The Twelve Dirty Words of 2020

Carlin’s list of seven dirty words you can never say on television famously received a citation from the federal government.

The supreme court upheld that those words were the ones that would infect our soul, curve our spine and keep the country from winning the war.

And yet, there are so many other words out there that inflict far more damage than a harmless term like piss.

Today we’re going to explore a dozen of them. Twelve particular pieces of language that have personally caused me a disproportionate amount of suffering. Each one will be paired with one question that challenges you to think about the degree to which that word might be causing you distress.

1. Deserve. Are you constantly keeping count of you feel you’re entitled to?

2. Fair. When did you start believing that cosmic justice revolved around you?

3. Expect. What is your ego clinging to that you vehemently refuse to let go of?

4. Demand. Does manipulating life into granting you all of your desires actually work?

5. Must. Are you escalating your normal wishes and preferences into absolutistic desires?

6. Earn. How would your stress level be different if you believed that the labor was reward enough?

7. Insist. Which dream are you destroying by requiring it be fulfilled instantly?

8. Right. Do you get trapped in thoughts about what should be coming to you?

9. Have. Does manipulating the world to coincide as nearly as possible with what you think you should have?

10. Owe. What good fortune do you already have that you’re taking for granted?

11. Entitled. Are you conscious about what you have established as expectations for yourself?

12. Should. What is your dominate emotion when things don’t turn out exactly how you hoped?

Each of these twelve words points to the same thing.

Buddhists actually have a word for it. Upadana means attachment, clinging and grasping.

It’s the first noble truth, and the primary source of suffering in the world.

And once we learn to let it go, not even the supreme court can keep us down. 

What dirty words might be infecting your soul?


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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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