There are words that are not toxic by definition but they are toxic by use. I’ve used them too much. I hear them too much.
The three worst words in the English language are:
We’re all too freaking busy, myself included. It’s the battle cry we utter when we’re looking for some respect from those around us.
We hear and say things like:
I’m so busy but it’s a good busy.
Busy’s good though, right?
We’ve associated busyness with success such that we feel guilty for resting, relaxing or reflecting.
The other day I woke up in the middle of the night and I couldn’t get back to sleep. My brain had the throttle stuck in, “Faster than necessary” and I thought about everything in my life. I was stressing because I was trying to mentally keep up with how busy I was, what friends I had to get back to, what projects I was working on, what research I needed to do, how I was filling my days, how many new Instagram photos should I take (I just got my first iphone) and such and such.
I was able to regain control of the runaway brain by reading a book for a little bit but it was scary to see how quickly the busy brigade hijacked my neurons.
Busy’s danger is that it solely rewards activity without considering the intent.
Oh you’re working at a job you absolutely hate, spending money you don’t have, starting projects you don’t believe in, seeing someone you don’t even like and hanging out with friends who drag you down? At least you’re busy! Good for you!
This one word shackles so many of us for years and years. It forces us to live lives we don’t enjoy and forgo some of the things we want to do, to hopefully be able to afford to do them one day. It’s like a bad back but worse.
We’re taught something like this:
Between the age of 22-60: Worry about if what you are saving will be enough for when you retire
Between the age of 60-Death (If you get to 60): Worry about if what you’ve saved will be enough to carry you through so you can die on a mattress one day.
Huh? No thanks.
No, I haven’t taken any money out of my 401k, but this idea that we are all going to turn 60 and then simply put our feet up, give a finger to the world and shut our brains off for the next 40 years is nonsense.
Of course, it’s smart for everyone to save money and invest because you will have other financial (and of course, emotional) responsibilities to provide and prepare for down the road of life.
But we have an obsession of saving money to die.
I am not advocating a life of reckless spending, but there’s also no reason to live in a prison of fear because of what you think might happen in your life 30 years from now.
I’d like more than 1 U.S. dollar in my savings account when I’m 60, but I’d also like to enjoy mini breaks throughout my entire life so I’m not paralyzed by the idea of retirement and how I’m going to handle living when I’m not working one day. On the flip side, I don’t see reaching the age of 60 as a time where we should stop necessarily being productive.
There are smart, educated risks everyone can take in life that don’t have to always be shadowed with, “Yeah, you could do that, but what will you do when you retire?”
Should admits knowledge of the correct line of action so as to give you some sort of self worth but in the same stroke of one short syllable, its utterance admits that the action will surely not be taken. By saying should, you are choosing to do the opposite of what you know is right.
Should is worse than can’t, won’t, and wish by at least three body lengths.
- You know you should go running, but you choose not to
- You know you should spend more time with your loved ones, but you choose not to
- You know you should get out of that relationship, but you choose not to
- You know you should not eat that cupcake, but you choose to do so
Should comes out when we’re exhausted, when we’ve made too many choices in a given day, when logic isn’t strong enough to trump emotion and when we haven’t put enough thought into our motives.
But there’s another reason should rears its ugly head. You know the things youshould be doing to improve yourself in someway, but you are respectedenough by the people around you that you don’t feel the need to do it.
Even though I feel better about myself for claiming higher intentions, I’m not going to actually do it (go to gym, put in work, write that copy, refrain from eating junk food) because my friends and family already respect me and like me enough that it’s not worth fighting the iceberg of change. Why should I go out on the limb of sacrifice & vulnerability when I can just acknowledge that it would be beneficial if I did?
Shame on you, should. Shame on you.
What are the words you find most toxic in your life?