Describing Yourself, Or, The Power and Magic of Self Talk

In The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz talks about the magic power words. How words have the power to define us, for good or ill.

So, describe yourself. Finish the sentence, “I am…”

How you finish that sentence does two things, a minor one, and a major one. The minor one is how you see yourself. The major one is how you define yourself.

But, those are the same thing, right?


How you see yourself is what you think you are.

How you define yourself is what you are going to be.

Return to the concept of words as magic. If I say, “I am a clinical depressive,” vs. “I struggle with depression,” I am saying the same thing. Sort of.

In both sentences, I admit my problem; depression. However, in the first sentence I’m defining myself as a depressive, where in the second sentence I’m defining myself as someone who is fighting the depression.

This came to an amusing head at work recently, as I referred to myself as “an antisocial bastard.” My colleague Ewan called me out on it, given that I made the claim while we were out chatting over ice cream.

But, it is telling.

The words you use to describe yourself, and others, contain power. The power to heal, the power to harm. The power to lift up, the power to put down. There is so much power that we’re told, “If you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, don’t say anything at all.”

Don’t you think maybe we should do the same for ourselves.

More thoughts, on video, over here.