Episode 211: Word Swap I am to I feel
You’re listening to Live Free Creative, an intentional podcast with practical tips for living your life on purpose. I’m your host, Miranda Anderson. And I believe in creativity, adventure, curiosity, and the magic of small moments. I hope that every time you listen, you feel empowered and free to live the life that you want.
Hey there, friends. Welcome back to Live Free Creative podcast. You’re listening to episode number 211. Today, I’ve got another word swap for you. These are one of my favorite types of episodes. They’re fairly simple and straightforward, and I think they’re really. I’ve had a lot of people mention previous word swaps to me before that they’ve heard on the show and recognize the way that those simple changes in the way that we use language have made a big impact.
So I wanna call out really quickly the last few word swaps that I’ve done in those episodes. You can check those out if you are interested, and then also introduce today’s word swap. The first word swap that I introduced was back in episode 100 and. That was changing the word, but for the word and to be a little more inclusive and supportive of the different ideas that you’re expressing.
The second one was episode 152. This is where we swapped out the word should, which I don’t think any of us should say in our lives for the word could. And I gave some fun acronyms for how you could get around saying should, and be able to identify the shoulds in your life as things that are. Imposed on you by outside sources.
Then in episode 176, we swapped the word change, which for whatever reason in our culture, carries with it a sort of negative connotation for the word opportunity, which carries with it a positive connotation. And then more recently in episode 202, we swapped the word. For the word learn in order to help with our growth mindsets and our openness to learning through the ups and downs of the processes that we go through in our lives.
In today’s word swap, I wanna introduce the idea that we switch out the words I am before an emotion, and instead replace them with the words I feel before an emotion. I’m gonna share a little bit more about this, but the basic idea is that when we are able to create some space between our emotional lives and our core identities, that we both process emotions.
More readily that they feel lighter and easier to carry, especially negative emotions, and that we are able to maintain some confidence in our core abilities and our inherent worth, even as we’re experiencing the ups and downs of a regular. Appropriate emotional life. This word swap is one that I’m currently working on, employing in my own life when I feel tempted to say I am and then express a whole bunch of usually negative emotions, follow that phrase,
I’m trying to give myself space to pause and replace. I am with, I feel in order to express what I actually mean. that I feel all of these emotions and that’s normal and healthy and and can be good and can contribute to my ability to see things more clearly. And also that I’m not, my emotions that the different ups and downs that I might experience as part of my life aren’t taking away or adding.
Who I am at my core, when my inherent worth and abilities stay intact, I have a reservoir from which to pull some of those long term confidence building characteristics and strengths, I can rely on those as being in my inner tool chest, even as I may be struggling or battling with a temporary. Obstacle or challenge in my life.
I will talk more about that as we get into the episode after a quick life lately, Segment
live lately, this episode will air the first week of November. It is going to be a slip slidey time into the holiday season. I. I have been reporting weekly on my mini-series Happy class about school, which is occupying about 90% of my brain space, and my schedule right now, so I won’t. Touch on school very much and I’ll try to give you a little scope of some things hap happening in my life outside of school.
Very little that may be interesting. So first I mentioned a couple weeks ago, we went on a camping trip and I think I had gotten my dates sort of mixed up because. We actually just got back. It was so fun. I had to postpone one day because of some schoolwork that I hadn’t finished. It was kind of funny.
My kids thought it was hilarious that the reason that we weren’t going camping on Friday and had to wait until Saturday was because mom hadn’t finished her homework. Wwa. I did finally get the papers I needed to, turned in by Saturday morning, packed up and we headed. To what is our new favorite campground?
If. In the Virginia area, it’s called Stokes Fill, and it’s a great little, It’s not little, it’s big. It’s a great big private campground with really fun mountain biking trails that lace through the camp sites. You can take RVs and trailers for a whole section of like RV camping. They have hookups and everything.
If you have one of those, and then they have a bunch of tent camping sites that are all nestled into these beautiful canopies of trees. We have a very favorite site that backs up to the field where there’s a fun playground and a pavilion for meals. And there’s also like a telescope hub thing right on the campground campus.
I don’t actually know. I don’t, we didn’t go check it out, so I don’t know exactly what it is, but it, but it’s like a dome for night sky viewing. I think that it’s privately owned and, and not something that’s accessible to the public. One reason I find that notable and this trip reminded me of this stokes feel that area is.
Super, super dark at night. It’s not nearby any cities and so there’s very little light pollution, which makes the star gazing incredible. I was commenting, we had friends come join us for camping and we were watching the stars and you know, pointing out the couple constellations that we could, and I thought it was so interesting that sometimes when there’s so many stars, being able to recognize constellations is even more difficult.
There’s like billions of little tiny ones that you don’t see otherwise. That kind of muddy the, the picture where if there’s this kind of happy medium of enough light pollution, that it fades out all of the background stars. Then the only ones that you see really brightly are those, you know, super bright, more common constellations.
This camping trip was particularly fun because it. A little bit themed. One of our favorite things lately to watch as a family is the TV show alone, which originally aired on the History Channel. Netflix picked up season eight, and so we started with season eight watching on our Netflix subscription, and we became so hooked that we have now bought previous seasons on Prime Video, which is where you can like access the earlier seasons.
The premise of the show is taking 10 survival experts out into the wilderness and seeing how long they can survive alone. They are dropped with video equipment, so there are no camera people nearby. I’m assuming. They give them some sort of instruction on how to set up a shot because the participants videotape themselves.
Videotape. I was obviously a child of the eighties. They film themselves. Definitely digital cameras, , and you get to see them start from zero with their pack. They’re able to choose 10 items off a long list of tools and supplies, and they start from. Figuring out where to build a shelter and how they’re gonna start a fire and gathering firewood.
And what are the local food sources? And that involves, you know, berries and mushrooms and wild onions and forging. In addition to hunting the types of things that they can hunt. They are all equipped with bow and arrow. There’s no, there are no fires. There’s no fire starters. They’re using flint and steel or like bow drills.
It’s really fun because it’s not like reality tv. I mean, it, it is real, but it’s, I think because of its foundations in the history channel there, it’s really educational. It’s not dramatic in any sort of a false way, like the drama is. The reality of being dropped in the wilderness and needing to survive.
I’ve been fascinated with the level of skill and innovation and creativity that these participants come up with. A lot of them have this deep desire to stay longer than they’re able to. They are medically extracted from the field because of having frostbite or starvation levels and, you know, things like that.
Up close and personal. Look at wildlife in these really remote areas is also so beautiful and fascinating. So with that in mind, we framed a little bit of a, an alone themed camping trip. We brought our tents and our cots and our sleeping bags and all of those things. But we did a couple fun sort of. I’m gonna use the word gimmicks.
I mean maybe just like ideas or, or, uh, aspects to the camping trip. One is that I created our own list of tools and supplies and let the kids choose 10 so they could choose if they were gonna sleep in the tent, if they wanted a sleeping bag, if they wanted to use flint and steel, if they wanted to bring snacks, if they wanted some cord and a tarp so they could build their own shelter.
Uh, there was, you know, the availability to use a hatchet, Of course, with some, some parental guidance. It gave them the sense of having some of this, you know, evaluation of what might I need when I’m out there and what could I use? We didn’t hold back things from them, like even though one of our kids did not choose a tent, we still allowed her to sleep in the tent because it was gold overnight.
It just was a fun way to kind of get them thinking about what they would choose. In this situation. I also planned to hide some food stuffs in the campsite, so I had, I’d got some vegetables, some onions in alone. They’re often forging berries and onions and mushrooms, and so I put on, I put onions. Like wrapped the bottom of them in plastic bags and kind of buried them in the leaves.
So you could see the sprouts of the onions, green onions, chives, almost, um, sticking out of the leaves. But the bottom was, you know, protected from whatever bacteria may have been in the leaves. I put mushrooms in glass jars and kind of tucked them under like a tree root and tucked a few of those around.
And, uh, so I had, I had planted, you know, quote unquote planted some supplies that could be forged in the campground. And then we also, A kid starter bow and arrow set like an archery set. So that, and put up a target on the tree. And we told the kids that they would be able to. Have protein with their dinner if they were able to hit the target.
So kind of simulating the idea that the only way that you get meat in the wild is if you’re able to hunt it. The whole beginning of the camping trip had this vibe of these sort of survival skills that the kids had watched on alone. They forged the food. They thought it was really funny. St stood staring at these green onions, sticking outta the leaves, and didn’t recognize that they were separate from the, just like the actual natural growth that was there.
It took them a minute to recognize, Oh, I can pick those. I can eat those, and everyone had such a good time with the archery set. Eventually, everyone did hit the target and they were able to add. Protein too. We ended up making a big potato soup with mushrooms and onions and um, had berries with our s’mores.
I don’t know how we found marshmallows and chocolate out in the woods Foraging. Magically they appeared, uh, both Elliot and Plum built themselves shelters plum used to tarp and some para cord between two trees to set up like a basic a-frame tent structure that she, it was too cold for her to sleep in it overnight.
It dropped down to the thirties overnight, but she did play in it all day and had such a good time building it. Elliot was really ambitious and he dragged fallen logs from all around the area to build himself. Uh, Half of a log cabin. He built maybe a three and a half to four foot high cabin structure, and he ended up sleeping in it overnight.
He covered it with a tarp. He put leaves in the bottom for cushion and then bundled up in his mummy sack his sleeping bag, and slept the whole night cozy in this, in this little log cabin shelter that he had put together. It was really fun. In addition, The survival aspect. We also hung out in the hammock and got to spend time chatting with our good friends and let the kids run around and play on the playground.
We cooked s’mores and we threw these really cool, I’d never heard of these funky flames. They’re like this, these little chemical packets that you throw into the fire to make the fire all different colors. Apparently I’m late to the game because I talked to a couple different people about this and they’re like, Oh, yeah, we’ve seen those around, but I, I had never seen them and I thought they were really fun.
To just add this sort of magical aspect to the fire. Late at night, we were able to stay warm with the fire we cooked over the fire. Enjoyed just being outdoors and because my school schedule has been so high impact, being able to leave my computer home unplug from my phone for a couple days and just be out under the canopy of trees, the leaves were changing, they were falling.
Like we, as we sat in our campsite, we were just watching as the leaves fell down and littered themselves all over the site. It was really beautiful and a good reminder. That being able to just get outdoors and unplug is a really great way to reset regardless of what else is happening in your life. It will definitely be our last camping trip of the year.
It’s. Getting cold and it was kind of a perfect medium of warm enough during the day to be comfortable and then cold overnight, but you were comfortable in your sleeping bag. I think as it gets a little bit colder, it’s not gonna be quite as pleasant, so we’ll have to put a pin in camping again until the spring.
It was really fun and I’m glad we got a chance to go out and do that. That is one fun aspect of life lately.
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Let me get into sharing a little bit about this word swap today. One of the first things that came to mind when I was considering sharing about this was how English is such an interesting language because we use the word AM for both temporary and ongoing states, even though that’s not necessarily accurate.
In Spanish, for example, you use two different words to mean I am depending on whether the, the state that you’re talking about is temporary or permanent. So in Spanish, the word say it’s a verb, say it means to be. But it means that you are that way forever. For example, some more permanent states would be descriptions of things that are unchanging, like the color of a building or an occupation.
Even though that can change, it’s like a, a more core identity characteristics of a thing or a person. Times origins, different types of relationships. In contrast, there’s another verb that means I. A verb two B that you use for more temporary states when you use the verb as star. I’m gonna say those. I mean, they sound so funny.
Sid and Est Stud. When you use aad, you’re talking about positions or locations like I am at the grocery store right now, but I don’t live at the grocery store. I’m not like embedded in the grocery store. You’d use AAD for being at the grocery store, actions that you’re taking, conditions that are changeable.
And emotions, emotional states, for the most part, you’re going to use this temporary verb, and when you use that, you’re recognizing that although you are feeling. Sad that you aren’t sad as like an inherent characteristic of your being. For example, you may say in Spanish that you are a happy person using the verbs.
Said that this is like soy feis as my core. I’m a happy person at my core, and right now I’m feeling upset. So even though I am happy using that permanent state, I. Currently upset using the temporary state in English. We don’t use two different verbs to express temporary and permanent ways of, of being.
We just have one. We just use one most often, and that is I am our verb to be. Would you know conjugate into a personal statement? I am. I am happy. And I am sad. I am a teacher. I am a woman. We use it for, you know, I am at the grocery store, I am at home, I am in Virginia. All of these different temporary and permanent states, we use the same verb and it can be confusing because we start to integrate into our identity.
All of these different things, even though not all of them are inherent parts of our identity or we, we might not want them to be. One way to get around this complexity and to be a little bit more clear with the way that we use our language is to swap out am for feel. When we are discussing emotional states, our emotions are not inherent aspects or characteristics of our.
Although we all do have different emotional set points where some people genetically are predisposed to be more pleasant or more happy, and other people are predisposed to more negativity or being a little more cynical with some of those more core characteristic. My idea, I think that this would be backed up by research.
I didn’t look it up, but I, I would assume that it will benefit us to think of the positive ones as more ongoing or inherent and the negative as changeable or temporary just to set ourselves up for a success. However, you know, outside of those internal identities with emotional characteristics, like traits rather than emotional states.
Our emotional traits are one thing, and a lot of the time when we’re talking about emotion, we’re not talking about our core emotional traits. We’re referring to emotional states that are temporary, and yet we’re using the word AM as if it’s part of our inherent being. When we change that word to feel.
We’re using a more appropriate clear verb to describe a temporary emotional state. I am optimistic, and right now I feel overwhelmed, upset, and frustrated. Do you see how the feel creates separation instead? Attributing my emotions to my identity with the I am statement. I’m creating the separation between who I am and what I feel.
By being clear with the words, a lot of us actually mean I feel when we’re talking about emotion. And yet, just because of cultural conditioning and the way that we are often fairly unclear as a society with our language, we’re not as precise using words as we could possibly be. Many of us will say the words I am before emotional states, fairly frequently.
In fact, I want you to think about an expression of emotion that you’ve used recently, whether talking to yourself in your head, or talking to a friend or family member. Does it come naturally to you to say, I feel when you’re expressing emotion? I feel overwhelmed. I feel stressed out. I feel happy, I feel excited, I feel enthusiastic.
Or does it feel more natural to say, I am overwhelmed? I am so stressed out. I am at the end of my rope. Isn’t that interesting how even just to my ears saying I am sounds more natural than saying, I feel Because it is so common when we consciously and intentionally begin to use the verb feel with a emotional states.
We allow ourselves to process emotions more easily. We create separation. We’re able to identify our emotions as different and separate from ourselves. And that simple ability, even just being able to name it and see it separate from who we are, invites us to process it. Differe. Yeah. Rather than feeling like we are the problem, we have a problem, we feel something, you know, it’s not always a problem.
Our feelings aren’t always a problem. Our feelings are, can actually be, be quite neutral. And when we see them as such, because they’re feelings, they’re not our identity, they, they’re something that we feel and they’re outside of our inherent wholeness. We can decide what to do about it if we need to do anything at all.
Sometimes we just need to feel it and recognizing that we feel the emotion we are not, the emotion can be really helpful. Our brain operates in conscious and unconscious ways, and when we talk about our feelings as part of who we are by using I am statements with emotion. , our neural pathways, our brain starts to create an identity with those emotions, and it becomes really easy to slip right back into feeling like that thing is al.
That emotion is always going to be present because it’s part of who we are, and that can lead to a feeling of hopelessness, hopelessness, and, and negativity. This idea that we. Overwhelmed that we are stressed out, that we, these are emotional states that are not going to go away. They’re not temporary or they’re, they’re part of our lives and we can’t do anything about them at that point.
One of the characteristics of negative speech patterns of pessimism in speech is using universal language to describe negative emotions. That’s exactly what I’m talking about using, I. Or this is something that’s going to last forever. And not using a temporary word like I feel, but thinking I am is a characteristic of negativity that can lead to hopelessness.
Where when we switch, I am for, I feel we are automatically putting our emotional state in a more temporary situation. I feel overwhelmed. It invites the door for that feeling to go away at some point for me to do something about it, For me to acknowledge it and process it rather than accept it as just a default state.
This word swap seems and sounds fairly simple. and it is fairly simple. I think bringing it to your awareness through this podcast is a very good first step for you to start acknowledging when you’re using which of these words and how you might benefit from making the swap so that your negative emotions are always recognized as temporary and maybe you’d, you’d be interested in consider.
Your positive emotions to become adopted as part of who you are. To think of yourself as someone who’s inherently optimistic and who’s inherently strong and, and, uh, empowered. And that that can serve as a buffer against some of the more negative states that may come along with unforeseen circumstances or challenges or obstacles that you’re facing.
If you can build up. Character and your traits, Things that you want to be unchanging as positive I am statements and diminish some of the hold that a negative emotion can have over you. By using the I feel statements, that more temporary verb, then you set yourself up for feeling better, more. For being able to access the tools of empowerment and creativity and imagination from your inherent toolbox to use with these temporary obstacles, it can become really powerful.
Even though it’s very simple, it can become really powerful. So I wanna invite you to consider trying out this word swap using, I feel when you’re talking about temporary, emotional states, rather than I am. And see what that little bit of distance can do for. I mentioned that I am using this right now in my own life as things are a little bit of a rollercoaster over here, and I’m feeling lots of feelings.
I am feeling them. They are not who I am. I have the capacity and capability to tackle the challenges and obstacles in my life, and I know that you do too. Thank you for listening, for giving me your attention today. I hope this helps you feel a little bit better. I’ll chat with you next week. Bye-bye.