In the book Eat, Pray Love, the author Elizabeth Gilbert, writes about people and places having a word that defines them and drives them. In the book, she lived in Rome for a time, and Rome was said to have the word SEX. Elizabeth loved Rome, but she knew it wasn’t where she would live forever; it wasn’t her city because she didn’t feel like it belonged to her—SEX was not her word.
She had a think about what her word would be. She thought about the word for her family when she was growing up—FRUGAL, IRRERVANT—and the word for her own city she lived in—ACHIEVE.
I thought this was an interesting concept and think you can apply it to many things: school, friendship groups, workplaces, etc.
I tried to think of my word when I was growing up: INNOCENT? SHELTERED?
I tried to think of my word at school and in my town: WORK? MONEY? POSSESSIONS? APPEARANCE? I think it’s STATUS.
I tried to think of my word for me all my life: RESPONSIBILTY, DUTY, RIGHT, PERFECT. I’m not saying these are words that I am, but they words that drove me.
At the moment, the word everyone else seems to give me is: TEACHER or WISDOM.
Then I tried to think of the word I wanted to be: PEACE? FREEDOM? PASSION? MEANING? PURPOSE? I’m still working on it.
I guess the idea is to find out what your word is and see if it matches up with the word you want to be. Take a hard, honest look at yourself and find out what really drives you. Now, hold onto that honesty and find out what word you want to be. When you’re word matches up with what you want to be defined and driven by, I guess that’s the equivalent of the inner life matching the outer life.
And once you know your word, I guess the idea is to find people and places who have the same word as you. There’s your match, where you belong. I’m not saying you shouldn’t branch out and only stay with your those who match your word, but when you’ve found those people and those places who match your word, you’ll always have a home to go back to.
Do you know your word? Does it match the word you want to be?