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The same guy who got me thinking about owning a cell phone also reminded me about the word hate. I said that “cameras hate me”, and he replied that he hardly ever uses that word. I’m surprised that I used it, since I’ve been making a conscious effort not to use it as much.
Why would I do such a thing? Well, I think we use some words too often, and in doing so they lose their real meaning. “I hate X” is something we say all the time, but do we *really* hate that thing? Most often the answer is no. We just dislike it. Maybe we dislike it a lot, but it’s not really hate.
I’ve been trying to use the word less for a couple of reasons. For one, I don’t like the feeling it brings up in me when I say “hate”. Also, I want to be more articulate and a better speaker, so using terms that are more accurate is important to me. I don’t actually hate cabbage, I just think it’s smelly and unpleasant. I could honestly say I hate when extremists use God as an excuse for horrors against humanity. It’s a big difference.
It actually takes awareness and active thought to change our way of speaking, but it’s something that I think we’d all be better off for doing. It’s easy to do what you’ve always done, but more rewarding to learn to be better. Many people don’t think it’s worth the effort to work on such things, but I do. I think it’s well worth the effort to speak more clearly and be more careful about the emotions and ideas that I draw up in myself and those I speak to.
Now the word “love” is a different story. I don’t feel so bad about using that. It brings up good feelings. To say I love something makes me feel good inside, and that’s something worth feeling. I am careful about saying it to people though. I think “I love you” gets used so often in some relationships that it ends up meaning about as much as “hello”. I believe that saying those three words to a person should be reserved for times when you mean it with all your heart and soul.
Are you mindful of how often you use the word hate? Have you tried to use some words more or less? Do you feel it’s important for people to be aware of what they say and what it means to those hearing it?