I have a good friend who is an outspoken advocate for persons with disabilities. You can often find her at the state Capitol talking to legislators or being interviewed for local and national stories on disabilities. She comes to this role as a result of something that happened a few years ago. She is a survivor of a drive-by shooting that left her paralyzed. She uses a wheelchair to get around, has a couple service dogs that take very good care of her, a personal care attendant and lots of friends to pitch in when she needs it.
Pretty inspiring, right? Well, not according to Jen. She always asks me why I think is it so inspiring that she gets up in the morning, takes a shower, gets dressed and goes about her day. Don’t I do the same thing every day? Of course I do, but I do it without thinking much about it. Without complications.
But she does give me reason to think about the use of the word inspiring and whether or not that word is an accurate description of what we truly mean.
So I paid more attention to the use of the word and I’ve come to realize Jen is right. It is an overused word. Take for instance some of these headlines :
I get it, these are interesting stories but are they inspiring? Are they inspiring in the same way that Jen inspires me to not take things for granted? Or the way that reading a good book inspires me to write more often? Don’t get me wrong; if articles like this motivate you to make changes, try something new, then who I am to judge. I, for one, am going to be more aware of what inspires me.