Inside, a part of me always recoils when the word ‘spoilt’ is used against me. Yes, against me. Against me as if the word is an attack – although the user wielding the word often doesn’t realise it’s a weapon.
I doubt anyone is foreign to the phrase ‘you are spoilt’, I know I am guilty of wishing people ‘get spoilt’ for their birthdays like it’s a beautiful state of being. It’s a phrase I grew up hearing around birthdays, Christmas, and any other gift-giving situation. Even then, there was something about the phrase that irked me: why would we use such a negatively connotated word in a situation where our actions are positive by design?
Gift giving is an act of generosity, love, and celebration. In my life, I have learned to be appreciative and accepting of all gifts – even the ones you dislike at first because they didn’t fit inside your idea of a ‘gift’. In the end, those unexpected gems tend to be the most rewarding.
In stark comparison, the word ‘spoilt’ suggests that the recipient receives ‘too much’ or is undeserving of whatever is gifted to them. So why are we using this word and dismissing the beauty of gift-giving for all involved?
When I think of the word ‘spoilt’ I think of food that has gone off, so when the word is used against me, I find myself thinking ‘I’m not an off person because of this gift’. In response, I often verbalise: I have worked hard as a defence against the word as if I need to prove I am deserving. No one should have to prove they are worthy of a gift; we are innately worthy of love and generosity. It’s not about the size or price of the gift and entirely about the act of thinking of another and appreciating them with a surprise.
I often gift my family and friends with sweet messages and notes about how much they mean to me, or how inspiring they are. Those gifts cost a two-dollar card or a few minutes and are the most rewarding gifts I have ever given.
I’m practicing more awareness around my daily language and how words make me feel – especially the word ‘spoilt’ – as our body’s responses are the most honest conversations we can have with ourselves.
Comment below and let me know what word you’ve taken out of your vocabulary and why!