New Year, New Words
It’s been a full year since You-Know-Who became You-Know-What of the United States of You-Know-Where. If Albus Dumbledore were here I imagine he’d say to me: “Call him Donald Trump, Marina. Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.”
I’d have to agree with Dumbledore, because I believe that words are emotional and vibrant and alive. Your words, my words, and Donald Trump’s words – they are teeming with energy.
In fact, I believe that one of the most powerful tools that Trump wields is his use of simple words that whip up emotion. We have access to that power too. We can use our words to resist. Let’s explore the powerful resistance that we can each engage in by choosing different words. To speak, to write, and to think.
First, some tough facts.
- More than 40% of Americans only have basic literacy skills.
- Donald Trump’s candidate speeches scored at an average 6th grade reading level, the lowest of any candidate
- Bernie Sanders came in at a 10th grade reading level, the highest in the field of candidates
Why do so many people listen to Donald Trump? One answer is, simply, because he chooses words and uses grammar that are accessible to most people.
Next, and I’m sorry in advance, we have to sit with some of Trump’s favorite words.
Dive past the surface, go deep. How do these words make you feel?
Fake News Winning Loser
Stupid We/They Tremendous
There's more. But six is plenty for now. See 21 of Trump’s favorite words here.
Are these words neutral? Not for me. They are each potent, in their own way. Winning feels buoyant to me, stupid feels shameful. Trump weaves these simple, evocative words into his statements that are charged with emotion. Even seemingly positive words like winning and tremendous take on heavy, dense energy when used in the contexts he uses them in.
Words are alive. Words are powerful.
What are the words of your resistance? What are the words you choose to put out via social media? Text to your friends? To speak? What are the most common words that you think to yourself on repeat when you think about Donald Trump?
How do those words make you feel?
If the answer is anything less than light, free, powerful, engaged, or energized, we’ve got some exploring to do.
You see, Donald Trump wields his words to weave chaos and sow discord. He galvanizes and divides, and pulls wool over eyes. Are you caught up in that spiral? Are your words and the words of your resistance fanning the flames of anger, fear, and separation? Are your words on the same emotional wavelength as those that you seek to resist? What would happen, if, while Trump was out there tweeting up a Twit Storm we were at home chanting (literally and metaphorically) peace... creativity… wonder… ease… contentment… and unity?
Words are powerful. Words are alive.
Friends, please don’t misunderstand. There’s a place for fear (it’s kept our species alive for thousands of years). There’s a place for anger (anger gets shit done) and there’s plenty to be angry about. But today—today—I am inviting you to explore the power of your words. Not the fear of your words, nor the anger of your words, but the vibrancy and vibration of your words. My invitation is for you to consider the words that you think and write and speak and to choose them intentionally, all the while seeking to understand how they make you feel. That puts you in the driver’s seat and prevents you from being swept up in the crescendo of an angry, fearful orchestra that’s being led by our Conductor-In-Chief, one Donald J. Trump.
What now? Take an action that’s right for you…
1. If you’re seeking to communicate your message to the masses
Ask: are my words accessible? Am I mindful of the fact that more than 40% of Americans only have basic literacy skills? I used an online tool to test the readability of the article you are reading right now and it scored at a 5th-8th grade reading level, based on seven popular readability assessments.
2. If you’re seeking new words for use in writing, speaking, and thinking more intentionally
Use the emotional guidance scale to gauge where you (and your words) are, emotionally, right now. If you’re in anger, you probably don’t want to reach for joy (it’s a bit too far away). Reach instead for Blame, Worry, or Doubt. I mean it. Just reach for something a bit further “upstream” from where you are, every step matters.
3. If you’re seeking new words for personal use in writing, speaking, and thinking more intentionally
Explore how you want to feel using “The Desire Map” by Danielle LaPorte. This book (and the included workbook) will guide you through a series of questions focused on one thing: getting in touch with your Core. Desired. Feelings. The ones I’m living out of right now are pleasure, creativity, ease, and wonder. Let me tell ya, when I start and end my day with meditation on these deeply personal feeling words, not even Donald Trump can get me down.
4 If you’re looking for support, for community, or for a safe place to feel every feeling
Listen, Think, Be and Create right here with the Cushy Community. We are stronger together, and in this space our words are powerful and they are alive and they are here for you.
- Sam will be your guide on crafting a safe space blanket fort - No Trump Allowed.
- Dani will show you how to whip up a comforting bowl of soup.
- Liz can remind you (and all of us) about the good things that happened in 2017.