WordWatch: “My”

by Scott Noelle

Possessiveness is rooted in scarcity thinking, which undermines the natural tendency to expand joy through sharing.

We inadvertently teach our children scarcity thinking by overusing possessive words like my, mine, yours, Daddy’s, sister’s, etc. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these words, but questioning their use can help us shift into abundance thinking.

For example, imagine asking your child, “Do you want a bite of my apple?” Is the word “my” really needed? Why not simply call it “this” apple?

When ownership is emphasized, it sends a subtle message: “I have control over this.” It alters the child’s perception of the owned object, making it seem like a source of power. “Your” apple is more likely to become the object of a power struggle.

Improve Your Groove

Today, try to notice whenever you use possessive words, and ask yourself if they make you feel lacking or abundant — like a competitor (“that’s MY chair”) or a partner (“put your hand in mine”).

Originally published on 2007-01-10
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