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What’s your word?

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

Ever since the film ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ was released some 13 or so years ago, the idea of finding ‘your word’ has been living rent free in my mind.

I’ll be honest. I have many days of LOVING this idea: the idea that one single word can encapsulate the complex entirety of a whole life chapter, be it a year, or two, or even a decade!




These are just some of the more obvious ‘my word’ choices that anyone with your average life experience, might be tempted to settle upon, at journaling’s behest!

That said, there are just as many days, when buying into the idea of a ‘word’ seems like a cliché at best… perhaps pointless at worst.

After all, how far can assigning a positive adjective to an ‘era’ really assist with digesting and reconciling the (often challenging) realities of that time period?

Take ‘independence’ for example.

Does infusing one's perception with those four, powerful syllables really make the reality of what it entails (eg divorce, separation... starting a business) any more palatable?

Probably not.

What I have found, in such cases, is that that power of 'a word' is more retrospective.

After the ‘era’ has passed, a word can help bookend what’s happened, and allow it to be more easily consigned to the context of silver linings.

It’s also sense-making, and puts many of life’s inevitable unravelings and obstacles into the kind of bigger-picture perspective that always eludes, when you’re stuck in the thick of these trajectory-changing periods.

Today, I’m contemplating ‘my word’ with new-found enthusiasm, and in the context of what have been the key distinguishing characteristics of the last 12 months.

What came to mind, was ‘embolden.’

A few years ago, however, I would have said ‘matresrasence.’ A word that I have just discovered, and which I wish I’d known during the time when I was grappling with that then-nameless metamorphosis.

These words - they are of course just words, and might never do full justice to the lived reality they’re chosen to represent.

Even so, I have found this experiment a useful tool for introspection, and even for intention-setting, as I now find myself making more decisions with 'embolden' in mind.

'Should I confront a difficult situation or just let it lie?'


'Should I go with this book-writing idea that I've been mulling on for so long?'


This small snippet of inner dialogue, it's evidence indeed that maybe (just maybe) there's an interplay worth tapping into, between the wispy incentives of finding 'your word', and the Shakespearian gospel that is...'thinking makes it so.'

“You are, after all, what you think. Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.”

Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

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