Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Three Hardest Words to Say???

Three Words Can Be Powerful!

Communication is so integral to bringing Goodness into this world.  If H. Sapiens (certainly the most powerful species on Earth) is to successfully implement planetary, societal and personal Goodness, then we better be good at honest and effective discourse.

To this ends, over time I have encountered three 3-word phrases, that though very meaningful in their own ways, seem to prove quite difficult for people to say.  "I don't know."  
"I was wrong."  and "I love you."  Before you read the follwing commentary, I invite you to chime in on the anonymous poll on the sidebar to vote for the phrase that proves most challenging for you to say.

In my opinion, the difficulty of voicing "I was wrong," most harmfully interferes with humanity's efforts to move forward on so many fronts.  Perhaps it is difficult because saying so is self-effacing at the most foundational level.  Nothing causes more criticism (spoken and unspoken) than a reversed national position, than a waffling political leader, than a fickle colleague or friend.   So much better to say nothing than to admit fault.  If we could overcome this aversion and see the phrase for its more positive valence: that we wisely examined other options and considered all the best and current information to redefine our position, we could make such amazing progress.  Perhaps the better rhetoric to wield in this case is "I stand corrected."  Once stated, we can move forward toward a better position.

I actually find "I don't know" the easiest of the three phrases to say myself.  Perhaps, because I have caught myself (and others) saying it frequently in casual conversation as a rhetorical filler response.  I have generally countered that rhetorical phrase with the retort "Don't say might actually start believing it."  There is a heartfelt sentiment in that response; to be sure, we shouldn't chide ourselves for being ignorant of a fact, or indecisive of what activity or task we might want to accomplish next.  We certainly should be more mindful of the words we use; as such, the phrase "I don't know" can be most amazingly meaningful when wielded consciously.  The phrase is at the very heart of beginning a search for true knowledge and wisdom. Admitting up front that we don't have the information to answer a particular question confidently permits us to begin the fact finding mission, discuss ideas with others, and eventually find the best answer possible.

"I love you."  The third phrase of the trio seems quite unrelated to her two brothers.  And yes, we stereotypically associate "I love you" with an effeminate stance.  For years, I had personally held this phrase sacred, to be shared with the woman who would be my true love.  Alas, I'm not a young naif any longer, and over the years I've come to be sure I end a phone conversation with my family members with this ultimate of epithets or the more casual "luv ya," if only because that could be the last words they ever hear from me.  This phrase carries such a diverse spectrum of meanings, however, that I leave it to you as individuals to figure out where it belongs in your friendships, romances and solo meditations.  Still, it would seem a better world where that phrase gets spoken more often, or at the very least, that we let the people that we care about know it, whatever the phrase may be.

Whichever phrase you selected in the poll, I now challenge you to think a little deeper about why and perhaps consider sharing in a comment why you chose it.

Goodness to you!


  1. As I was reminded yesterday life is fleeting. It is important that you not only tell the ones you care for how much you love them, but you also have to make the effort to reach out to them and make yourself available. Life gets busy & before you know it months have flown by without contact and if that person has gone you may regret not taking the time to spend with them.

    1. Your comment reminds me of the Buddhist proposition to vividly imagine the reality that one day you WILL lose everything: every possession, every person you care for, even your very self. Once you face and accept that eventuality, it opens one up to the beauty of those finite moments we have remaining.

  2. After a week of polling "I was wrong." wins out for the most difficult three word phrase. Perhaps we can overcome this difficulty by adding "I stand corrected" to our everyday conversational lexicon.


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