First Four Words

Sunday, August 31, 2014

First Four Words
Transforming the way we define ourselves.

I came across this image on Pinterest about a year ago.

The description said that the first four words you see define who you are. My first four were sweet, happy, love, and naive. I thought the first three were pretty accurate, but the last one bothered me. Naive? The word immediately brings to mind the worst relationship I was ever in. It was his favorite word to describe me.

It was a word that haunted me.

I thought that maybe it wasn’t correct for me, even though naive was the only word that I felt didn’t fit for me. I had some friends take the “test” and their words matched up perfectly. Not a single word was inaccurate in describing them. 

I started to worry I was actually naive. That the guy I had been in a terrible relationship with was right.

But then I took a psychology class.

In the class, I learned how the image of words works to define us. I learned that it’s not the images or the words that define us at all.

We do the defining and the labeling ourselves.

Most of this is subconscious. We attach a word to ourselves usually without even thinking about it. Maybe we’ve heard ourselves described that way our whole lives. Or maybe that’s what we want to think of ourselves. Or, in my case, not.

The first four words we see define us because they are the words that we automatically notice for no other reason than the words were already in our minds before we looked at the picture.

Whether conscious of it or not, we had already held the definition, already acknowledged the words we would use to describe ourselves long before we saw it written in a picture made of words.

The first four words are the ones that haunt us. The ones we dream about, think about, live.

But they don’t have to be permanent.

We have the power to define ourselves and redefine ourselves. 

I realized the reason the word naive bothered me so much was because that was how I felt. The relationship had put me through the most extremely difficult circumstances and experiences that I had ever had to face, and I had been ill-equipped to handle any of them. As much as I hated to admit it, I had been naive. 

But I didn’t have to let the word define me.

It took several months of soul-searching, crying, forgiveness, and fictional recreations of the real-life difficult experiences, but eventually I was able to change the definition.

Now when I look at the picture, the first three words are the same, sweet, happy, love, but it’s the last word that has changed. Instead of naive, the word I see is strong.

So yes, maybe the words are accurate, even the ones we don’t like. But they don’t have to stay that way. We have the power to change ourselves, and change our definition. Nothing is permanent unless we choose to make it so.

So if you want a change, make it. 

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