What are Your Adjectives?

We form our perception of self from various places. As children we look at our parents, and siblings and see how we are like them and different.  In a effort to get a grasp on where things fit into our world (then later the world in general) we  instinctively we being to compare.  We can see that we are “shorter”, “taller”, “thinner”, “heavier” then our siblings. We see that we have our mother’s nose, our father’s eyes, and a combination of  their personality traits. All this is quite normal and natural. As our circle expands and we begin to go to school, we have teachers, and schoolmates to take in and size up. We start to see who we through the categorization of the characteristics of others, and of our own. We learn that certain children in school are “unruly” which makes them “bad” some are “smart” some are “funny” some are “pretty” some “sweet” some “annoying”.

Adjectives as they stand alone are just words. However it is in the way people respond to and react to these words, that give them power.

It has been shown through scientific study that people who are considered to be “Pretty” get preferential treatment. Dr. Gordon Patzer, dean of the College of Business Administration at Roosevelt University has studied what is called  the Physical Attractiveness Phenomenon (PAP) for over 30 years. In writing about physical attractiveness he states:

“People are valued more who are higher in physical attractiveness. As distasteful at that might be, that’s the reality.”

When we see children/people who are considered cute or beautiful doted on (and we are not ) it makes us feel a certain way about them but more importantly about ourselves.

As we grow “Adjectives” are attached to each and every one of us. It starts at home, if you have siblings almost immediately “The Ones” start, the “smart” one, the “rebellious” one, the “focused” one, the “irresponsible” one. The way that our family members  react to us and treat us relative to those adjectives, informs us as to who we are and what our worth is. These labels become an integral part of the bedrock of our foundation and who we become.  Whether the adjective is deemed positive or negative there is something within us that instinctively wants to live up to it, partially because people hold us in that place and we are boxed and sense the  limitations (or conversely the expansion) of then by them.

The T’ruth of the Matter is that we don’t have to be defined by the negative or limiting Adjectives assigned to us, even if they are true, even if we earned them ,or we feel they are a true representation of who we are.

We have the power of self definition within us. We have the power tell people who we are, and not merely accept who they think us to be.

We can take the power of these labels away by reverting them back to their original forms, we can turn them BACK into Words. We can then choose new adjectives ones that better describe who we are,  (not just what the world sees) or better yet, we can choose adjectives that represent who we would like to be  and then prove ourselves right by transforming ourselves. We can go from “The irresponsible one” to “responsible” by challenging ourselves be present in our lives and do what is necessary to manage our lives. We have the power we just have to learn to use it.

6 thoughts on “What are Your Adjectives?”

  1. curious

    These are the adjectives I would use to describe myself and they are all words that I am proud of. Education is important to me, which is why I chose to transfer from a conservatory where I danced 24/7, to a liberal arts college where I could get a more “balanced diet” of dance and academics. I am curious about most things in life, and I wish I had time to explore them all. I have a bunch of other careers I wish I could pursue if I had the time. I just have so many interests! I am creative, not only in dance, but with other arts as well. I enjoy most art and am visually attracted to shapes. I would like to think I am funny, and sometimes I even laugh at myself. I can’t take things too seriously, or I’ll die. [not really… but you get the point]. And weird. Yes I am weird. I realize this and fully accept it. I’m just weird in the way that I might think about things in ways people might not think of at first, or notice certain things about people/surroundings that most people wouldn’t. Sometimes I just live in my own world, not in the space-cadet/heads in the clouds type of way, but just in my own mindset.

    I have just asked my roommate, whom I was friends with in high school as well, what words she would use to describe me and funny was the first word that came up, which makes me feel happy. She is a bit shy, and also doing homework, so that’s all I could get out of her!

    Thank you for this video entry. I fully agree with it 100%. We become what we are constantly told we are. Sort of like the idea of the “self fulfilling prophecy” in psychology. This is an interesting way to think about life and I am glad to have watched this video.

  2. I am so happy that someone finally brought up this topic. It has been a constant topic for me since as long as I can remember.

    When others describe me I often times hear:
    . light skin
    . big curly hair
    . muscular build
    . book smart
    . intimidating

    I noticed that we as people are always judging and are judged based on the physical attributes and not the internal characteristics about us that we hold close to our hearts. I am thankful for giving young and old people a wake up call to be content and happy within their own skin. Especially as dancers I feel we are constantly picked apart, which makes this video even more refreshing! I am going to use your advice and use 5 adjectives that I know about myself. So here they go:

    . unique
    . a good listener
    . kind
    . beautiful
    . intelligent (not only book smart but knowledgeable about the world)

    Thanks again for your wonderful video and advice. I look forward to hearing more from you.

  3. Hi T-ruth, thanks for sharing the video!

    I have found that the people in my life have a tremendous influence on the adjectives I use to describe myself. I have always been the responsible, studious, ambitious one. This may not be entirely true, but I feel empowered to be better as a person, student, and dancer knowing that these are what I portray. Without the influence of anyone I would describe myself as thoughtful, clever, and hardworking. These are the adjectives that embody me versus the ones that I strive to become.

    After I watched this video I went to my English class, and my professor discussed this exact topic. As a dancer, I more readily applied the video discussion to my actions and adjectives in the studio as opposed to the academic classroom. Hearing it in the academic setting expanded my horizons to consider this application of adjectives in the real world. On the first day a girl in my class announced that she did not feel comfortable with public speaking or sharing her work. Now, whenever it is her turn to share, my professor always encourages her to be confident even before she begins to read or express her discomfort. She has become the girl who doesn’t like sharing her writing. This is something she can overcome, but will not succeed at as long as everyone gives her the description of the girl who is bad at public speaking.

    Thanks for launching this new perspective for me!

  4. That’s wonderful, and isn’t it amazing!!! I find it interesting that the adjectives assigned to you do in fact align with the ones you have for yourself, I wonder which came first the chicken or the egg. As a dance instructor I have used these same techniques, I treat me students as capable, intelligent and responsible (even when they don’t show up that way) and little but little they become those things. We believe the things people say about us and true or not we become them which is great if they are positive and not so great if they aren’t. this is why having a clear picture of ones self is so important as is being honest about what and who we are with the knowledge that at any time we can choose again. Thank you for your comment keep following and take a look at the 4 tools, let me know what your think! have a great school year.

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