Defined by Adjectives?

Have you ever met someone who keeps telling you how you’re this or that? Or kept hearing that you’re this or that?

Sometimes the words are good words: confident, smart, generous, kind, intelligent, pretty, understanding. Other times they aren’t.

So often though, I think that these words start to feel like a trap. Is that all I am? Am I only [adjective]?

Let’s face it. While being smart is super helpful and impressive, if that’s all people think when they think of you, you might start to feel like just a brain. While being pretty is satisfying in some sense, if you continually hear that about yourself, it might make you wonder if your just a pretty face to others.

Adjectives can be wonderful. They help us understand things and describe things to others, but sometimes we need to be careful with them. Sometimes we use bad adjectives to downgrade someone, to define them by things we dislike about them.

Words are powerful and we should use them for good. So get rid of those dirty adjectives and choose ones that you’d want to be applied to yourself.

Now you might be wondering about my comments about the positive adjectives. What’s up with that? We’re building people up, right? Yes. They’re good adjectives and you should continue using them, but I’d like to add that you should try to connect with those you’re describing.

No one wants to feel that a person only wants to get to know them enough to obtain an adjective to describe them. Strive to understand more than adjectives about people. She’s pretty/smart/kind, yes, but what is her favorite book? What are her hobbies? What makes her smile? Of course, this is a two sided process and I realize that. So I’ll address the other side.

Don’t let yourself be define by adjectives.

Now I don’t mean stomp away with a flip of the hair. I mean this: let people get to know you for you. If you’re defined by a certain adjective, let’s say smart, let people get to know you’re comedic side. Let them get to know that you really like playing the piano because it is a struggle. Whatever it might be, just let them know. You have more to offer than adjectives and you know it. That’s why you feel upset when adjectives seem to be the only thing you hear describing you.

Let’s take advantage of our words more than only to praise. Let’s truly reach out and try to understand the workings of another’s heart. We have the opportunity to impact another’s life. Let’s not waste that opportunity.

Carpe veritatem!

Therese May Signature