When I give my talk to women’s groups, one of ideas I end with is the importance of finding one’s voice in the world. (Of course, being of the blogging world, you already know the power that comes with declaring one’s voice :)).
It is not enough to speak out, though when using one’s voice. The key is to communicate effectively. Those who can communicate effectively are heard. Those who can not communicate effectively are not. It really is that simple.
It does not mean that those who can communicate more effectively have better ideas, it’s just the ideas have more power because of how they are conveyed.
One way we change the power of what we are communicating to ourselves and others is to become very, very honest and precise with the vocabulary we are using. This is one reason education can be such a valuable asset. It ups one’s vocabulary and in doing so increases the ability to communicate effectively.
When we do not choose our words precisely, we lose power. We say one thing, yet mean another. Or, we don’t say anything, when we meant to say everything.
I notice this in my own life. When I am finally brave enough and honest enough to give accurate words to situations, I am gifted with a sense of awakening power.
Years ago, I used to call myself “just a stepparent”. I would tell people I “stepparented” two children. (Is “stepparented” even a word? ). By using this vocabulary, although perhaps technically accurate, it did not convey AT ALL what I was actually doing and have been doing for years- RAISING two children.
That’s right. I RAISE these two children. I attend parent-teacher conferences, take the one child to high school orientation (neither parent could or would), arrive by 8 a.m. with one child at the school on “schedule change” day in order that she could get the schedule she wanted (yes, we did in fact arrive before the school counselors), complete book report projects, actually contact the teacher about stepson’s book selection, know where the children are at all times, discuss relationships, dating, give the “sex talk” and so on.
I don’t “stepparent”. That word implies some distance, as if it is child-parent- then stepparent. For some people, that may be the accurate display of their situation. That is not my situation, however.
So, I have changed my vocabulary and gotten more honest- I RAISE two children. All the time. And that has allowed me to understand why I am so busy, exhausted, joyous, strung-out, and laughing throughout my days. All the things that come with raising children.
And I think of some of other areas in which I have “hedged” my vocabulary and been less than honest. I act like being involved with narcissists is no big deal, when in fact it is. I should simply say to myself, “Being in situations with narcissists is exhausting and destabilizing. No wonder I need time to rest and take care of myself.”
Or my family of origin is split apart. IF I don’t have the vocabulary for this situation, I live in denial and act like it is no big deal, when in fact, it also places different demands and levels of awareness upon me.
So, I wonder about you- where are you being honest with your vocabulary and where are you down-playing or ignoring situations simply because the words you choose allow you to do so ? :)