What’s In a Word?

Perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance set-backs, perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance nay-sayers perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance struggle perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance perseverance

 

See how easy it is when we focus on perseverance to disregard things like set-backs, nay-sayers and struggle?

 

Shame shame shame shame shame shame shame shame shame shame successes shame shame shame shame shame shame shame shame shame shame shame shame shame shame shame shame shame good memories shame shame shame shame shame shame shame positivity shame shame shame shame shame shame shame shame shame shame shame

 

On the other hand, how easy is it to miss our successes, good memories and positivity when we only focus on shame?

 

We can change the word shame with other words: embarrassment, fear, negativity, complacency. We can change the word perseverance with even more: strength, bravery, energy, enthusiasm, power, happiness, love, ambition, passion, courage, friendship.

 

I personally love the word perseverance. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition is “The quality that allows someone to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult”.  According to Oxford Dictionaries, the definition is “steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success”. I like it better than “endurance”, because endurance suggests that we are enduring something. Synonyms for endure include suffer and tolerate. I can definitely apply endurance to distance running, because once I get passed 18 kilometres, I certainly feel like I’m suffering (especially knowing that I have further to go). The word perseverance focuses on continuing, doing, moving forward. It is “despite difficulty”. The difficulty is not the focus, the focus is doing. Perseverance takes energy and dedication. Perseverance acknowledges that circumstances may be difficult but that is not the point. The point is continuing and building and moving forward.

 

Shame is something that can come more easily that perseverance. Shame doesn’t take any work. Shame doesn’t take strength or focus. Shame comes from a place where social construct dictates that being different is a negative and embarrassing thing. Shame takes away from everything positive. It even takes away from logic. We can know that we have friends, positive personal characteristics, successes, goals, abilities. We know these things, we know lots of things. Shame clouds all that. A completely illogical belief plants itself in our heads and blinds us to all of the positive things that surround us. It is not only blinding but it stops us from continuing forward. It is so easy to fall into a pit of shame. It can be difficult and seemingly impossible to get ourselves out.

 

If we apply it to running… perseverance is training. Perseverance is getting up and putting on shorts and heading outside (or jumping onto a treadmill). Perseverance is doing it every day of the week. Perseverance is putting sore feet into running shoes. Endurance is the race, after the starting line and trying to finish. Shame has no place there, shame doesn’t get us there. Perseverance does.

 

Whether we are running or going about day to day, there are words that can guide us. Picking even a single word to have in mind can help make each day easier and remind us of why we do the things we do. If we pick a word that has a positive meaning to us, then we can hope to remain in a positive state of mind. It doesn’t mean that every single moment will always be sunshine, but it can be a rope or ladder pulling us out of that pit of unhappiness. If the word that we pick is “beauty”, let us focus on all the beautiful things in the world, and all the beautiful things we can give to the world. If the word we pick is “strength”, let us focus on how we can be strong, for ourselves and others. Whatever word (or words) we want to have when we think about our lives, let them be something that contributes to growth and power. I will persevere, and I will not allow shame to blind me or stop me from continuing when things are difficult.

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