Our words are counted | Be Wise Professor

Words are our most powerful way of speaking. Pay close attention to them.

I have been amazed at how often our words fly by using them over each other without any real sincerity towards them. Have you observed how punctuated and meaningless our exchanges must become? We seem to have normalized meaningless exchanges, devoid of any authentic meaning. The real target, the real investigation, and the real concern have slipped into the ether as we verbally transact with each other in a robotic way. “Our words are counted”

What once became a deep and substantial exchange, “I love you,” has been reduced to “I love you.” Very often, the person who says “I love you” may not truly love the person he is talking to. It feels superficial and you can wait for the moment of its pronunciation; in carrying out a conversation or the farewell of approaches. We have replaced the “goodbye” announcement with “I love you”. And in doing so, we have degraded the elevation of the phrase love.

Do you love me without a doubt?

By genuinely adding the phrase “I” back into the expression, you commit to a deeply authentic and emotional offer. And if she really wants this statement to go deeper, say it at a surprising moment, not when she’s parting ways with the company. Spontaneity speaks of sincerity, predictability is of memory. From time to time, I get text content from my son without any prompt where he writes, “I like you dad.” That, along the way, makes me smile and warms my heart.

Our sentences are counted. The words we choose to carry our mind and feelings. Aside from non-verbal communication, phrases are the heartbeat of our relationships. As we misuse our words or truncate our sentences to save time, we dishonor ourselves and our relationships. We have predetermined the abbreviated language for text messages. As I walk out of a store or eating place, I can anticipate hearing “Have a nice one.” Of course, that’s the same number of words as “Have a nice day.” There is no time stored there. Yet there is something numb in my ear as my day has been subverted to the phrase “one.”

How are you?

Often one day we can also walk past an acquaintance and say, “Hello, how are you?” the other person smiles, says, “great and you?” And we may respond in a similar way. Are we each always right? That is a rhetorical question, of course. Some years ago, I was taking a walk on my way for a cup of coffee. I ran into a parking attendant I used to be familiar with outside at a neighborhood restaurant I frequented. This gentleman and I had some interesting conversations in the past and I asked the predictable, “How are you, Jacques?” He smiled and said, “I’m going to complain.” I smiled back and continued my walk. “Our words are counted”

Moments later I had an idea: his answer could support two different things. Either Jacques has nothing to complain about or he literally couldn’t afford to complain, the emphasis on the phrase, he can’t. I was wondering which one became the case. A few minutes later, now with coffee in hand, I met him again. I explained that he wasn’t sure if he thought everything was going well or if he was uncomfortable complaining. It took him quite a while to break through his resistance until finally he said, “I don’t provide my matches because no one can be fascinated.”

be honest with yourself

I explained to Jacques that after asking him how he became, I cared and absolutely wanted to know. When we greet each other and ask each other mechanically how we are, without either of us simply responding, it becomes an exercise in inauthenticity. We act like indifferent strangers. We isolate ourselves from human interaction. We can do much better than that. Jacques’s notion that no one could care is false. I did. It may be that many do not care, but why get ahead of the people who do?

To be real with yourself, you need to be real. Without going into details, your solution may sound like “I’ve had better days.” That opens the door to genuine interaction. You never recognize what could evolve from that. But at the very least, you’re being honest with yourself. It’s actually crucial to being true regardless of what you believe of any other character.

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