Please pardon the ”rant” and ”ramble” you are about to read…
Many years ago I formed a fairly solid belief regarding two different English phrases that Americans use FAR TOO OFTEN. With relentless abuse of these two separate sets of words it has inevitably caused the phrases to mean less, and less, and lesssssss over time… eventually resulting in two very important expressions meaning absolutely nothing.
The first one being ”I’m sorry.” I cannot even begin to tell you how terrible I am with how much I say this to people, even completely random people whom I would never truthfully apologize to in circumstances where it’s unnecessary. I’ve started to use it as a way to say ”excuse me,” or when I’ve been too blunt (and am not really sorry), or random situations such as these where these words aren’t truly appropriate. So when it comes time to say this to someone in the correct moment, where I am deeply sorry from the depths of my soul, it means absolutely nothing. I guess if you think about it thoroughly though, these words may actually be meaningless anyway. Because ”I’m sorry” never cuts it. Your actions causing you to use those words have already defined you. The only thing that can redefine you is your future actions. I guess what I am saying here is: you’re sorry, not sorry- so quick abusing the statement.
My second ”pet-peeve” phrase (the one of the two I am extremely delicate with is ”I love you.” I am not even sure anyone can truly tell you what love is- but we’ve all experienced a moment where we are daily sure we feel it… or think we do. I can tell when I’m ready to say it and I can usually tell when it’s a good moment to say it. But have you ever noticed when you repeat this phrase over and over, when you part ways, hang up the phone… when you say it all the time, it naturally loses its meaning. Then when you’re lying together, staring in each other’s eyes and this wave comes over you, hits you like a ton of bricks… in those moments when it’s the only thing to be said, it doesn’t mean so much. If you truly love someone, they will know it. They will feel it through your actions, sense it in your touch, they will know without you even having to say so. So why do people feel the need to say it so much?! If I walk out the door tomorrow and don’t return after work- I will know you love me. You don’t have to say so right before I leave- unless I feel it in your eyes or your soft touch against my skin while I open the door releases an energy so powerful it spills off my tongue.
I think those of us who overuse these words do so for our own peace of mind. We apologize to cover our tracks and we tell someone we love them to hear it back. Imagine how much more these two phrases would mean if we used sparingly. Strange to think about.
I have only told three men I have had romantic relationships with that I loved them. I won’t say it back if I don’t feel right about it. And nothing is worse than a man telling you he loves you, for your only comfortable response to be ”thank you.” I had a boyfriend once who was so persistent in telling me he loved me, which I didn’t reciprocate, that I eventually began replying with ”I know”, thinking he would stop. Sure enough, he didn’t.
The problem I think too many run into with the phrase ”I love you” is that there are no other words that can entirely replace them. In my current relationship, because I am so head-over-heels for this man, I want to tell him I love him nearly every second of every single day. Instead of devaluing the phrase I will slide in a few ”I like you”-s and I like to tell him that he’s my ”favorite.” Because I will tell you what, he really truly is my favorite. The point being no other words can fully articulate the emotion and meaning underlying in ”I love you.” You think that would make us more mindful of using the words- but it doesn’t. If anyone ever hears those words come out of my lips they can effortlessly rest assured that I mean what I am saying from the bottom of my soul. I will never tell another I love them for any other reason than the fact that I do.
However, when it comes to saying ”I’m sorry”, I say it on the regular. I am usually fairly conscious when choosing my words, yet not when it comes to apologizing. It fits in all too many situations where it shouldn’t. I am going to start challenging myself more often as it applies to saying ”I’m sorry”. It will be a hard habit to overcome, but once I am able to retrain my wasteful apologies I believe it will have a profound effect on my confidence. Because I am sure somewhere in my subconscious I mentally beat up on myself when I apologize (even in the most simple of circumstances where I am not in the least bit sorry).
Yet, that’s another thing about these two phrases… they should always be uttered confidently. Believing in the sentiment behind the statements is essential to their meaning. It’s hard to comprehend that these phrases have ceased to mean what they once had. They’ve become filler words and all-encompassing statements that amount more in levity than emotion.
Curly Kali Sue