I came across a statement this week from Krystin Clark via social media: “I am not a single mother. I am an independent parent.” It stopped me in my tracks. As a woman who has defined myself as a single parent for the past three years, I was struck by this reframe. It is subtle yet powerful.
Self-definitions have a significant impact on well-being and state of mind. To identify as a single mother brings up images of vulnerability and fragility. A lone woman facing the world with her child. To identify as an independent parent is a statement of strength and assurance. It says: “I can do this on my own. I can stand on my own two feet.”
This pivot has caused me to stop and think about other ways I am limiting myself through self-definitions and self-talk. What are the stories that I assume to be true? How can I create space for something else? Words are either powerful tools or weapons, depending on the context; and they must be used with care. It is important reflect upon them regularly or we run the risk of boxing ourselves into a corner without even realizing it.
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