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Beware Of These Common Words

I was recently told that we should heed strong caution towards using the words often, usually, most, more, always, never, and anyone. It was the very first time that I had heard something specifically like that. Surprisingly, I was not too shocked when I heard it. However, at the same time, I seemed confused and puzzled when I tried to think out the logic behind it.

I looked back and realized I do use those words regularly, not to mention how often those words are probably found throughout my articles here on Medium. Likely a few thousand times. So, what is wrong with these words? Why do they not fit in the conversations they’re being used in?

It wasn’t something I heard in an English class, or a grammar class, spelling or anything like that. So, we aren’t looking at this from those angles. You know, double negatives, same sounding words with different spellings or meanings, none of that. It was actually said to me, as it related more to ourselves in a mental way. The topic was “finding meaning,the meaning in us and our lives.

I welcome feedback or any thoughts any readers may have. Here’s my take on it. I may not agree with all of the words listed, but there are a few that I think I can see the reasoning on.

First, I feel that the always and never words are, for sure, overused. With a mental outlook, I can see the reason for the warning. As usual, it takes me back to not only mental health but addiction and sobriety as well. In conversations with others the words may not be outlaws as much as they are if we use them in self-talk.

We can make ourselves non-believers in so many things as it is. Even if we’re wrong. If we’re trying to get sober, and it’s a tough struggle to get a handle on, we don’t want to use a word like always, because we might say, “we always fu** up. We’ll never get things done, never succeed, and it’s all the other people out there that’ll always be better than me.” And how about the word most? I’d think that should fit into those similarities as well — when we’re telling ourselves that we will never be like most people and that we are always the one to make the most mistakes.”

What about those other words on the list? As I brainstormed today, I came to a conclusion that maybe these words follow the same concepts, but are perhaps more moderate, and not so extreme or dead-ended, like most, always, and never. I myself use the moderate words like anyone, often, and usually out of context sometimes. I likely asked myself negative things in the past. Questions that work backward in my quest for a healthy mind like “Why am I often the only one not like anyone else when it comes to all who are succeeding?”

The last word that was on that list is more. Now, I couldn’t come up with examples or reasoning quite as easy with this one. Is it wrong to want more? Sure, there are plenty of things we should want more of, but there obviously are MANY infinite amounts of things that we shouldn’t want more of. That list would be easy, and I could stay busy writing it 24 hours a day.

So, do I call these words “the words of caution?” We have to remember how powerful our self-talk can be. It can be destructive all in itself, without ever even having to hear another voice. The negative talk we tend to beat ourselves up with is going to be an occurrence throughout our lives that we must face. The exaggeration of it is what we should beware of.

What I’ve learned from this slightly vague and odd lesson is that it’s just another reminder of how important mindfulness is. If we lack it, those words of caution can go unnoticed and be used in the wrong way.

A final thought of mine is this, I’d like to say that I once was imprisoned by the same type of self-talk as was used in the quotes throughout this piece. I have since changed my life by changing my words.



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Michael Patanella

Michael Patanella

Author, Publisher, and Editor. I cover mindfulness, mental health, addiction, sobriety, life, and spirituality among other things.