Posts Tagged ‘language’

“Would you let me know what time you’ll be home?”
“I’ll try…”

“I know I should clean up my room, but I don’t want to…

“Would you like to be part of our amateur choir?”
“Oh that sounds like fun, but I can’t sing!”


There are a couple of words that I banned from my vocabulary. You just read a couple of examples of those. (another one is found in this blogpost).

Recently, I realized that this is only one side of the story. There is a whole different side of the story, one that people sometimes tend to forget about.

I’m all for being motivational, all for achieving things, maximizing yourself and going beyond what you think you can do. I’ve experienced things that tell me that boundaries are illusions and that if you push yourself hard enough, you can do whatever you want. The examples are, in my opinion, a way to sabotage yourself. By saying them, you get a free pass to not do something that is actually a bit scary. By saying them, you keep yourself small so you don’t have to step up your game.

There are certain circumstances in which the use of these words are helpful, though.

Consider these following sentences:



Read Full Post »

I think about people who are close to me a lot. Sometimes, someone I know would just pop into my head. And sometimes, it’s because I know something is going on in that person’s life.

I’ve made it a habit to also act on this. Some time ago, I decided it couldn’t hurt to let this person know that I’m thinking about him/her, so I made it into a habit to send a message, or call them up to let them know. And every now and then, my timing proved to be impeccable and that was just what that person needed, which is nice for me to hear.

Lately however, I’ve been learning a lesson about thinking. I feel like thinking is not always the best way to go, and I’m learning to be in a space where there’s more of ‘feeling’ and less of ‘thinking’. It is teaching me a bunch of stuff, including things about flow, intuition and success/failure.

Today it struck me. The sentence “I’m thinking of you” doesn’t ring right anymore. What I do when I do that, is go with my feeling to that other person, and from a distance be present with them. There is absolutely no thinking involved!

So this led me to think I want to rephrase that little line. What should it be? I’m feeling you? I feel you? I feel about you?

Or maybe just a simple: I’m here. With which I mean: I’m here with you, in the now, on that feeling-level.

Suggestions are welcome! Yes, please!

Read Full Post »

Whenever you say something, you give it power.

Of course I already knew you shouldn’t use the word should and shouldn’t. But it wasn’t until I realized that there were 4 situations in which this applies, and what to do instead of saying should and shouldn’t, that I fully realized why.

Whenever you are using the words ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’, you are always referring to the future. I should go to bed. I shouldn’t call him an asshole all the time. Both examples of things in the future.

Whenever you say ‘should have’ or ‘shouldn’t have’, this inevitably refers to some event in the past. I should have told him that. I shouldn’t have shouted at him. Things that happened, or didn’t happen, in the past.

Now the thing is, as Eckhart Tolle repeatedly points out, only the NOW is free from grieve. I will give you four examples, starting with the one that was most felt by me not so long ago.

Shouldn’t have

I have a scar on my forehead. A couple of months ago, I fell on a waterfall and it resulted in a hole in my head. I was feeling pretty down because of it and because I didn’t feel ‘whole’ anymore. I would have to live with this scar forever. Part of me couldn’t care less. Part of me cared enough to be (secretly) grieving.

I remember there was a distinct point in time when I could turn this feeling around. It was when I realized that I was thinking the same thing all the time: “This shouldn’t have happened”. That had been exactly what I was thinking. That it shouldn’t have happened. Well, guess what? It DID. Nothing I would do or change or think would change that. It had happened. In the world I lived in right now, there was only one reality, and in that reality, it had happened. Whether it should have happened or not was not relevant. When I realized that, the grieving stopped and I could go on. Stop denying reality. Instead, work with it and act, or stop regretting something happened.

Should have

Only yesterday, I caught myself thinking: “I should have bought that T-shirt”. The fact is, I didn’t. I forgot all about it. I even forgot that I had had that wish. So at that time, it certainly wasn’t as important as I made it to be right now, otherwise I would’ve remembered. Nothing I can do about it anymore now, so better stop regretting and get on with my life (or act and go back and buy the damn t-shirt).


I should really call up my mom. This is such a silly statement. It shows you don’t really want to call up your mom. It shows that you don’t feel like calling up your mom but that you think you are supposed to call up your mom. Because your preferred reality is different from other people’s reality, or reality as you envision it to be, you’re grieving because it feels like you’re not getting what you want. For the grieving to stop, you have to do just one thing: decide what reality will be like. This sentence is much purer in either one of the following two forms: I will call my mom, I won’t call my mom. Act on it or stop whining, and the grieving will stop.


I shouldn’t eat that cookie. This sentence implies that you probably will. Saying it can be the first stop of actually not giving in. But a stronger way to put it would be: I am not going to eat that cookie. Work towards your preferred reality. The real on, not the one you think you want.

Using the words should and shouldn’t will make you stay in limbo forever. If you want clarity of thought, stop using them and start deciding and making yourself promises. Life will get much simpler if you do.

Read Full Post »

I love the English language. I think this started when I was very young and we used to watch Fun Factory (thank you!). I love the English language all the way from its crazy spelling and pronunciation (now why is it not pronOunciation?) to its grammar that is just too hard to understand for a non-native speaker, no matter how hard you try. I love the way it has way more words than my own native tongue (Dutch, in case you don’t know) and the way things can be subtle just by adding a word or omitting one (although, admittedly, this may be the same in any other language).

Take this example. When someone says: “I’ve had few distractions.” this means something different from “I’ve had a few distractions.” Discovering something like this can conjure up a broad smile on my face. I just love it. (Think of it. Why does that one word, no, it’s actually just one letter, make such a big difference? Does it make any sense? No of course not! It’s just what language is, totally illogical (and, come to think of that, why is it not unlogical, alogical or inlogical?!?))

I can fall in love with an English word and will use it abundantly (like the word abundant, I love it!). I sometimes have the urge to frame an English sentence, perfect in its composition, structure and choice of words.

But lately, I’ve discovered that my own language, Dutch, which I thought to be too ugly/bland/direct/guttural/whichever other judgment I’ve passed to it in the past, to even mention, is more important to me than I thought.

While in the States for 6 weeks, I kept a blog (http://meinithaca.wordpress.com). There are still a couple of drafts that I haven’t published yet. Most of them are proof of my laziness (mostly having to do with pictures), but there are two that have a different reason. They are called: ‘Words I miss in English’ and ‘Words I miss in Dutch’. I had expected there to be a long list of words I miss in Dutch and not so much in English. The opposite is true. Words like ‘de bedoeling’ (what I meant to do/what was supposed to happen), ‘het klopt’ (one of my favorite expressions, meaning it is right/it feels right/it suits/matches/IS right, and this you know or feel, but can’t always reason with) and ‘geluk’ (with means both luck and happiness) star in this list and I have definitely missed them.

Last week, I tried to translate one of my few stories that was written in Dutch to English. It proved to be much harder than I thought. This is when I decided to be more proud of my native tongue, and that I would not translate it and put it up here anyway. (Go to story written for Buitenkunst to read it) With apologies to my English-speaking readers. I hope this explanation is a good enough substitute.

Read Full Post »