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I am (more than?) a bunch of adjectives

I think like a lot of us, I have an incessant need to see myself reflected by others in order to believe that I am who I think I am. Positively and negatively. I save adjectives like souvenirs, reminders of when I got them and from whom. I wear them as badges, as armor. When I start to doubt myself, I take one off and toss it around in my hands a bit to see how it still feels, try it on again to make sure it still fits. They’re my fuel, my food, my vitamins. I collect them like baseball cards, determined to find the full set.

But sometimes in my attempt to win an adjective from someone, I cease to be another one of my adjectives (usually one of the good ones). I have to backpedal in order to earn it back. And it’s then that I realize that I’m juggling adjectives in service to someone else.

#1 on my list of New Year’s Resolutions was this: “Do what I want to do instead of what I think I’m supposed to do.” What I should have written was, “Be whom I want to be instead of whom I think I’m supposed to be.” It’s what I should have meant.

And so tonight, I’m writing my own adjectives. These aren’t the compliments and insults I’ve collected, but rather what I see when I look at myself. Maybe my list will inspire other people to write their own lists, so we can all stop reaching out for adjectives and start reaching in.

I am resilient

I am clever

I am knowledgeable

I am intuitive

I am passionate

I am funny

I am liberal

I am independent

I am empathetic

I am resourceful

I am efficient

I am thoughtful

I am tenacious

I am hopeful

I am loyal

I am assertive

I am outspoken

I am serious

I am responsible

I am adventurous

I am romantic

I am sensitive

I am superstitious

I am sentimental

I am intense

I am vulnerable

I am fearful

I am restricted

I am cautious

I am obsessive

I am old-fashioned

I am lazy

I am self-indulgent

I am wasteful

I am overweight

I am introverted

I am nosy

I am judgmental

I am controlling

I am distrustful

I am lonely

I am unfulfilled

I am fatalistic

I am fortunate

I am ambitious

I am energetic

I am receptive

I am kind

I am spiritual

I am forgiving

I am confusing

I am loved

But I’m also probably many, many more adjectives that I have yet to discover. I just hope to stop relying on other people to grant them to me.

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