“Language matters. It’s the raw material of story, it changes how we feel about ourselves and others, and it’s a portal to connection.” ~ Brené Brown, Atlas of the Heart
I agree with Dumbledore, words are our most inexhaustible source of magic. They are capable of inflicting injury and healing it. So, reading Atlas of the Heart, by Brené Brown from which the above quote comes, has been an eye opening experience for me. It explores eighty-seven emotions that we can experience. The book’s purpose is to help us gain a better understanding of ourselves. When I read the definitions of some of them, I was finally able to put a word to some long unexpressed emotions that I had not had words for previously.
For example, when I read the definition for anguish, I wept because I was finally able to put a name to the way I felt twenty years ago when I was forced out of a most beloved teaching position. The definition expressed perfectly my lack of focus, of being in a fog, of shock and humiliation. (Humiliation is another of the emotions described in the book.) I wept and then I felt awe at how the Universe works. Because losing that job propelled me into deep self-examination and search for meaning. It also allowed me to become open to other bigger possibilities for my life. And in the end, I’m so grateful that I wasn’t allowed to continue teaching at that school because I love the life I have built. I was forced to come up with grander dreams that bring me so much joy.
In another section of the book, I was taken aback by Brené’s definition and discussion of contempt. She credits two writers, Arthur C. Brooks who in an article he wrote for The New York Times in March of 2019, sites an article in the 2014 publication, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences about “motive attribution asymmetry.” Motive attribution asymmetry perfectly describes the wide ideological divide between political groups all over the world. Each group thinks that they are driven by benevolence, while their opponents are driven by hatred. It’s evident among Republicans and Democrats, Palestinians and Israelis, conservative and progressive religious organizations. The list goes on and on.
When I first read this section of the book, I wanted to deny that I feel that my side of the political landscape is all about helping our citizens live better lives, while the other side is selfish and all about gaining more and more wealth. Hmm, I suffer from motive attribution asymmetry. That was a little hard to swallow.
In the days since these realizations, I’ve been paying a lot more attention to the words I speak and those spoken to me. I’m noticing my emotions because naming my feelings is the only way to release them. I could go through life not doing any kind of self-examination. If I chose to do that, I would assume that everything that happens to me comes from the outside and I have no control over it. But, if I track my experiences and acknowledge that my response is internal, I have control. I can heal the dark places within and move on.
I hope you’ll consider reading this book, because we can’t do any real change if we don’t understand how we feel about our experiences.
Blessings to all of you who follow me, both old and new.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2022
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.
Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.
The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.
Lucinda is also the host of Story-Power a podcast where she and her guests discuss their creative endeavors, and/or the stories that have changed their lives. It’s available here on Sage Woman Chronicles and on Apple, Google, and Spotify podcast apps. Please rate and leave a review. It helps people find me.
Make a one-time donation
Make a monthly donation
Make a yearly donation
Choose an amount
Or enter a custom amount
Your contribution is appreciated.
Your contribution is appreciated.
Your contribution is appreciated.DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly