Words are being added, modified and revised in dictionaries as language evolves and changes in keeping up with trends, fashion, social media, the food we eat and technology. Progress and change are important for growth and it is vital that we adapt and convert to new language especially in our professional life. A fundamental requirement for healthy growth involves loss or letting go and so I would like to share some thoughts and ideas about words that could be made extinct and others which we could replace in order to grow as healthy, loving people.
Wikipedia defines guilt as an emotional experience that occurs when a person believes that he or she has compromised his or her own standards of conduct or has violated a moral standard.
These standards were introduced to us by our family, teachers and society and we should consider if they are ones we truly want to own ourselves. We were born not knowing or understanding guilt or sin or shame or lacking compassion but these imposed emotions will destroy us like a disease. So often, my family and friends apologise profusely for not contacting me sooner and offering their explanations for the delay and it always saddens me that they are overcome by guilt. I know my family and friends love me and I know that I am in their thoughts and they will phone, write or visit when they can. I would prefer that they stopped wasting their energy on feeling guilty and focus their thoughts on how much they care about me – somehow I feel they would find time to be able to contact me as love is all empowering. Let us make a conscious effort to top teaching, practising and using the words that create guilt and shame; let’s remove them from our vocabulary completely.
Fear is rampant in our society and limits our minds and thoughts. Fear stops us. Fear is fueled by anger. Fear means lack of trust. Fear is the reason that we use the words foreigners and aliens. Foreign means something that we are not familiar with, something that is strange. It implies that something is odd, weird or peculiar or even funny – but humans are not foreign to each other; we all recognise another human; each of us has a head, arms, legs, torso, hair (well some of us); the human form is not a foreign object yet the word foreigner is formed from this adjective.
Alien is another word which means unfamiliar or unknown or something that is different. On so many occasions throughout my travels I have been called a foreigner which I find upsetting, even insulting. I would prefer to be referred to as a traveller, a visitor, a tourist, a friend, an Australian or just call me mate.
It is so easy to speak without thinking but if we take time and make the effort to focus on our words, we might realise that what we are saying is not true or affirming. Take the contestant on a quiz show who has been asked the question which has a prize of one million dollars – the contestant invariably comments “if I get this wrong, my partner will kill me”. That is just not true, you will not be killed; you might be unpopular for a while or your partner may be a bit disappointed. Stop the inane comments, think about what you are doing and concentrate on the question asked as the chances of answering it correctly will be greatly increased.
How often do you say “I hate my job” – hate is the most intense form of fear and destroys lives; it kills; it causes sickness and death. The truth of the matter is you don’t hate your job, but are afraid of change; afraid of failure; afraid to apply for a new position. Stop wasting time and energy on your fears and negative thoughts and begin to turn your life around; start using affirmations; be truthful about yourself and your skills; become positive and develop a clear focus; harvest this healthy energy and soon you will have secured a new job which will reward you with contentment and fulfilment.
Every day, we constantly verbalise I should . . . get up . . . exercise . . . start the diet … visit my family . . . and so much more. Guilt and fear are embedded in the word should – fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of ridicule and even fear of life. However, when the word should is easily replaced with the word CAN the focus is different as we realise we have the ability, the power, the right, the time, the desire to do and achieve everything we want to.
Salutations such as Dear, Mrs, Doctor, Professor, Captain are a tradition that has been used for centuries to show respect, hierarchy and affection. Such an achievement as obtaining a doctorate should be recognised but we also need to consider the relevance of salutations and the etiquette relating to them in the 21st century.
When reading the newspaper or watching the television, the caption might state that the article is by Rev John Smith, or Prof John Smith or Dr John Smith and immediately an opinion of that person is formed as the salutation categorises and defines the person by our orthodox thinking and upbringing. If the caption simply said John Smith and subsequently the article was of interest to me and I wanted to learn more about the contributor, I would research John Smith and trust that I was able to form my own opinion of him by what I had discovered myself, rather than what his salutation implied about him.
As a child, no one explained to me that the person I called Dr Jones was not a medical doctor but in fact a clergyman, a Doctor of Divinity. Another example of how salutations can lead to assumptions is when submitting an application for a job – if the applicant is called Kerry Brown and signs the letter of application with a salutation such as Mr or Ms, the recruitment team will be aware of the gender of the applicant. However, if the letter of application was simply from Kerry Brown, then there can be no bias and the application would be considered on its merits.
Higher education was never an option for me when I was growing up but that does not make me inferior or less of a person compared to someone who has achieved the highest level of academia. The student and the professor, the nurse and the doctor, the cadet and the lieutenant, in my eyes are equal; we are all individuals striving to do the best we can. I would hope that my marital status and gender is never a factor when opinions and truths about me as a person are being formed. Each of us will be remembered for our virtuous qualities, not our level of qualification, profession or family status. We will be remembered for how much we loved, not how much we feared. We will be remembered for our compassion and understanding, not how hate and fear destroyed us. It is so easy to choose love. We must strive to live our lives as we were all born – pure, knowing only love, not knowing shame, not knowing guilt, not having a need for comparison. Love is the opposite of fear – just choose love.