Trying to sum up the complexity of who we are in one word seems a bit ridiculous. Nevertheless, social media seems to be the breeding ground for ridiculous and one morning as I was drinking my coffee a post popped up on my feed, something along the lines of asking someone you know to define you in one word.
It struck a chord.
The whole one word phenomenon is not new. Many people start the year choosing one word to define the year ahead for them. There are even some people who believe one word can change your whole life.
I never really participated in the one word game. I seemed to always end the year with a clear word I could use to define it, but rarely started my year with one. But this post was something different entirely.
I don’t know why, but the idea of asking someone to define me in one word, sparked my curiosity. Maybe it stroked my ego more than it sparked my curiosity, but let’s go with curiosity for now. Immediately I began to think of singular words to describe myself: writer mother hard-worker
Yet they all seemed to be words to describe something I did. I wanted a word that described who I was. I drove to work that day with words popping like bubbles in my mind. Walked through the office door and asked my sister (who I work with on some days) what is one word you would use to describe me?
She hesitated and I almost got upset that she did. Finally she said ambitious.
By then I had chosen a word to describe myself. That word was generous. I felt quite happy with generous. Yet here I was being told I was ambitious. That was nothing like generous. They were not the same. Did it matter? Was one better than the other?
In the grand scheme of things it does not matter. We are complex human beings with no possibility of being described in one word, no matter how amazing or perfect that word could be.
What it does show however is our need to be loved, to be accepted and understood by the people we love and care about the most. Especially ourselves.
The word my sister chose mattered so much to me because she is my baseline. She is not my only baseline, but she is an important one. If she didn’t “get” me, understand where I was coming from or how I wanted to come across to the world, what hope did I have that anyone else would?
I could go on about the swings and roundabouts of perception and reality that the whole idea of this posts brings up. But this is a post not a thesis. So in the light of “research” for this post I asked four other important people in my life what word they would choose for me.
PJ’s godmother and long-time friend chose thoughtful. One of my dearest cousins also chose thoughtful. One of my dearest friends and confidants chose loyal. Small pieces of what they think. I wonder what word I would choose for them?
One words cannot define us, but they can give us an insight. Would our heart and our minds choose the same word? And if they didn’t what would that tell us?
My sister-in-law chose a very interesting word for me. Perhaps the only one that made me laugh. Not because of the word, but because it is not the first time someone has used this word to describe me.
Would you like to play along?
What is one word you would use to describe yourself?
Ask someone you love what word they would choose to describe you?
Come back and let me know in the comments xx