"In the beginning was the word..."
Updated: Jul 22, 2020
Have your parents ever told you the story of your first word?
I think my dad lay claim that my first was "papa" while my mum acts in all humbleness and insists my first word was "flower". At the end of the day though, regardless of what that exact word was, the first word we spoke was a word.
Back then there was a sacramental value put on a word, because finally, your child could communicate with words instead of tears. After all, isn't crying just a child's form of communication? (Wait, so why is it I still cry... well, that's beside the point I'll leave that for another post...)
Unfortunately though, as the years have gone by, words have slowly lost their sacred value (I think we all realised this when our mothers threatened to wash our mouths out with soap if we said another swear word). Today, you can be hard pressed to notice your thousandth word of the day. So where along the way did we lose the value in a word?
Most of the words we interact with are found in instagram captions, on text messages or between the pages of books - and that's to name only a few mediums. We use them everyday. Of the 170,000 words that are currently in use in the English language, 20,000-30,000 of those words are resting at the tip of your tongue every time you speak or the tips of your fingers every time you type - that is the average amount used by each individual.
It's safe to say mankind has much evolved from the one word dictionary we all had at the age of one.
You might say okay, but I need those thousands of words - without words I wouldn't be able to shout abuse at the TV when my team are losing, or ask the Barista to swap in almond milk for whole milk at the coffee shop. But this is just scratching the surface, words can do so much more. The reason why I love words is because they have the potential to create impact beyond their size.
If we see words just for their little size and abundance in life, we will miss out on an opportunity - an untapped POWER that resides in the essence of a word: this intrinsic nature of a word is it's abstract quality to reflect the individual's expressions and experiences, and act as a vehicle to communicate thoughts, feelings and emotions.
So, let's take the example of when I shout at the TV because my football team are losing - the words I use (and we won't specify which words these are) reflect my expressions and experiences. In these moments I have expressions of passion and my past experiences of going through far too much humiliation to loose again to this non-league side, are all packed into the words I use. As you can imagine when I am shouting these words my energy is off the charts, I am getting fired up and could probably smash the TV, but what good is this? I am screaming at a screen... what a waste of breath. But most importantly, what a waste of WORDS.
Those words could be put to better use - the passion, heart ache and energy they ignite could be put to better use. You could use those words to produce the inspiration, motivation and energy you desire in your life.
In other words, the essence of a word is it's hidden quality to reflect our expressions and experiences - our thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
To further understand the essence of a word - let's use a parallel with the essence of colours. Think of the colour red, then the colour blue. What comes to mind when you think of the two colours - not NC State and UNC, not Arsenal and Chelsea? Think of what you feel when you see red and blue? If you're anything like me, when I see red I feel heated and angry and blue makes me feel cool and relaxed. Rather than seeing the colour for what it is, I have seen the colour for it's essence - it's abstract qualities that induce these feelings.
Now use this same thought process for the words mountain and beach. How do they make you feel? Likely, without thinking, you will be able to quickly connect expressions and experiences and thus thoughts, feelings and emotions that relate to these singular words.
Why is this? It is because our brain has created a neurological connection between our expressions and experiences with the specific word. It has created the essence (we talked about earlier) of that word based on our own perception - in a sense, we have moulded that word to our own thoughts, feelings and emotions. How ego centric, right? Everything evolves around you...
You could say that, but you could also say... how powerful!
Let's break this down. So, when you see a word you have the choice to let it pass you by or you can imprint your expression and experiences onto it. This means acknowledging the word in the moment and your interaction with it. From there you can compact the thoughts, feelings and emotions you express and experience when we see the word. Which creates the chance for deja vu moments every time we see the word, because we have a distinct memory of it. So the more you see that word and strengthen those connections of thoughts, feelings and emotions with it, the more your brain will remember it.
That's why quotes are so powerful. Ever wondered why you feel a certain way when you hear M.L.K's "I have a dream..." quote? It's because your brain has connected your unique expression and experience to those words, and because we hear the quote so often - it has become heavily rooted in our brains, so that feeling is quickly accessible.
Imagine if we could find a quote (or we may already have one) and imprint an expression or experience onto it and always rely on it to feel the thoughts, feelings and emotions that we desire? If we were smart we could choose a quote that made us happy every time we read it's words and read it every time we were sad. I myself have a quote that makes me feel a desired way when I read it:
There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression.
This quote changed my life because I noticed that these words had power beyond just being words - they ignited an expression of empowerment when I read them, and I experienced an urge to write, this translated into feelings of joy and worthiness. The result was this blog. Without words like this I would never have had the courage to write the words you are reading today.
I live surrounded by quotes - this is my desk. I have quotes written by my father, my grandparents, but also from some from the greats like John Wooden and Antione de Saint-Exupery. When I read them they create the thoughts, feelings, emotions that I want to experience everyday.
When most people see a quote they like, they worship it - wear it on t-shirts and hang it on walls (like I have done) because they think it is cool, but then they stop there. They don't take notice of the power in the words. We must understand that even-though they are little, words can reflect our expressions and experiences and ignite the feelings we desire - this is a power for us. You can change your thoughts, feelings and emotions by using just some words.
You do not need much, just a pen and a piece of paper. Write down a quote you like or some words that resonate with you (if you need inspiration for quotes, email me - I have loads of great ones written down for people like you!!!) - when you read them think of your expressions and experiences of it and the thoughts, feelings and emotions it creates. If it creates feelings you desire - make this quote your go to when you want to feel more emotional power. Mould them to your life and acknowledge those words daily to enjoy the thoughts, feelings and emotions you desire in the blink of an eye.
Make words your (insert name here) little things.
Use every word like it is your first and this will only be the beginning.
Words are a not so little thing.