The Most Powerful Word You’re Not Using

Words are seeds quote

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Short and Sweet Summary: When a hint of hope appears on the horizon and you start to wonder how to make widowhood more bearable, consider creating a new reality with the most powerful word you’re probably not even using.

The words you use matter. The way you define yourself and others creates your reality. I mean, you talk to yourself every day, right?

It stands to reason that the words you choose would have an impact on your outlook and quality of your life.

Other widows can certainly relate if you describe yourself as lonely, angry, or heartbroken. It seems obvious that a widow would use these words. On the other hand, describing yourself as content, happy or excited about your life or your future, seems contradictory. Almost bordering on blasphemous.

Like, how can “widow” and “happy” or “widow” and “excited” exist in the same sentence?

This is where the most powerful word you’re not using comes into play. If you’ve convinced yourself that you’re doomed and life as you know it is over, consider this:

You can decide that your thoughts and feelings and decisions don’t have to be a strict case of either/or. Try inserting the word and instead and prepare to blow your own mind.


I think the thing that trips up most widows is the idea that your feelings must be compartmentalized into one way or the other. That you’re destined to a life of misery because you can’t possibly miss your spouse and move forward at the same time. You mistakenly convince yourself that you can either miss your spouse OR you move forward. That you’re miserable OR joyful. You’re unhappy OR hopeful.

The thing is, you’re human and the human experience allows you to feel everything. Actually, the human experience demands you feel everything. If you’re only feeling worry, frustration, anger, sadness and anxiety, you’re missing out on the other half of your human experience.

I know what you’re thinking. You can’t feel positive about anything because the bad feelings have TAKEN OVER AND WON’T LET GO.

OK. I get it. I’ve been there, too.

But, I’m asking you to try trading out the word “or” with the word “and.” Just try. See what happens. What do you have to lose?

The reason “and” is the most powerful word you’re not using is because it ushers in a sense of hope by connecting your two disconnected worlds.


I bet you live in two worlds right now. The world before your spouse died and the world after. I’m sure you have no problem dividing your life into those two sides.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t divide my life into before and after at the beginning of widowhood, too. I did.

But after a while it gets to be a bit much to live in a constant state of fear and misery, doesn’t it? The grief and dread start to weigh on your already fragile shoulders and you wonder how you can possibly shake it off.

Well, here’s the answer to your burning question: you decide you get to be both of whatever feelings you have. You can be happy AND sad. You’re allowed to be scared AND excited. No one can deny the human ability to feel a range of emotions at the same time. You just need to believe it’s possible for YOU.

Use the powerful word “and” to connect your two disconnected realities. When you give yourself permission to feel everything without judgement or condemnation, you bridge the before and after. You realize your life isn’t a set of strict, unrealistic standards now that you’re a widow. EITHER/OR puts way too much pressure on you to live by impossible rules.

AND allows you to be the human, ever-changing, adaptable person you are.

Words are seeds that do more than blow around. They land in our hearts and not the ground. Be careful what you plant and careful what you say. You might have to eat what you planted one day.


When a hint of hope appears on the horizon and you wonder how to make widowhood more bearable, consider creating a new reality. A reality where widowhood doesn’t chain you to a life of misery. Where you give yourself permission to feel everything.

If you’re ready to create your new reality by using the most powerful word you’re not currently using, it looks something like this:

I’m determined AND I have bad days
Moving to a new house is scary AND exciting
Dating again is enjoyable AND hard
I eat healthy AND I have dessert
I love my husband AND I’m moving forward

That’s just for starters. What other examples can you find?

For me personally, I needed to stop convincing myself that my uncomfortable feelings were somehow wrong. I created a lot of suffering in my life because I (wrongly) assumed that if I had difficult feelings, I must not be doing something the right way. Well, it took me several years to figure out that I couldn’t pick and choose when the difficult feelings showed up. They came for me either way. But, what I did eventually learn was that it was OK to have both sets of feelings. The “and” feelings or the uncomfortable feelings alongside the pleasant ones. Things cleared up for me when I acknowledged both sets of feelings belonged in my life.

By creating this new reality, you’re really telling yourself that your feelings are important. All of them. You don’t restrict your new reality by suppressing and censoring your feelings. Instead, you open yourself up to a satisfying life because you allow AND, the most powerful word, to guide you toward new and rewarding experiences.

And you believe you deserve it.


When that little hint of hope appears on the horizon and you start to wonder how to make widowhood more bearable, use the word “and” instead of “or” to propel your life forward in ways you could never imagine.

It’s far too easy to get stuck in a loop of despair and misery while learning how to live as a widow. It’s HARD WORK to grieve, deal with changes, accept your new reality and move forward.

Hard, but not impossible.

Instead of limiting yourself to unreasonable ideas about how to live, remember that you’re human and the human experience demands you feel everything. You get to run the gamut of emotions and that includes the happy, positive emotions, too.

If you’ve been living by a set of EITHER/OR standards, it’s time to get out of that funk. It puts way too much pressure on you to live by impossible rules.

Start using the word AND instead. It’s the most powerful word you can use to give yourself permission to be the human, ever-changing, adaptable person you are.

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  1. Thankyou.
    That explains why some days I feel like I’m stuck in a rut AND other days I’m putting one foot in front of the other.

  2. Yes!!! I have left “AND” out of my life! Thank you for another informative article.
    I depend on your words of wisdom so much and it helps me each day.

  3. This post spoke so clearly to me! My current life is living in the “before” and trying to figure out what “after” looks like. Who am I now that my husband has passed and it is no longer “us?” Such a painful reality, but it’s where I am. Thank you for speaking words into my feelings.

  4. I just started my journey after losing my husband of 40 years to a motorcycle accident in July, 2020. Also lost my comfort dog of 13, in September 2020. Life as I knew it is gone. I have some days that are very happy AND I have days that I’m talking to him in tears. I started going through his clothes, put them on the bed then put them back. After reading this site, I donated his shoes today to Soles for Souls. It’s a start, hard AND I felt good about it.

    1. Denise, you’re an inspiration to others dealing with devastation and learning how to move forward. This is HARD WORK but you’re already recognizing that it takes small steps and the ability to feel ALL the feelings to handle another day. Keep on keeping on 👊 ❤.

  5. I love this website. It follows what my wife and I had discussed long before she passed. It has been about 12 weeks since she has been gone and it has been intense and hard. I am mostly alone and working from home. But if she were to some in the door tonight and see how I am moving on, would she be happy or angry? I made a solemn promise to her that I would enjoy the rest of my life. That doesn’t mean having another wife (although I am open to that, not now though).
    How else can I live without making my wife happy if she was here. We have been together 27 years. She had cystic fibrosis, and she was in the hospital every year for at least 3-4 weeks. Sometimes we were not sure that she would live out the year with all the complications. So we lived for the moment for 27 years, and that has made all the difference. She had a double lung transplant in 2014, liver resection in 2017, and bile duct cancer came back and took her down. I am still devastated, but i have hope in the promises I have made to her. I refuse to let grief get in the way of our 27 years of happiness. And your website is one of the very very few that follow our ideas to conquer grief. Life is short, I am a great guy and have a lot to give. I ‘choose’ not to let grief take over our wonderful time together. Thank you so much for this site. i only ask that you mention that it is also for male widowers. Males might just turn away based on the ‘female type’ theme. We males are fragile inside also, and could use some great help your site offers.


    1. Hi Kevin, thanks for reading and responding. I think your wife would be proud of your outlook and happy that you’re following her lead to make the most of each day. Grief is HARD WORK but we honor those we’ve lost by living this short, precious life in the best way we know how. And it sounds like you’re doing just that. Thanks for the important reminder ❤.

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