If you follow my blog you’ll remember that on Tuesday I talked about words that need to be used more often because of how wonderful they were as words, and if you don't follow me then now you know (and you should go check out my last post!). But most people, when I asked them what words don’t get used enough, didn’t talk at all about the beauty of syllables or meaning or sound. Instead, they focused on words or phrases that we’re all taught are important at a young age, but then stop using as well or as much as we should as we grow up. So, because it’s a topic worth thinking about, here are some phrases that I think we should use more often because they’re worth using wel.
1. “It was my fault”- We all want to think we’re wonderful (we really do, it’s a psychological concept called illusory superiority), which means we don’t want to believe that bad things can be our fault. But we can only grow when we admit our mistakes, at least to ourselves.
2. “I’m sorry”- It’s uncomfortable to say that you’re sorry. It’s an admission of guilt, a way of saying not only that you understand what you did was wrong, but also that you feel it was in a way that’s far more personal than simple acknowledgment. If we are to truly not repeat our mistakes though, we need to apologize and mean it.
3. “I couldn’t care less”- This is less meaningful than the others, but I wanted to address a pet peeve of mine. The Phrase so widely used, “I could care less,” means that you actually care, which isn’t at all how we use it.
4. “Thank you”- We all made it to where we are thanks to the guidance, help, and often flat out altruism of so many other people. Whether it’s a teacher who inspired us that science could be riveting or a parent who took the time to teach us the value of money, others helped us to all our successes. And those people deserve to be thanked far more than we thank them.
5. “This is bad”- We’re all taught to be polite, and part of being polite is avoiding hurting others’ feelings. But when we lie to the people we care for about their ability, we prevent them from learning what they’re good at or improving on what they’re bad at. We don’t need to be cruel about it, but we should be honest with our friends about how bad or good they are at the things they do and try.
6. “Pet Peeve”- It’s pretty much the only thing that can make Americans say “peeve,” which is just something that needs to be said more. It’s also just fun to imagine what a pet peeve would look like. Do you have to walk it?
7. “I forgive you”- It’s not easy to forgive those who hurt us, and not everyone deserves forgiveness. But until we do forgive, we often carry around a lot of anger and pain. Forgiveness is a way of claiming victory, of shedding those feelings and saying that we refuse to have our feelings defined by those who wronged us.
8. “I need help”- Part of believing that we’re awesome is believing that we can succeed on our own. Admitting that we can’t often feels like admitting that we’re inadequate, and this is both scary and frustrating. But getting help when we need it not only allows us to conquer challenges we never could on our own, it allows us to learn and grow until we can conquer those challenges by ourselves.
9. “How Are You?”- This is one we say all the time, but rarely mean. So often we use it as a conversation starter, and when we’re asked it we reply with the generic “good” or “fine.” But when we say it and truly listen to the response, and when we answer honestly about how we’re doing, we call that friendship.
10. “I love you”- This one makes me sounds beyond sappy, I know. But I’m not saying I wish we all could join hands and sing Kum-Ba-Ya together, because I know how naïve that is to hope for. This is me saying there are, for all of us, people we care about and who matter to us, and we should let them know.
I hope that you enjoyed this list, and that reading it makes you think about how we talk to each other, just like writing it made me think about how I talk to my friends and family.
With excitement and optimism,