Different cultures have many words that are not directly translatable to words in the English language. Some of the words are used to express very positive, specific feelings or conditions. A common belief in the study of languages is that if we value something we label it, so simply having these positive words as part of a language may speak volumes about that culture, what it values and how it perceives the concept of well-being. Lomas’ research is exploring these ideas and more.
Reading through the list of positive words Lomas collected made me stop and think about what words I would like folks to use when describing me. Those thoughts led me to think about how I want to be remembered by others, which made me realize I need to pay even more attention now to how I communicate with and treat others.
I also was struck by the beauty and depth of feeling these positive, descriptive words evoke. Here are some of those words that I thought were wonderfully special and would love to be part of my life and how others describe me . . .
Ubuntu (Nguni Bantu): the culturally valued notion of being kind to others on account of one’s common humanity
Orenda (Wyandot Iroquoian): the power of the human will to change the world in the face of powerful forces, such as fate
Kào pu (Chinese): someone who is reliable, responsible and able to get things done without causing problems for others
Suaimhneas croi (Gaelic): a state of happiness encountered specifically after a task has been finished
Fargin (Yiddish): to glow with pride and happiness at the success of others (often family members)
Nakama (Japanese): friends whom one effectively considers family
Kombinowac (Polish): working out an unusual solution to a complicated problem, and acquiring coveted skills or qualities in the process
How do you want to be described? How do you want to be remembered? What one thing could you do today to move closer to the you, you want to be?
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