Really we don’t need to always be out and about having a new experience; we can create our own simply by expanding our imagination and our access to new words.
In this post, I aim to show you how that can be done. As I continue my research into what it means to be or feel alone, I have noticed a complex web of aloneness which is sometimes felt as loneliness, solitude, or something in between. The reason there are so many ways to feel alone is because the way we describe how we feel depends on the context, past experiences and individual interpretation. This is why new words often enter our language, sometimes borrowed from other cultures, to describe the different ways we experience the ever-changing world. Words evoke strong emotions, and so with a new word comes a new set of emotions.
Different ways of saying how you feel
Etymology is the study and history of words. A dip into the origins of specific words shows a picture where a word evolves its structure and meaning through the ages. In today’s society, new words are being created more than ever, and old ones are recycled into new meanings.
We don’t have to stick to our own language. Other languages often have a word that describes something we don’t have. By learning the word and its meaning it can give us access to new feelings and experiences. Take words that are very emotive, such as those that are nostalgic or mournful. Emotions are very important to us, and these types of words hold a strong embodied sense of emotion.
Have a read of the following words from different languages:
This is a contemporary word to mean the nostalgia for the way your home environment/country used to be before the erosion of nature in favour or urban progress destroyed its natural beauty. It could also be a loss of a culture that has been replaced by western /modern ways.
This is the antithesis of being lonely. This means not enough time alone, a wish to be with the self.
One of my favourite Welsh language words! When you miss home and yearn for being back there. This is similar to saudade.
A Portuguese word meaning deep longing or yearning, or bittersweet melancholia.
A German word for easy solitude through being in the woods. Think of Walden. It translates as ‘forest loneliness’ or solitude.
German for inconsolable, strong yearning to experience someone or something.
Similar to hiraeth, this is Danish for homesickness.
A word that is experienced by those who think modern times are less enjoyable than days gone by. It’s the wish that the modern world was as it was in days gone, the quest for glory of yesterdays.
To be on the edge of a gathering, enjoying the togetherness without having to put in any effort.
A Russian word with a complex set of emotions, depending on the context. It can be deep anguish and sadness, or a general sense of uneasiness and restlessness, or a deeper, sickening pang for something specific or maybe for nothing in particular.
What do the above words evoke in you?
How did these words show up with you? Did you get strong emotions, images, memories for any of them? A word can do so much to charge us with a feeling that can linger. And we don’t need to accidentally come across these words. If we want to create evocative moments, we can actively bring these to life anytime by purposefully embedding a word and its emotions into our knowledge banks.
Start with being aware of the context of the experience
What is the context you are in or want to experience? Is it positive or negative? What is the environment? Is it with or without other people? What meaning does it have for you? Think about all these things and then find a word that reflects it.
Find or create a word
If you can’t find a suitable word, create your own. All words are constructed so why not add another one to the list!
So for example, if I want to create a word that enhances an experience I want to have now, I can take the weather as my starting point. It’s raining today, tapping against the window. I might use the Welsh word for rain which is glaw (pronounced gl-aw-r). What do I want to feel in this moment? Well, I like the rain and I often feel cosy when I am tucked up at home and it’s raining. So I could put these words together and say cosy glaw. By combining them and making slight alterations to their spelling I could create a word cosiglaw.
That’s now my word to describe the days when I am indoors, it’s raining outside and I am feeling cosy and comfortable, maybe a little bit nostalgic as well. I can really feel those emotions being charged as I type this and hear the rain. I’ve now banked that word and the feelings in my conceptual knowledge, and every time I think of the word, or every time it’s raining I can chose to feel this way.
Work on embedding it
Once you have the word, the feeling, the sound, the image, spend some time embedding it. Say the word to yourself; make the sound or image stronger, louder, and brighter as you do so. Mindfully focus on the feelings and do this for a few days until it can be brought into life by saying the word or hearing the sound etc.
Negative as well as positive words
Understandably, we’d most like to create positive words but there is a value in creating negative ones too. Research tells us that the more negative words we know to be able to describe an experience, the easily it is for our brains to accurately predict what is happening in the moment, and respond with a useful strategy. So don’t stop at creating new words that feel good, think about situations that you want to be able to handle better, create a word for that, and it will give your brain extra data to respond in a quick and effective way.
Maybe you already have already created your own special word and would share it here?
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