Positive words uplift our moods, encourage growth and transformation, and soothe our sorrows. Words are fascinating, creative, and powerful. They express feelings, actions, ideas. They may comfort, educate, placate, agitate, irritate, excite or incite. We are encouraged to use positive words to manifest positive outcomes. In the midst of my first cup of coffee one morning, finding that I needed more inspiration than the cup of java was supplying, I got the idea of creating a list of positive words for each letter of the alphabet. Energized by enthusiasm, I procured pen, paper, and the tattered 2,000+ page, 4 1/2 inch thick, Webster's Deluxe Unabridged Dictionary, 2nd edition and settled in at the table in the chair across from my husband. As he was only half way through his first cup, he peered at me through sleepy eyes and asked me what in the world I was doing. I chirped gleefully about my early morning project, to which he smiled and mumbled something to the effect that maybe I should “get a life.”
Undaunted I began thinking about the possibilities. The letter “x” immediately came into my mind as being a challenge for coming up with a positive word, but as for the rest of the alphabet, I assumed it would be a simple task. A perusal through the “x’s” in the dictionary uncovered the words “xenial” and “xenium”; meaning respectively, “hospitality” and “gift to a guest”. I was off to an auspicious beginning.
I listed the alphabet down the page and next to the letter “a” wrote “abundance”; a positive word that has become somewhat of a buzz-word with the gurus of manifestation. Abundance is a wonderful word, as are “adore”, “amaze”, and “awesome”. Wondering what other positive a-words I could glean, I again perused the dictionary under the letter “a” with the expectation, a misguided expectation I was soon to learn, of listing dozens of positive words beginning with “a”.
I expected a proliferation of neutral words which proved to be the case as I perused the first few pages of the dictionary. However, I was aghast (an a-word, you notice) at the paucity of positive words compared to the numerous “negative” words. For example, in the first pages I considered aal (a plant), aam (a liquid), aardvark (an anteater), aardwolf (a carnivorous quadruped), aba (a fabric), abaciscus (a mosaic tile), abacist (one who uses an abacus), abactinal (situated at the opposite extremity of the mouth), and abacus (a counting board) to be neutral words.
One might have a personal negative or positive reaction to an aardvark or aardwolf, for instance, but in and of itself, neither is negative or positive. However, abacinate (to destroy the sight of by placing a red-hot copper basin close to the eyes … Yikes! horrifying thought), abalienate (to estrange or alienate), abandon, abannition (banishment), abase (to reduce to a low state), abash (to disconcert, make ashamed), abate (to beat down, lessen, overthrow), abattoir (a slaughterhouse), abdicate, abduct, aberrant, abet (once used to encourage, sanction, help; now used in connection with a crime), abhor, abject, abominable, abscond, and so forth have distinctly negative connotations.
Within the first three pages, I realized I needed to focus on verbs and conceptual words that evoke positive actions or imagery. The first positive verb within the “a” section was number 150, “abet”, which as noted above has come to be more commonly used in a negative manner and finally, at the bottom of the page, “abide” ( to rest or tarry). Three pages into the dictionary, 160+ words, and only a couple that had a positive meaning. I was astonished. Words and language describe and define how we perceive and experience our world.
Further perusal through the dictionary demonstrated the same imbalance of far more negative words than positive words. I began to think about the word “love” and how we use it so indiscriminately, which is lovely in essence, but does the excessive use of the word “love” relate to a lack of words in our language that imply or mean “love”.
For instance, we say or hear, “I love chocolate. I love my cat. I love football. I love to ski. I love my child, husband, wife, lover, backyard, sunsets, sunrises, mocha latte, and time off.” What do we mean by the word, love? Do we use that particular word because it has more a powerful emotional punch than adore or enjoy, for instance? Do we use the word love out of laziness; not thinking of another, possibly more appropriate word? Or, do we in fact use the word love because there truly is a lack of positive words that describe what we mean?
I suspect it probably is a little of each. Wouldn’t it be interesting to create words that communicate what we mean to say? Languages change and grow to accommodate our accumulation of knowledge and our experiences of our world. One only need listen to a group of teenagers having a conversation to experience the elasticity of our language. I can hear the groan of linguists worldwide at the suggestion of creating words, but what fun!
So, what do I really mean when I say, “I love my cat or I love chocolate?” What distinguishes them? The experiences of each are decidedly different. I savor the flavor of chocolate and the soft consistency as it melts in my mouth and I enjoy the aroma of chocolate as it wafts toward me.
Aroma, flavor, and melting in my mouth do not come to mind regarding my cat, thank you very much. I’ve witnessed enough regurgitated hairballs and held my breath while cleaning stinky kitty-litter boxes to identify my love for my cat in other than the flavor and aroma categories. The sound of a cat’s purr is soothing to me; it’s such a gentle sound of appreciation. The soft, silky feeling of his fur against my leg as he slinks and winds around me in response to the lure of the can opener makes me laugh.
To coin a word for loving chocolate because I savor the flavor and the aroma, I might say, I “savaroma” chocolate or I “meltsavaroma” or I “savorflavor” chocolate. For my cat, maybe I “purrfur” my cat or I “feelpurhappy” my cat. Then again, something seems lame and lost in the translation.
What do you think? Come up with positive words, original or made-up that describe the various nuances of “love” and e-mail them to me. They must be printable and in the spirit of positivity.