Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"Just" Words

“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.” 
-Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

I am painfully aware of how often I use words to diminish what I say.

Sometimes I wonder if I am too politically trained- I can flippantly hold a conversation about something that I think is funny or about favorable topics, but the moment I have to say something that is going to sound bad or harsh or make someone consider my words carefully, I start throwing on softeners- for example, the word just. I use just to contextually tell people that my words matter less than they should. It makes what I have to say seem small, as if it's not really all that important. All of a sudden, I can hear myself say things over and over again like "It's just how I feel" or "I just think that..." 

And it's terrible. Because not only am I damaging my sentences. I am damaging my integrity. 

Words like just imply a non-truth. They are shields we hide behind because we are afraid of offending others or embarrassing ourselves. We don't want others to honestly know what is going on in our minds, but we also feel strongly enough about the topic that we refuse to keep silent. We fight with ourselves over considering the feelings of the conversing people or keeping our opinions quiet. And in the end, we come to this soggy middle ground where someone may still not be happy, our opinion hasn't really been stated, and nothing has been accomplished.

I need to remove these softener words from language. I want to start only saying things when they actually need to be said, and even if they are hurtful or embarrassing, I don't want to hide my true feelings. I want to be transparent and honest and the kind of person who other people take seriously because what comes out of my mouth is not frivolous or ill-considered, but is instead important.

And I want to stop thinking in terms of softeners. I want to let myself be and feel and think without needing to wonder if what I am going through should just be a small thing. I believe that this all stems from a mental self-consciousness- I wonder if other people would think as hard or feel as strongly about my own considerations and let that change how I value them. I don't want to be wondering if I "should" be feeling and thinking things, but rather, I want to allow myself to just be part of whatever is going on in my heart and in my mind.

Psalm 19:14 says "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer." I am making this my prayer for this coming week.  If I let God dedicate the direction of my life and my thoughts, I will be staying under the truth He embodies. My words will be headed in the right direction. And even if they are hard to hear, they need to be real, and not cushioned. I want my words to be true, and weighed only against God's standards and not mans.

And I am getting rid of just from my sentences.

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