I’ve overheard a few comments lately and it made me realize that there are a few statements that simply never need to be uttered.
1. “You’d feel better if you stopped your bad habit.”
Fat people know they are fat and that they would feel better if they would eat less and exercise more. Smokers are aware of the Surgeon General’s warning. Alcoholics figure out pretty quickly that it’s the drinking that’s leading to the morning headaches and digestive issues. People who bite their finger nails, consistently skip meals, spend too much time gaming, procrastinate, obsess over clutter or do anything else to an unhealthy level are generally aware that there is a better way. Yet we humans are a flawed bunch with a tendency toward vice.
2. “That was a really stupid thing to do.”
This just happened to a friend of mine. He did a stupid thing. He got hurt. He missed work, got behind on bills. It was a fiasco. Looking back it was clear that he shouldn’t have done the stupid thing. Having it pointed out by multiple people did not fix anything. It did, however, go a long way toward humiliating him and adding to the depression he was experiencing from having his world crumble after doing a stupid thing.
3. “You can’t (insert dream here).”
Haven’t you ever heard of Helen Keller? The Wright brothers? That guy who broke the 4-minute-mile barrier? It’s not your place to squash anyone’s dream. You know what you can’t do? You can’t know the power of someone else’s passion.
On the other hand, there are some things that are very nearly always appropriate. If taking the above statements out of your vocabulary leave you with nothing to talk about, try these. You’ll pretty much never go wrong.
1. “I appreciate you.”
Don’t you just love it when people say that to you and genuinely mean it? I think it may be one of the best feelings in the whole world!
2. “I’d like to help.”
We’ve all found ourselves in a jam at some point. Maybe it was because life threw us a curve ball. Maybe it was because we made a bad choice. Either way, thank God for the angels who come along and lend a helping hand.
3. “I believe in you!”
When you put your heart on the line and share a dream with someone there are few phrases more wonderfully empowering than, “I believe in you.”
What would you add to either list?
Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?
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