We have not passed that subtle line between childhood and adulthood until we move from the passive voice to the active voice–that is, until we stop saying, “It got lost.” and say, “I lost it.” ~ Sidney J. Harris
I lost my husband. I lost my marriage. I lost the future I expected to have.
Every once in a while I read something that hits me between the eyes and tells me something about myself. Using the active voice gives me a great deal more power than I have when I write in the passive. I have been conscious of that in my writing for years. (I even programmed Word to alert me when I use passive voice.) For those too young to remember him, Sydney J. Harris was a journalist. That means, of course, that he knew all about writing in the active versus the passive voice. But his quote above tells me that he had learned to apply it to his life and his attitude about life. That’s what I want to do. What must I do in order to accomplish this goal?
When I say things such as: “I was dumped by my ex.” or “My marriage was sabotaged by my ex and his sweetie.”, I am portraying myself as a victim. I am not claiming the power that is rightfully mine. I’ve started to think of it as a type of negative self-talk and it has to go. Even though those passive statements are true, stating them that way is not helpful any longer. Was I a victim? Yes. Am I now a victim? Absolutely not. Nor will I ever be again if I can remember to be active, powerful and assertive.
I talk to myself all the time now that I live alone. Sometimes in my head and sometimes aloud. I have recently become aware that the things I say to myself are often not very complimentary. I intend to stop it. I deserve good things and kind talk. And so do you.