The other day I overheard one of my coworkers tell another, “Thanks for all you do,” and it got me thinking about the power of words.
That phrase has lost its power as far as I’m concerned. At work, everyone says it to everyone and I’ve come to think it’s not necessarily sincere (though I’m sure a few people actually mean it). It’s just what you say.
Just like when you ask someone how they’re doing. You don’t really care, it’s just what you say when you greet someone in America. (International readers, do people do this in your country, too?) The answer you get is usually just as meaningless—“good,” “great,” and “fine.” No one ever tells you how they really are.
I’m the awkward person who likes to give a real answer because being genuine is important to me. (I don’t do it with everyone, though, because it weirds some people out.) But I expect the same from those I ask—I’ve told many people that I ask them how they are because I want a real answer, not some fake, society-approved response.
Why do we get in these ruts where we say things but don’t really mean them? It’s a habit. I think we’re just doing what’s expected of us, trying to make people happy. But we don’t really care about the answers because we’ve got our own stuff to worry about. I mean really—who has time to sit around and listen to what’s going on in someone else’s life? (I hope you know I don’t mean that.)
So I’m challenging myself (and you, if you’re up for it):
Don’t say something unless you mean it. Be intentional about what you say. Think about your words and the effect they have on the people around you.