In our stream of consciousness – that wash of different sensations, feelings and emotions – there’s so much to process that a lot passes us by. The feelings we have learned to recognize and label are the ones we notice – but there’s a lot more that we may not be aware of. And so I think if we are given these new words, they can help us articulate whole areas of experience we’ve only dimly noticed
Anyone of you who speak more than one language have at some point in your life paused awkwardly during a conversation to apologize – “Sorry, I was thinking with my %insertlanguage% brain”. There are many benefits to being multilingual, one of the best being that most languages have very specific terms to describe peculiar emotions, perceptions, behaviours, or even precise relationships that have no English equivalent.
The opportunity to leverage is that our worldviews affect how we lead [or cope] our lives, and our worldviews are created through the deep resonance of the linguistic choices that we choose to frame our reality. The deeper the reservoir of specific words that we have available to us – the more nuanced “emotional granularity” that we have to experience the world – the more opportunity we have to cultivate a richer life and engage a bit more deeply.
Certain people use different emotion words interchangeably, while others are highly precise in their descriptions.
Some people use words like anxious, afraid, angry, disgusted
to refer to a general affective state of feeling bad.
For them, they are synonyms, whereas for other people they are distinctive feelings with distinctive actions associated with them.
Tim Lomas is the creator of the Positive Lexicography Project, where he aims to document the panapoly of these maxims across all of the world’s languages and cultures. Current languages include: Arabic, Breton, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Huron, Sanskrit, Scottish, Swedish, and Yiddish.
Around here there is a lot of talk about amplifying your narrative, so as fundraisers we know the importance of leveraging the universal need to achieve self-actualization, and leverage all opportunities to translate any available cross-cultural essences in our communications in order to drive our donors to a strategically defined level of emotional granularity to better connect with our mission.
For example, how do your current thank you pages reinforce your love for your donor – translating the essence of Gigil [the irresistible urge to pinch or squeeze someone because they are loved or cherished] ?
As a leader, are you inspiring your team with sisu [extraordinary determination in the face of adversity] when your recent fundraising appeal hasn’t achieved its targets? Alternatively, how are you celebrating your team members achievements in hitting their fundraising goals while they bask in a sense of yuan bei [a sense of complete and perfect accomplishment]
Are the narrative that you are weaving leaving your donors with a sense of iktsuarpok [the anticipation one feels when waiting for someone, whereby one keeps going outside to check if they have arrived]
Is your onboarding strategy and are your impact reports to donors developed with the essence of sehnsucht [an intense desire for alternative states and realisations of life, even if they are unattainable] in mind? How inspiring are your narratives to addressing your donors’ orenda [the power of the human will to change the world in the face of powerful forces such as fate]?
The more granular your donors’ experience of emotion is,
the more capable they will be to make sense of their inner lives.
They might even inspire us to try new experiences, or appreciate old ones in a new light.
Get inspired and learn more about the Positive Lexicography Project here.
FEELINGS | Positive
Revelry, Pleasure, Cosiness/Homeliness, Savoring/Appreciation, Passion/Desire, Contentment, Joy/Bliss, Health, Peace/Calm, Nirvana
FEELINGS | Complex
Excitement/Intensity, Hope/Anticipation, Longing, Freedom, Aesthetics
RELATIONSHIPS | Intimacy
Friendship, Affection, Desire, Love
RELATIONSHIPS | Pro- Sociality Kindness, Compassion/Sympathy, Morality, Hospitality, Communication/Interaction, Communality, Relationship With Nature/Place