Finding meaning in words
I find a lot of solace and constance in words and the English language. It’s something I’ve always loved, and English was always my favourite subject at school, so much so that I’m studying it at university.
I find it so liberating that we have the power to express ourselves in any way we like using millions of different variations of the same 26 letters. To me, that is amazing. I frequently hoard quotes that I read in books where I think ‘wow, I relate to that so much’, or ‘I can write a blog post about that!’, and I’m constantly blown away by the fact that marks on a page can be read and have such a powerful impact on someone.
‘I am me because I choose to be me.’ – Tricia Levenseller
I found this particular quote in a fiction book about pirates, and it really resonated with me. The fact that a book about pirates and sirens could have such a true and beautiful quote surrounding authenticity is what I love so much about writing. You truly can convey any message you want in any way you want, whether it’s outright or hidden within stories. Words are so important to me because I have the power to use them in any way I want, and the same words can be written a thousand times over in a thousand different ways in order to convey a thousand different things.
I have always loved words. I’ve adored reading and writing since I was little, and my appreciation of words has grown alongside me. When first reading Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree stories with my mum as a child, I was enveloped in the magical world that the words created, and now writing these blog posts, I find myself equally as in love with the ability that words give me to portray a feeling or an experience that I know other people will relate to or be able to find support in.
Self-expression with self-compassion
In the instances of the posts I write, it’s intrinsically important that I am genuine, as it wouldn’t work if I was pretending to be something I’m not. I do sometimes worry about what I expose about myself to others in my posts, but I know that the power behind my words really does come from my authenticity. In order to find that authenticity, and to quell the part of me that wants to appear to be something I’m not in order to fit in, I’m learning that it’s largely about compassion. I need to show myself compassion and give myself room to learn and grow, rather than judging myself too harshly with what I assume others will think about me.
‘You have to try. You have to take your chances. Go and attempt and see what happens. And even if you fail- especially if you fail- come back with your experience and your hard-won knowledge and a story you can tell. And then later you can say without regret or hesitation…’Once, I dared to dare greatly.’’ – Morgan Matson
I recently attended Quiet Connections’ Quietening Your Inner Critic workshop, and it really gave me a lot to think about in terms of how I treat myself and how I can work on being kinder to myself. I often give up on writing ideas because I end up telling myself that it’ll be a waste of time as it won’t work and people won’t read it, but I’ve been trying out a new thing lately where, even if I think this, I write the thing anyway. Some have gone as badly as expected, but others have actually gone really well, and I would never have known had I listened to the part of myself that would rather miss out than risk being judged.
I’m coming around to the idea that getting things wrong and failing isn’t always the important part of experiences. If I fail at something, I know exactly what not to do the next time, and so even though I didn’t succeed immediately, I’ve learnt something. There’s a part of me that frequently wants to back out of things to prevent the possibility of not being perfect first try, but I’m working on not listening to that part of me, and doing things because I want to do them regardless of what people will think if I’m not instantly perfect.
Quietening the inner critic
At the end of the workshop we were given a plain box, with the task of taking it home and decorating it however we wanted, letting our creativity flow to express ourselves regardless of what our inner critic might think about it. I adore creativity and art, so was quite excited at the prospect of decorating it however I wanted, and I realised exactly how I could decorate it to express myself and who I am. Words. I collaged it completely in dictionary paper, pages from old books (that I exclusively use for arts and crafts- don’t worry, I didn’t destroy any actual books!), and pages from newspapers.
Every single time I do something, say something, or think something that I feel is challenging my inner critic, and exemplifies me showing myself compassion and working towards being my authentic self, I write it down and I put it in the box. For example, writing a blog post that I had previously told myself would be stupid (I ended up absolutely loving the direction it took and it’s one of my favourite things I’ve written for Quiet Connections!); attending a digital managing skills course on my own in Falmouth (I was vaguely terrified, but ended up getting so much out of it and would have regretted it so much had I not gone); even just giving myself permission to feel worried about things, not making myself feel bad for feeling something that lots of people feel. Risking what other people might think in order to do things that I want to do.
It’s not easy, but that’s what the box is for: allowing myself to focus on and feel proud of my achievements and progressions, no matter how small (you can check out a post surrounding this right here!). See how I’ve used words to express myself here? To me, this is so invigorating. By writing all this down, it has reminded me how I can continue to work on myself, help myself to grow and become more comfortable with sharing my thoughts like this. I love the fact I can write all this down, and I really am coming to terms with making myself so vulnerable to anyone who might be reading this. How are you working on showing yourself more compassion to be you? I’d love to hear in the comments below!