Ban These Words for Better Mental Health
As a language major, I get that language is always evolving. We don’t say things like “how dost thine day goeth” or even “gag me with a spoon” anymore. (OK — maybe no one ever really said those specific things before, but you know what I mean!) However, there are some words that seems to be so prolific today, you can’t escape being bombarded with them. So, to protect what little sanity I have left, I’m banning these words from my vocabulary starting today — and I encourage everyone to try and do the same.
1. New normal. Yes, it’s new. No, it’s NOT normal. Nothing about 2020 is remotely normal! And quite frankly, the term “normal” is completely subjective. My idea of normal may not be the same or shared idea of normal to someone in Australia, China, or even my next-door neighbor. Life as we know it has changed dramatically and it really won’t ever be like it was before. If I hear “new normal” one more time, I’m going to scream. Loudly. And often.
2. Fake news. Contrary to what you might think, it’s all fake. 10 people can witness the exact same thing and walk away with 10 different perspectives of what happened, and fervently believe what they saw was “right”. In a world where there are 500+ channels on TV, endless podcasts, and global connectivity thanks to the Internet — everyone is competing for an audience. The more salacious the headline, the more clicks. As Ben Kenobi once said, “what I told you was the truth, from a certain point of view.” Everything we see and hear is from a certain point of view; and not necessarily yours.
3. I’m fine. This terse response is almost always accompanied with a snarky tone. And we all know when said, it doesn’t mean everything is good. In fact, it most assuredly means the exact opposite. So why do we keep saying it? Get rid of the passive aggressiveness and just say what you’re feeling. Try using things like, “I’m annoyed” or “That hurt my feelings” or “of course I’m not doing ok because you forgot to put the toilet seat down for the umpteenth time!” and see how it feels. Need more examples on what else to say instead? Google it.
4. But what about [insert anything here]. Maybe it’s just me, but when you’re talking to someone about an issue, giving feedback or whatever, and their first response is “well, but what about [X]…”, I want to slap them. Hard. How many times must you redirect the conversation back to the subject at hand by saying “I’m not talking about THAT; I’m talking about THIS…”?? Stop acting like you’re 5 years old and deflecting from the topic. Have a mature conversation, take some accountability, learn from it, and move on. This whataboutism crap should have ended after potty training (I’m looking at you, FOX News).
5. I’m just being honest. No, you’re being a dick. Just because you CAN say something ( and yes, I understand there’s something about this in the Constitution), doesn’t mean you SHOULD. I don’t believe everything needs to be sugar-coated or the message be so diluted it loses the original meaning and intent. You can still express your thoughts and opinions honestly, earnestly, and passionately — and still have manners. There’s nothing wrong with being honest. I just think some people use this as an excuse to justify being mean. And trust me when I say we need less meanness and more kindness in the world today.
Wow — I’m already feeling a little better by dropping those words from my internal dictionary. I’m sure there will be more hot buttons as time goes on, but these big ones just need to go. What else would you include on this list?