I hate mornings. I hate being broke. I hate my life.
These are all things I hear almost every day from people who don’t really even mean it. While it’s a strong way to make a point, it’s doing more harm than good.
Saying “hate” when you don’t mean it can start out as a joke, but soon it becomes ingrained in daily vocabulary. This does two things:
- Other people may come to see you as an unhappy, therefore most likely unpleasant, person
- It seeps its way into your mind and convinces you that things really are as terrible as you say they are
I’m not going to say I’m free from this habit. I still say “hate” much more often than I’d like, but I’ve been working on becoming more conscious of it. In fact, if I find myself complaining about something, I force myself to think of at least one thing about it that I truly appreciate. It’s raining? What a nice way to cool down! It’s too hot? What beautiful sunshine! (You get the picture).
I came across this Bible verse that struck a chord with me as I was writing this post:
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29
It’s a great reminder to watch our language and make sure it builds others–and ourselves–up. Reducing your use of negative and harsh language is a simple step to a better day. Here’s what I say instead of “hate”:
- I don’t like it
- I’m not a fan
- It kind of sucks
- It’s lame
- What a bummer
- That’s wild
- Holy cow! Yikes!
- Sweet Cheesus that’s awful
Again, you get the picture. Whatever comes to mind, especially if a pun is appropriate. If a friend is absorbed in this negative language trap, lighten the mood by cracking a joke or lower the intensity of the language by one or two notches, and work from there.
So here’s a challenge for both you and me: become aware of how many times a day you find yourself declaring extreme hatred for something. If you can catch yourself before you say it, don’t say it. If you can’t, simply keep track of the numbers and evaluate at the end of the day or week what you might be able to do to start using more positive language.
And, yes, the fact that I’ve written this blog post gives everyone the right to point out whenever I use the word “hate”.