Can you describe yourself in three words? How do you see yourself? How do you believe others see you?
When I was asked these questions I thought of words like mom, grandmother, wife, speaker, writer, but I wanted better words. I wanted words with more grandeur. I wanted words that carried with them not just a superficial description of looks or my job(s) in life, but a feeling, a purpose, and a mission.
After weeks of rolling this idea through every wrinkle of my mind and struggling to create a short list of three, I decided I was not the most reliable person to ask. I wanted to know how I was doing and if others would give me a passing grade - or if I needed to study harder and practice more in order to be described in the way I hoped.
So, I sent out this email:
I am working on a project and wonder if you would take a second to help me out. It is easy - all I need you to do is send me a few adjectives that you would think of to honestly describe me. You can send me three or twenty or as many you wish to share, but make it easy for you. No, this is not one of the silly email "forwards" -- I really am working on a project.
Thank you so much in advance for doing this! - Pennie
This is not an exercise for the faint of spirit. As I hit the send button, bubbles over my head began filling with words I would not like. What if the responses were negative? What if they were less than flattering? What if no one responded, what would that mean?
But there it was, heading through the mysteries of the Internet and landing smack in the middle of 100 computer screens! I sent it to close friends and to acquaintances. I sent it to family members. I sent it to people who see me daily and ones who had not seen me in 10 years. I sent it to those who I was confident would say glowing things and I sent it to those who I feared might not. From young adolescent friends of my son to legislators, they held my life image at their computer keyboards.
The first response came in minutes, other came weeks later. They came in clusters of pings to my computer and in single messages late in the night. They came in short emails with just three words. They came in lists of adjectives depicting my impression on them with long elaborations of why they chose the words they did.
The fear of what would be given me as the mirror of myself became a life-opening experience. I was humbled by the response as an ultimate washing of appreciation and love came through in the words given to me. Some made me laugh. Some made me cry. Some made me cry more. Only three people asked me why I wanted to know. It didn’t seem to matter. They just responded.
I created a spreadsheet to track the words. Repeated words were given a tally mark. The spreadsheet grew with a list of 197 words. Very quickly 13 words began creating a pattern of repetition. The top three winners were Caring, Thoughtful, and Kind. These were followed closely with Compassionate, Honest, and Loving.
What a lesson I had learned! These are simple words, but I realize these are my words of grandeur; my words of feeling, purpose, and mission. These are my words to live by. Now I have a standard to uphold. This is how others see me and I don’t want to let them down.
Can you describe yourself in three words?
Pennie's Life Lesson: “When you create a standard of compassion, kindness, and love to live your life by- you will receive compassion, kindness, and love from others.”
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There is a certain magic about where I live both physically and spiritually – on the crossroads of Spirit and Brave.
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