Have you ever looked up the definition of the words you use repeatedly? This year I began studying the etymology (aka origin) of some of my favourite words. The meaning of words can change over time so I think it’s important to really understand how the word was originally used so you can be aware of the energy you are creating when you speak the word.
The best example that I have is the word PASSION. It’s been my favourite word for years, as I love people who are passionate about their lives. It makes me smile when the passion shines through their face and in their voice and in the gifts they share with the world. Recently someone commented about the ‘passion-burnout’ cycle and how they’ve removed the word from their vocabulary. Out of curiousity, I looked it up.
Here are the original meanings as quoted from EtymologyOnline.com: late 12c., “sufferings of Christ on the Cross,” from Old French passion “Christ’s passion, physical suffering” (10c.), from Late Latin passionem (nominative passio) “suffering, enduring,” from past participle stem of Latin pati “to suffer, endure,” possibly from PIE root *pe(i)- “to hurt” (cognates: Sanskrit pijati “reviles, scorns,” Greek pema “suffering, misery, woe,” Old English feond “enemy, devil,” Gothic faian “to blame”).
Sense extended to sufferings of martyrs, and suffering generally, by early 13c.; meaning “strong emotion, desire” is attested from late 14c., from Late Latin use of passio to render Greek pathos. Replaced Old English þolung (used in glosses to render Latin passio), literally “suffering,” from þolian (v.) “to endure.”
WHOA!! And I have been saying how passionate I am about some things and how much I love seeing passion in others. Words have power. Our voice, our breath, our intention adds even more power to them. After learning about the original meaning, I’ve been choosing new words for the things I love!
One way to choose language that supports you and others is to be conscious of what you say after the words I AM. Those words can shape who you are and who you are becoming. Choose language that is expansive and without limits and full of confidence and see what changes in your life.
Other words to be cautious of include: try, should, and want.
Instead of trying, you can choose to do something or to not do it and if you choose it, commit to it and demand it of yourself.
The word should can make us feel guilty about something we aren’t doing or are doing. Again, use words that show you have a real choice. Or focus on the outcome to help you choose. Instead of saying “I should put away the laundry” you can say to yourself “I love it when all my clothes are clean and put away neatly because my room feels uncluttered and tidy.” The way you feel when it is done can be used for encouragement until what you ‘should’ do is your new normal.
The word want surprised me too when I learned of it’s etymology. It used to mean lack. So if you are wanting something, it means you are lacking it. That wanting will continue when you use language that contains the energy of lack.
What words do you use often in your life that may be limiting you? Pay attention to your words and create something new and magical in your life. Would you like to choose that?