[DAY 1] Are We Free to Choose What We Say?

Feelings. So there’s sadness and there’s anger. There’s exhaustion and there’s confusion. All the words but never enough to describe. So we invent ways to categorize them: bad vs. good, productive vs. unproductive. I personally prefer the latter. I think all feelings have their unique meanings, but there are emotions that make me stop wanting to be better. It’s okay to moan, but not for ever.

With that said, all those feelings, today I experienced tiredness and stress. I also acknowledged that I needed to get some fresh air and some laughers. So, I decided to go for a walk, with Sam, a little boy I’m living with.

We set off with him only wearing his diaper and me almost not wearing my shoes. “It’s not like everyone is going to care anyway.” However, I admit that I shouldn’t make that habit for Sam. Not good. “‘You gotta wear your pants when you go outside, boys!”

It was sunny and warm. We ran into a handful of people, but we all stay 6ft apart. I learned that talking to kids is good exercise for their brains, even though they might not understand everything I say, so I kept rambling on.

“Hey there’s a person. Wave!”

“We need to hold hand when we cross the sidewalk.”

“Look, there’s a person watering her plants.”

“Hey Sam, can you say, “dog”?”
“do…g *woof*”
“You’re right. *Woof woof*.”

“Hey Sam, can you say, “bike”?”
“bi… bi… bi!”
“Good job!!!”

I kept complimenting him on the broken words he repeated after me. A lot of them is not even close to what the actual word is, but I always said, “good job.”

And I realized that I could be so flattered at how Sam learns words so quickly yet not entirely understand what they mean, but I have been critical with my own learning journey and that of others. I despise the small progress I made daily, while intentionally choose criticism when working with others on a project. I have to constantly remind myself to say encouraging words on the works people have put their best in and to be generous with the phrases that bring positivity. I thought I wasn’t capable of wisely choosing what to say, but spending time with Sam tells a different story: I just simply decide not to work on my weaknesses.

So now, I want to decide on something different. I want to see myself grow in communicating with others. There should be room for feedback to improve, yet feedback is only valuable when they are exchanged in a safe environment.

And I hope to create that comfortable environment by saying words that show love.

Because I do.

Published by Thi Le


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