I’m very intentional with my word choice. I always have been. It must stem from being a terrible liar. Because of this, I tend to choose all my words very carefully. In the past year or so, however, I’ve had two poignant instances in which I realized choice of words was having a negative impact on my happiness. Let me explain…
Blog Posts & Client Projects
In the world of blogging, it’s easy to be perceived as many unbecoming things. Many people assume bloggers don’t work that hard (we just post photos after all) and they all have a lot of thoughts on that (however unfounded).
Having left academia to do this “blog thing,” I’m hyper-aware of that criticism. It even spills into a self-perception in how I talk. I have to write a blog post, take blog pictures… I don’t know it just doesn’t have that same polish and professionalism as my friends who take meetings, connect with directors, and all that jazz.
For the past few years, I’ve been listening to a friend of mine (also a blogger), talk about doing “client work.” I would always leave our coffee dates wondering why she had important “client projects” and I didn’t.
Then I realized, she and I were doing the EXACT SAME THING, she was just talking about it differently. Instead of sponsored blog posts, she had client projects. There is seriously no difference in what we were doing. It was all just a matter of semantics.
I don’t know that I’ve started talking about my client work, but I have stopped wondering why her work was more important than mine.
Formula & Milk
In this whole breastfeeding struggle, I had another instance of a word choice changing my mentality. Since we were feeding our little guy a combination of breastmilk and formula, we would obviously have to differentiate between the two at times.
I realized that I would talk about my breastmilk with happiness and enthusiasm. And then I’d say “formula” with disdain and disappointment.
In reality, it was all milk. So 2-3 months postpartum I switched from talking about breastmilk and formula to talking about milk for my baby. Though NOTHING HAD CHANGED, I immediately felt better about myself as a mom.
Stopping & Quitting
And on a related note, you’ll noticed that in my farewell to pumping post, I “stopped” pumping. I did not “quit.” So often we talk about moving on from something as quitting. There’s such an air of failure with that word – quitting. It’s as though you gave up, stopped short, and didn’t give your all to something. Obviously that isn’t always the case!
Word Choice & Happiness
It’s quite possible that neither of these instances relates to your life, but if you have a situation where you feel less than someone else when you know you’re doing the same thing. Or if you put yourself down because of something you’re doing one way over another, then think about your word choice and how it related to your happiness.
A few years ago, the epidemic of women saying “sorry” all the time came to the forefront of our cultural conversation. And that fits in exactly with this word choice conversation.
If you and another person hit the door at the same time or come around the corner simultaneously, it’s not anyone’s fault. No apologies needed. Instead of sorry, try “excuse me,” or just smile and acknowledge the situation!
Moral of the story… feed your kiddos milk, work on your client projects, stop doing things when it’s time, and get back to making the world a happier place (starting with you)!