Words…I’ve been thinking a lot about them recently. The different ways they can be used, and abused, by me and others. How powerful they can be – positively and negatively. How power, meaning, and intent can all but disappear with overuse and lack of follow through. Words are extremely important to me. I’ve realized that many of my current struggles are related to words and what they represent to me.
I have an extremely high grade filter. When a string of words come out of my mouth, they mean something. They have been analyzed, processed, and crafted. Very rarely does something just ‘slip out’. Don’t get me wrong – I understand that some people are verbal processors, and there is nothing wrong with that. It’s just not me. And as much as I understand the need to verbally process; eventually, one has to find the words that actually have meaning and reflect the actions and choices you make. It is important to me that my actions reflect my words. I can’t say that I always hit the mark, but it’s highly important to me. If I say I am going to do something, I will do everything in my power to make that happen – even when it means putting my own needs at the bottom of the list. It is a strength and a weakness. Though I fully understand that most people are not wired the way I am, I’m finding it difficult to reconcile the words I hear with what I see and experience. I hear that there are people who care about me – people who are there for me – and that I have everything I need to continue moving forward. But what I’ve experienced is loneliness and isolation. When I’ve asked for help or expressed my needs and struggles, I’ve only heard what I’m doing wrong and what I need to do to help myself. Being fairly self aware, I have a really good idea of what I need to do internally. But God created us for relationship. There are things I can’t do myself – and things that don’t matter if there is no one there to share them with. At some point, I need to see something practical – a step taken toward me – instead of hearing the message that I’m not good enough for anyone to help or support me.
Words are also a struggle right now in the area of labels. I’m finding that people are making assumptions, judgments and misinterpretations about who I am. Labels are being placed on me that are at best, incomplete, and at worst, wildly inaccurate. I’ve heard so many people tell me that I’m difficult to get to know. I, by no means, disagree with that statement. But the same people who say that have really made no effort to get to know me. I’ve heard people say that I’m quiet and there’s no expectation of me opening up. But those same people have always expected me to communicate in the same way they do and be comfortable in the same settings they are. None of them have made an effort to take a step toward me – to understand my comfort zones, to ask me questions, to dig just a little deeper. Quiet is not a word I would ever use to describe myself. I’m an introvert. I’m reserved. I am a thinker. None of these equate to the common connotation of ‘quiet’. But I feel trapped by that label(and others) because I’m not being given opportunities to break through them.
Communication was not modeled at all when I was growing up. Expressing thoughts and emotions was not modeled in a healthy way. I am fully aware of my shortcomings in those areas. But I’m realizing that outside of one person in my life, I have no one modeling those things for me now, and no one encouraging my development in those areas. I’ve been told that I don’t ask many questions. I’ve been told that I need to ask for help and express my needs more often. Both are things I’ve been working on for years. Here are the walls I’ve run into. When I have asked for help, I’ve found no one there. Something is always more important or someone decides that what I think I need isn’t really what I need. When I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone to initiate setting up what I need – invite people to participate in supporting me – no one shows up. And instead of being encouraged for at least making an effort to step outside my comfort zone, I’m told that I’m not doing enough. This makes me all the more gun shy to ask the next time. And how do I continue pushing myself to ask questions, when that isn’t being modeled for me? No one is asking me anything – just assuming and labeling. I am not the same person I was two years ago. But, honestly, that means nothing because there are so few people in my life who can actually recognize that in detail.
Words…they’ve lost a lot of power and meaning for me lately. And that makes me feel lost.