tog, is that the best I have?
There’s a treasure trove of nuanced words that can help me navigate what I’m going through, deal with it and heal … if I have the courage to explore them.
What am I really saying when I’m sad, happy, angry and fucked? I’m limiting the range and depth of the issues that are holding me back.
I can pick hundreds of lucid words to express myself from the lexicon of language: shame, disappointment, disgust, eviscerating, bored, revolted, loathsome, rejected, abandoned, helpless, hopeless.
Let’s take the word, abandoned, which is a big theme for me right now in light of my soulmate and lover’s impending departure to Australia. But the truth be told, her leaving is not the issue at hand. The affliction of abandonment (dad, how could you leave me when I was a year old?) has always been hiding in the dark, dank and dangerous alleyways of my soul, just waiting for an opportunity to be seen and obscure my light.
What are the nuances of abandonment? Deserted, forsaken, ditched, rejected, discarded, cast aside, thrown away, ostracised, cast off, cast away, unwanted, neglected, forgotten, shunned, unheard, unseen, unimportant and godforsaken.
I’m sure there are more synonyms to express abandonment. One of the best resources for synonyms that is useful to me is WordHippo, it may be useful to you too.
You’re smart enough to get the picture, though. Dealing with your shit is is much more complexed, nuanced and meaning-making than just saying, sad, happy, angry and fucked.
I know three things:
- If you find exactly the right word/s and feeling/s and name them and bring them into the light from out of the shadows, it’s easier to deal with them. And, to let go of their grip on you so that you can heal.
- It takes courage to to go into the heart of darkness and into the crevices of your soul and claw these demons to the surface. It takes courage to let your light shine and share yourself with the world.
- It’s hard work. It’s courageous work. It’s worthwhile work.
Here’s the thing. What is seen cannot be unseen. Once you have seen it and named it, you have to take responsibility and be held accountable to deal with it. Nobody can save you, I promise you. Only you can save yourself. And that’s hard to come to grips with, isn’t it? Because we like to rationalise and blame others for our situation. But that’s just giving away our power isn’t it? That’s just letting others, and the past, puppeteer your strings so that we’ll never be in control of our own destinies.
As one of my spiritual mentors, Etsko Schuitema says, “You manufacture your world.” He’s right, of course.
If you’re going to manufacture something, make it a work of art, make it masterful, make it meaningful, make it a masterwork and make it a magnum opus. Make it you, you masterpiece.
I love you.
Let’s go and make a ruckus, you and I.
PS: The first piece of The Courage To Become Visible Workshop for solopreneurs on 9 April, deals with exactly that – Clarifying your Contribution … How do you become a Masterwork creating a masterpiece. You already are that, this will just help you recognise your magnificence and embrace it in its entirety. Once you do that and open your heart to the infinite possibilities waiting for you, things will change. That’s a promise. Check out the workshop here.