Word Cop

There are certain words I try my best not to use, like: busy, crazy, evil.

In my view, busy speaks to a powerlessness I find grossly inaccurate. Crazy speaks to a drama infused ignorance I find telling of our collective insistence to blame and avoid. And evil speaks to a dualistic drive to make proper nonsense of a world we don’t make enough of an effort to deeply connect with and truly understand.

For those of you who follow me and read my posts regularly, you know I am someone who writes often about the power of words and how words matter. I pay close, special attention to how I use words and also how others use them and I especially monitor how they land. There is one person I know, however, that ups me in the words matter department: my husband Mike.

Over the years, it’s not been uncommon for folks – myself included – to call Mike a word cop. Whereas I will notice how people’s word usage in the moment might serve to further their own negative self-talk or speak to a subconscious motivation or intention, Mike is likely to call direct attention to it. While oftentimes it makes me uncomfortable, it’s a skill he has that I greatly admire. In my experience, whether he’s “word-copping” me or a friend, he’s spot on every time (which is usually what makes the moment uncomfortable, cuz he’s right!).

The other morning, for instance, I was telling him something and I used the word ridiculous, or the r-word, as I sometimes refer to it as. I use this word pretty often. And because he catches it every time I say it, I’ve learned to pay attention to it when I use it. This morning, rather than calling me out verbally for using it (in a good way, not a judgey way), he sighed in such a way that I got the message loud and clear: I used the r-word again!

After this encounter with him, I landed on a new and important insight: the word ridiculous is a close cousin to the word crazy. So, I’ve now decided to start word-copping myself a little more in regards to the r-word. My intention is to discontinue using it, though I imagine it will take me a bit of time. But from past experience, I trust that the more I can become aware of when I’m using the r-word, and the more I can understand why I’m using it, the more I will move towards changing the pattern/habit as a natural progression, as the result of my practice.

The practice continues! Onward ho!


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