The Trouble With Words…

chrisassaadOne of the amazing gifts we human beings possess is our ability to use language to express ourselves, to communicate with each other and to describe the world around us. When we look more closely, it’s interesting to notice how the words we use have the ability to shape and color our experiences of ourselves, of others and our surroundings. In particular, I’ve come to realize that there are certain words that allude to states of being or states of affairs in such a way that distort our perception of reality, our ability to view life objectively and most of all, to find fulfillment.

The word “normal” is a good example. Another one is the word “enough”. And one of my absolute favorites is the word “perfect”.

All of these highly subjective words inherently imply there’s one standard or one way that things should be. Inevitably, as we use these words, we end up unconsciously measuring and evaluating our experiences, our selves, and others against them, often to find that something is lacking.

But there’s a huge problem with this.

What is normal? How much is enough? When is it perfect? Who decides how it should be?

Ask a hundred people and you will get a hundred different answers.

Whose definition are we using and is it serving us?

As an artist, I always fantasize about the “perfect” conditions for creating. A calm and cozy space, pristine silence, just the right amount of natural light, no interruptions, I could go on and on. In my mind, I could easily be convinced that when the conditions are perfect, my best work will emerge. And yet, you can imagine how having such high standards and conditions on my creative process could get in the way of my ability to create consistently and find enjoyment in my work.

As I’m writing this blog, the loudest laundry machine I have ever heard is roaring outside my window. Seriously. The natural light isn’t shining quite bright enough in my room and the lamp I have is too intense for daytime. My roommate is rushing out the door to an audition and wants to quickly touch base about a few housekeeping matters. I haven’t quite found a writing nook in my new place yet, so that cozy, calm feeling isn’t quite there. You could say that the conditions are far from perfect.

If I really identified with this perspective, I might convince myself that I should leave the writing to another time. Or perhaps I might conclude that this is not the ideal place for me to do my work and that I would be better off finding a different location. Who knows where that would be or how long it would take me to get settled in there enough to get the juices flowing.

In essence, all of this thinking would amount to nothing more than me not doing the one thing I really want to do in this moment, which is to write. And it all comes back to that dangerous little p-word, how I choose to define it and the perception it creates when I view life accordingly.

There are many words like this and the phenomenon I have just described is pervasive. We are constantly subjected to our society’s, our family’s, our friends’, our colleagues’, our partners’ and our own subconscious definitions and standards of how it, we, they, and life should be. And when we live life in the shadow of these often unclear, unattainable and illusory standards, we end up spending all of our time chasing our tails and perpetually seeking the next achievement, the next fix, the next bigger, better thing.

It’s exhausting.

And it completely cuts us off from being able to enjoy what we have, who we are and how it is right now. It completely hinders our ability to decide for ourselves what is normal, enough, perfect, successful and beautiful. Most of all, it often creates a sense that something is wrong or that something is missing, which leads to non-acceptance, which in turn causes unnecessary suffering.

And all we really want to do is play mindlessly, create courageously, express authentically, make a mess unapologetically, love deeply, connect intensely, sing passionately, dance carefreely, risk boldly and explore with curiosity.

Life has always been about the EXPERIENCE. Right here, right now. When we live towards some standard that isn’t even real, we miss the whole point.

The words we choose and use to describe ourselves and others, our relationships, our work, our experiences and our environments make a difference.

Let us choose wisely. Let us choose words that empower us, that inspire us, that uplift us, that fulfill us. Most of all, let us live within our own definitions of what those words really mean and what life is about.

Much love,



Chris Assaad is a singer/songwriter and inspirational artist from Toronto who left a promising career in law several years ago to pursue his dream of a career in music. Since then, Chris has been actively using his voice to enCOURAGE others to follow their dreams, express their creativity and live life to the fullest.

Connect with Chris via www.chrisassaad.comTwitter and Facebook.

Chris is also a member of the TDL Mentoring team. To learn more about the TDL Mentoring Program click here.

  • Gwen Skalitzky

    Love this….every single word…thank you….happy Sunday

    • Chris Assaad

      Thanks for reading Gwen. Hope you’re having a happy Sunday too!

  • Connie

    So true Chris. Many allow perception to be in control… And word have the power
    To affect our minds and create energy… Good or bad.

    Keep writing.
    Ps. Love Toronto.

    • Chris Assaad

      Thanks for reading and for the words of encouragement Connie! Toronto is a great city indeed. I will keep writing 🙂

  • Lile408

    Chris ,
    Lovely, Perfect, Amazing , Phenomenal, Truthful .
    Your words always are! Thankyou for the reminder that
    words are powerful and can be weapons! But oh how much
    better and loving it feels to use them in kindness and love.
    Very thought provoking my friend.
    Love and light to you always !


    • Chris Assaad

      Yes Lile! Words can be used as weapons or as wings. Sending you lots of love and gratitude for reading and for bringing your love and kindness to lift up today’s message.

  • An Bourmanne

    Love this post, Chris! Had to laugh out loud as you started describing the less than *perfect* circumstances in which you were writing this post.
    So agree with you – it’s a matter of starting where we are, with what we’ve got – right here, right now – instead of talking ourselves into procrastination and (day)dreaming, waiting for the *perfect* circumstances to arrive.
    Glad you didn’t wait! And you actually inspired me to write a perfection-busting poem about waiting for the perfect moment to arrive! (On my blog this Tuesday :))

    • Chris Assaad

      You nailed it An! Would love to read your poem, perhaps you could post the link to your blog here once it’s live so I can hop over and have a read. Sounds inspiring and I’m glad we’re busting perfection together!!!

  • Yolanda M.W.

    ❤Love your posts Chris! As always you’re right on! Thank you!

    • Chris Assaad

      Thanks Yolanda! Your words always make me smile 🙂 Hope you’re having an amazing Sunday.

  • Dinah L. Gaines-Perry

    Chris I am “Loving This” – Words have always been a passion & I am careful in choosing words I say & write – If people would I feel most of all “care” – have patience with serenity – stop – think – words will flow and speak & write from “within”

    Thank You For This Awesome Article That Gives Me “Flavor”

    • Chris Assaad

      Amazing Dinah! Thanks for your warm and loving words. You brought the flavor! 🙂

  • Carie Bean

    A perfect spot to create
    Too often we associate
    The perfect moment
    The perfect place
    The perfect amount of space

    The spot is HERE
    The moment is NOW
    The place is surrender

    Dance like nobody is watching.
    If you desire to write, then write you must.
    Someone said that to me once. 🙂
    Here we are as we touch the sky
    Watching and waiting as the words go by
    Lifting in spirit with the truth they suggest
    Fly with me dear soul. Share the words you wish to share. In the moment. Perfect indeed.
    Happily Carie

    • Chris Assaad

      Carrie! I LOVE this! I always look forward to your responses and i’m thankful to be able to witness the expression of your gift. Keep shining and writing my friend. Sending you much love 🙂

  • Heavenly Crafting

    I think sometimes we get to caught up in the how to be’s, I have learned that it always pays to have a pen and paper handy no matter where I am. Inspiration has a way of striking when we least expect it. My creative space is often in complete chaos, as it is quite small, and yet I do some of my best work amongst the chaos.

    There is a quote somewhere that the Amish deliberately leave mistakes in things they create and if there is not one they will add one as they feel mistakes bring them closer to God.

    Perfect is not only a subjective word but one that often stops us from flowing from a place of intuition and love.

    I love the concept of Perfectly Imperfect. I often teach my crafters ( I volunteer teach craft to people with mental illness) that there is no such thing as a mistake, because in truth those Mistakes or flaws are what makes something Unique and special and cause us to step out of our comfort zones and stretch our boundaries to seek solutions and often these things become our best work.

    It really does cut us off from flowing with creativity. I have found the best way to keep creative energy flowing is to use it each and every day no matter what the cirumstances.

    The best reminder I have of that was a 2 week meditation retreat, where I missed being able to write (no pens, no technology, no reading, no talking, nothing but nature, meditation and time to reflect) it was amazing to see how people found ways to express their creativity, drawing in the dirt, creating rock and flower sculptures. It shows that creativity will always find a way to be expressed no matter the circumstances if we just allow it to.

    Thank you for the reminder 🙂

  • Renata Dmytrasz

    Being a creative soul myself, I’ve heard the word ‘weird’ over and over again, until one day someone sent me an article that stated that weird comes from the old Anglo-Saxon root word ‘wyrd’ and means destiny/fate. From that point on, I embrace weird fully and whever I hear it, I feel ‘blessed’ and I take it as a compliment because it means I’m living my life on my terms, following my own ‘destiny’!!!

  • Jazzybelle267

    This article is right on. Are we responsible for how others perceive our words? Often what we say is perceived completely differently from what we mean…..stuff arises. Don’t let the behaviour (perceptions) of others influence your inner peace!

  • Aurelio

    Thanks, Chris, for another beautifully touching message… LOve, Aurelio.