Enormity vs. enormousness. While these two words sound alike, they have completely different meanings and an opportunity for an important mindset shift.
Isn’t that a Pinnable image!
I love words that sound similar, especially when they have completely different meanings. They are almost always an excellent opportunity for philosophical insight.
And blog posts!
I mentioned in the list of my favorite podcasts that I love listening to the Grammar Girl podcast. Mignon always has such great, practical advice and clever, funny examples of word usage. Her January 5, 2017, episode on using enormity vs. enormousness was particularly inspiring.
In the tradition of quick and dirty tips, here’s the gist:
Enormousness = hugeness
Enormity = horribleness
As a side note, enormousness is also really tricky to spell correctly when you’re typing as fast as you can (See the end of the post for all my misspellings.) That and the awkwardly pronounced “mousness” ending are probably why enormousness is used less frequently and misused often.
Maybe I’ll write a post on Christmasness, the enormousness of Christmas, or Christmasness enormousness for the holidays.
I thought these two similar-sounding words with completely different meanings could offer a little insight and practice into creating and building good times, or at least better bad times.
Spoiler Alert: Focus on…
In the controversy of enormity vs. enormousness, life’s enormousness is the healthier place to focus.
Life is huge, so much bigger than any of us, bigger than all of us. There’s our city’s life, our country’s life, earth’s life. Many even suggest there is life beyond our planet.
Life, in general, is comprised of multiple lives. There are present and past lives. Most of us have multiple lives. We’ve got:
- work lives
- home lives
- love lives
- play lives
- maybe travel lives.
There is human life, plant life, other creatures’ lives.
Life is Enormous
Focus on that. Also, focus on the fact that there is only one u in enormous and in enormousness.
All that enormousness can seem intimidating.
Life’s enormousness could contribute to life’s enormity.
It’s a grand opportunity for a Paradox of Choice. That’s staring at the Starbucks menu for the first time and not being able to decide because there are too many options. (HINT: Ombré Pink Drink!)
How Enormousness Creates Opportunities
Enourmousness creates places to go, people know, and things to do. Enourmousness is peace and hope lying just outside the extent of any situation’s enormity.
This brings us to…
Enormity is also big. It’s not as big as enormousness, but it’s huge. Enormity is just one part of life’s many lives. It is terrible for those in it, but there is always something better outside of it.
“There is always something bigger and better outside the enormity.”
– Shayne Seymour
From back in the old days, when we were far less dramatic and didn’t have Twitter, the original Latin meaning of enormity is:
‘deviation from legal or moral rectitude’ and ‘transgression’
I learned about that from Oxford.
Something about enormity draws us, though. It’s hard to take our eyes off it. It isn’t easy to take our entire focus off it. Maybe it’s that part of the brain that’s supposed to protect us, so it focuses on things to fear. Maybe it’s giving that part of the brain too much exercise and not working the more practical, more highly evolved parts of our brains.
That’s part of working for better bad times, working those parts of the brain that see the lessons in problems, that see the light at the ends of tunnels.
Practice mindfulness, so you learn to exist in situations and allow them to simply be situations rather than enormity.
“Focus on the Enormousness of Life, Not the Enormity.”
I like to end on a high, so let’s have an…
Understanding Enormity vs. Enormousness
Life’s enormousness can always eclipse any of life’s enormity. When something bad happens, life may seem horrible in the enormity of that situation. Remember, though, that the enormity of that one particular situation is minuscule compared to life’s enormousness.
Try that for a few days, even a few minutes. Just focus on the enormousness of life. Focus on its miracle. Focus on the miracle of you and your role.
Each of us is needed to complete a whole that is oblivious to our existence and importance.
We are both integral and insignificant.
I just blew my own mind.
Just for fun, here are just a few of my misspellings of enormousness:
Sorry, Grammarly. I know that was hard for you.
Question: What’s an example of enormousness bigger than enormity?
- Although we can’t prevent trying times, using a little diligence we can at least have Better Bad Times.
- To help build resilience in a controlled environment for when challenging situations inevitably happen, you can practice creating resistance on purpose so that you’re better prepared to face life’s enormity.