Losing yourself.

Most times when I try to explain how I feel about what words can do, I often feel like I am meeting them for the first time. It’s in the slight smile and searching eyes, but I know I am speaking to a subject most would never spend time considering in their leisure.

But I do.

Maya Angelou said it best when she said, “Words are things.”

For me words are as real as concrete and can be as painful as falling. They can bring people to falling in love, they can carry them to see joy to see pain. Words are vehicles to me and since I was little I’ve traveled through whole worlds. I’ve connected with people continents away and brought people I cared for even closer. I love words even when they cut, because they do so deeply. I think that words are the most powerful tool in the box that comes with being an unruly human. They connect us, and by virtue of being uttered at all, they connect us intrinsically to each other.

Over the weekend, I came across a TED talk by actress Thandie Newton about what connects us to “otherness.” In it she discusses the obsessive pursuit of self we have in our culture and how it affected her childhood as well. And I hadn’t thought of it fully in depth as she explained, but she is absolutely right. With the millions spent on self help books yearly, the rise of new age experts who claim to help others with the task of “finding yourself.”

As important as it is to know who you are and what you stand for, it’s equally important to know what makes you lose yourself as well. And the two concepts work in hand. Without being sure of your weight, you’ll never be able to measure what portion of yourself you can give to the world. It explains misplaced love, explains bitterness, explains shutting down, explains why many of us find life this hard keeping walls up.

I think only when we find the places we loose ourselves will we ever know the passion we have to share. In a world where every impulse is to build self, it takes a stronger person to give themselves away.

Today, become aware of the places your passions overcome your self. Give and trust the world a little bit that it will come back around.

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  • I love Maya Angelou so much… I love her books, but I also love those little quotes that she’s said because they are so true. Words ARE things, and sometimes their effects are as tangible as those of anything else in the physical world – be it good effects or bad ones.

  • Maria

    Powerful article. Thank you.

  • fayana

    Thank you, Leslie. Your writing is beautiful. Clutch magazine is a collective of wonderful and inspiring writers…

  • Tashia

    Great article!!!!!!! Thank you, much needed