“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” –Lao Tzu
My dad passed away on February 11, 2013. For the longest time, I could not communicate verbally. I would hint about it, tearing tearing up halfway through the sentence. In fact, I often just let the other person put two and two together without having to say the words — my father died.
In my mind, I have always thought that voicing something made it true. Words spoken would make it fact. Something that can’t be fixed, altered or taken back.
My father’s death was one of them. There have been many examples. Breakups. Divorce. Job loss. I was afraid to talk about them. That once I have spoken about them, they will forever define me.
While there were areas I hesitated, there were others I was a bit to open about. I allow myself to make statements about what I can’t do, afraid to do or won’t. I find myself verbally declaring things like:
- “I’m so socially awkward.”
- “I hate small talk.”
- “I suck at math.”
- “I’m impatient.”
Am I discrediting myself? Locking it in as fact? Worse, am I creating an impression in other’s minds that can’t be altered? Taken back? Rewritten?
How does one rewrite their story?
Life isn’t lived with absolutes. We rarely “never” or “always” anything. Perhaps I should start by rephrasing what I see as negatives or limitations so they are more hurdles and not walls separating me from what I can become.
With my dad, I still have a hard time with the words. But saying them has given me a path towards healing. Perhaps voicing our thoughts just lays the groundwork for our development. Instead of stating and forgetting, use it as the launching point to alter our future. The chance to evaluate our path.
I can learn to enjoy small talk . . . I can.
There is a difference between feelings and fact. There is a difference between current history and what the future could hold. Saying something doesn’t have to become the end all be all on how we see ourselves. We have the power to change. We have the power to develop.
Use your voice to lift yourself up.