In my previous blog postings, I spend a lot of time, or at least a significant amount of time exploring the definitions of words. I say exploring because it truly is an adventure if you enjoy words as much as I do. If you haven't experienced this, or you're reading my blog for the first time, I define a word. I do this in real life all the time. I've realized that I'll say words and I don't even really know the real meaning. I'm not saying I'm uneducated, but nobody really spends their time making sure they know the exact definition of a word, word for word.
For example, I was having a bad day a couple of days ago and I couldn't figure out why. My frustration was coming from how much I had changed and how I acted around certain people. I am very quiet and not very outspoken. I'm extremely timid, which has not been the norm for me in my past relationships. I'm usually very comfortable, talkative and fun to be around. Lately I've been content to sit very quietly and go along with whatever. I'm also very quiet and unresponsive when I receive compliments. Part of this, I realized, is because my new relationship is, honestly, with an incredibly good looking guy. I realized I was intimidated.
When the word intimidated surfaced, I said to myself, 'Is that really how I feel? Am I honestly intimidated by the looks of this man?' Not to say that this is a bad thing, because he is just gorgeous, but was that really what I was feeling? Whenever my curiosity is peeked in this manner, and I'm not exactly sure if that precisely describes how I am feeling, I have a system to determine if I am using the correct word. When faced with uncertainty, turn to the dictionary.
Intimidate means to frighten or overawe someone. So again, I asked myself, 'Am I really frightened?' The answer was no, absolutely not frightened, but overawe was another word where I wasn't exactly sure what it meant.
Overawe means to impress someone so much they become silent or inhibited. Well, now that made a whole world of sense to me. I was definitely impressed by him, and as I thought about it, yes, I was often silent. I felt a little better after reading and putting together these definitions, but I still wasn't satisfied. I still wasn't quite convinced that there want more going on that was causing me to feel this way. There also was still a word in there that didn't quite make sense to me.
When I hear or read a word that I don't quite know what it means, I get a feeling. I instantly relate that word to a feeling, and what I felt when I read inhibited was rigid. So I looked up inhibited; meaning unable to react in a relaxed or natural way because of self-consciousness.
Let the revelations begin, folks!
I was, and am so full of admiration and respect for this man that I have become silent and am unable to react in a natural way because I am self-conscious.
'Who needs a shrink?!'
This definition, once broken down and put back together, was exactly how I was feeling! It perfectly described how I felt when I was around him. Now, don't get me wrong, these moments of inability to react due to self-consciousness are not frequent. It was just that day where I felt a little intimidated. Though, if I had stopped at defining my feelings at intimidated, if we look back, I was so unsatisfied and my situation was so unresolved.
It was incredible how much better I felt after putting all that together. Not only had I sorted out how I was feeling, but I had fed the side of me that enjoys doing that, enjoys sticking her nose in the dictionary and coming out with a better understanding, all around. I felt so much better, that I decided to define one last word, just for fun.
Again, I know what the word self-conscious means, but as I've said in previous blog posting, we only really commit the shorthand version of definitions to memory. We have so much information in our brains that we can't possibly hold anything more than a fraction of it all. So I know that being self-conscious means that I worry about how I look or sound, and I definitely am self-conscious. Imagine my surprise, my intrigue, when I read that self-conscious truly means to experience a feeling of undue awareness of oneself.
I am so full of admiration and respect that I have become silent and am unable to react in a natural way because I am too aware!
That is what we call nailing it right on the head. The undue awareness was what really made me feel better. It made me feel like I didn't need to be so hard on myself, because let's face it, when you're in a relationship with a good looking guy, you spend a lot of time worrying about how you look and what they think and so on and so forth. Just the understanding, a full understanding of how I was feeling made me feel so much better about the situation.
This process is more than me going around trying to absorb as much information as possible. It isn't about me wanting to know more than everyone else, or having the knowledge to correct someone when they use a word incorrectly. I say this because I do this in real life, not just when I'm writing. Someone will use a word to describe how they're feeling, and I'll say, 'Do you know what that word actually means?' Or I'll be having a heated discussion with someone, (usually my mom because she is a word junky as well,) arguing over the use of a word in a sentence and I'll ask the same question before looking up the word to settle the argument. Now while all of that sounds awfully arrogant, I really just enjoy it. I truly enjoy seeing the pattern, the connection between words. Plus it helps me feel better about whatever is bothering me.
The next time you use a word, a single word to define what you're feeling or experiencing, I want you to look up the definition. Even if there is a word within that definition that you are positive that you know what it means, look it up anyways. Make a list down a piece of paper, with the first word at the top and define as many words as you can in order. Then put all those broken down words into a sentence to explain how you're feeling. Instead of saying, 'I feel intimidated,' say 'I am so full of admiration and respect that I have become silent and am unable to react in a natural way because I am too aware!' Sure, it's much more wordy, but it gets the post across in a more understandable way. And it means so much more. Post your findings in the comment section. I would really enjoy reading through your feelings.
As always, thank you for reading. Happy Thirsty Thursday!