I think contemplate might work, but I am wanting to add more tension to it. Trying to communicate the idea of reflecting/thinking/exploring one's thoughts and feelings on a subject (spiritual in nature); but with real agony and no forward progress or change.

The subject is trying to be openminded and fair, but keeps bumping up against her own preconceived notions. The "work" of contemplating might not be enough to overcome these existing beliefs. While she wants to fairly consider, deep down she is holding back out of fear of what this new revelation may mean for her.

Example sentence:

A young millennial woman _________ her definition of normal.

  • 4
    Hi Katie, welcome to ELU! Can you click on the edit link at the bottom of your question and provide an example sentence (preferably with a little bit of context) where this word would fit? I'm tempted to suggest re-evaluate but there may be better ones out there if you can give more information.
    – Hellion
    Jan 6, 2019 at 5:58
  • Not a verb, but pensive gets to the point.
    – Phil Sweet
    Jan 6, 2019 at 18:08
  • If the contemplation stemmed from an event, such as making a social blunder at a party, then you can reference the event and the emotional states. The adverbial expression more soberly is often found in this role :)
    – user205876
    Jan 6, 2019 at 18:45

1 Answer 1


She then realized she would have to reassess her definition of normal.

  • reassess - verb - "to think again about something in order to decide if you should change the way you feel about it or deal with it"

1. It is important to take time every now and then to reassess your values and make sure that you are actually living your life in accordance with your values.

2. "My first year at Boston University forced me to reassess my definition of diversity."

3. "...we need to reassess our definition of 'optimal'."


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