How do you define success? How do you define work? How do you define beauty? Or peace? Or what it means to be rich? Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how we define things, mainly because our definitions are the basic building blocks upon which our perceptions and values and decisions are manufactured. We define things to clarify them for ourselves and to categorize our world into bits of information we can process.
But what happens to our perception of the world when so many of our definitions get spoon-fed to us by society? Successful = Rich and famous. Work = Something you do when you’re not having fun. Beauty = Flawless skin and a flat tummy. The list goes on and on. Just take one moment to think about all the definitions we accept as objective fact that alter the lens through which we see our lives and ourselves.
Now imagine how things might be different if you got to write your own dictionary and define your world on YOUR TERMS. Successful = Living my values daily without stress. Work = Something fun I do that makes me money. Beauty = The intersection of vulnerability, love, and self-acceptance. Could these new definitions allow you to view your life in terms that feel more abundant? More everything?
When I notice myself feeling less than, it’s usually because I’m working out of someone else’s dictionary. I’m using their definitions to characterize my world. That’s when it’s helpful to remember that each of us gets to define our own reality. We determine what strength looks like, what success looks like and what happiness looks like. Next time you’re feeling less than, simply ask yourself… “How do I define ________?”