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The limits of language


Our daughter’s language is EXPLODING this month. Berries! Bubbles! Book! Cheese! Dirt! Nose! Bunny! Flower! Owl!

She can generalize things into categories now. She knows that the big book and the little book are different, but they are both books. She knows that a rose and a dandelion are different, but they are both flowers. She knows that strawberries and blueberries are different, but that they are both berries.

Usually she puts things in the “right” categories. Sometimes she categorizes things differently than I would, like her stuffed lamb that she says is a bunny. Sometimes I put things in the “wrong” category by accident, like the stuffed penguin that I have been telling her for months is an owl (until my brother’s girlfriend pointed out the pretty obvious penguin-like features of this creature and blew my mind).

Language is important of course, and like any category or label, it is limiting. When I look at the sky and call it blue, are you seeing the same thing? When I name my experience as grief or gratitude, is it the same felt experience that you are having when you use those words?

Categories and labels take a felt experience and turn it into a cognitive concept. The blueberry that used to be a purely sensational experience of taste, texture, color, scent now has a label and an expectation to be like all the other blueberries in the blueberry category.

So many of the highly sensitive people I work with feel limited by language. They feel misunderstood and disconnected because they can not find the “right” words to describe the expansiveness, the complexities, and the nuance of their felt experience.

This is an invitation to stop trying to find the "right" words and to trust in the limitless power of your sensitivity.


p.s. I would love to practice yoga with you! Check out my free practice bundles HERE.

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