The words we listen to and use create our world. Words limit us or make our reality limitless.
Tara Westover is raised to fear every institution: governmental or corporate including schools and hospitals. Her family lives in the mountains of Idaho. They are off the grid. Tara never spends a day in school. When her brother suffers a life threatening head injury, they treat it at home. When her father is severely burned on half his body, they treat it at home. From a young age, Tara works in her father’s scrapyard and stews herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer.
The critically acclaimed book Educated by Tara Westover is a memoir of a young girl born to survivalist Mormon parents, who with no formal education, ultimately leaves her home to receive a doctorate from Cambridge. Westover describes vividly the push and pull and the real challenge of turning her back on parents who love her, yet simultaneously limit and put her in harms way.
Tara grew up with words ringing in her ear of her parent’s expectations for modesty and of the dangers which lurk ominously outside of their way of life. She grew up hearing her brother call her a whore and demean or extol her virtues as he chose. Westover describes brilliantly the challenge that people face when choosing to live a path other than the one set before them- especially when that path deviates from that set for you by people who love you.
Words matter. Invisibly sent through the air, words create physical reality. Words can stop us more effectively than a brick wall along our path and words can propel us more than the most powerful engine. As Westover strove to move beyond her upbringing from a family who loved her, she found herself physically pulled back to her home, she found her body and mind fighting to hold on to the reality with which she grew up, leaving her with mental and physical breakdowns. And all this, despite physical and emotional abuse which she endured growing up.
Words shape our thoughts and mind and in turn shape our actions. They are as physical as any object that can be held. The words we listen to and use create our world. Words limit us or make our reality limitless. So, if we are dealing with something we don’t like, let’s consider that what may be standing in our way is not another person or situation, but our own thoughts and words which we nurture in our own mind. Change the words and we change reality.
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