I touched on lazy language in my earlier post about the word hate. Here are a few more:

Love. Probably tied with “hate”, I think this is a horribly overused word. What exactly does love mean to you? Would you risk your life for love? I know there are many, many things I like very much, but very few people who I Love (with a capital L). So, as with hate, when you catch yourself using this word, think about what you really feel. Do you really love your car, that big-box store, the sandwiches from the local deli? Like my mantra for hate, when I catch myself saying I love something, I have to say the odd-sounding, “I hate that I love!”

Good/Bad. These are judgement words. They have no meaning except when the measurement is clearly understood by all. It’s better than what, exactly?

Never/Always. Think about this one. What would you never do? Whenever I ask this question the immediate answer is, “I’d never kill someone!” What if someone you really loved was kidnapped and you had the power to save them but only by killing? The old saw, “Never say never” is more accurate than you’d like to believe. Always works the same way. You always do that? Every single time, without fail? I always brush my teeth in the morning. Until I’m sick to my stomach and the thought of a minty toothbrush in my mouth makes me gag.

We live in a world of illusions, and our language is a small window into that illusion. It’s definitely the hardest part of my current practice, but being aware of what comes out of my mouth (and when I’m opening it) is one of the things that has made a noticeable difference in my life.