8 Simple Sentences We Must Say... & Hear
Words are powerful things. I've been thinking lots about this. I wake up early many mornings to write words, to create worlds. What I write, how easily the words come, affects the rest of my day. Throughout the day, I say words - to my sweet girls, to my husband and sisters and mom and family and friends and strangers, and to myself. Too many words to count and remember and fully process, but these words create a landscape, a life.
I've also been thinking about words and how they often fail us. How, sometimes, there's just nothing to say or nothing right to say. I'm sure all of us have felt this at times; this haunting paralysis, this freezing up, this not knowing. But I've realized something: it's always better to say something even if it feels simple or trite. Our sentences need not be long, flowery things. They can be tiny, and true.
The following is a list of sentences I think we all need to say, and mean, and hear.
1. "Me too."
Grammatically correct or not, this is such a powerful combination. When we reveal self or struggle and someone says these words, everything brightens. We are never truly alone; most everything we deal with or will deal with has been lived before. I find tremendous comfort in this and it's one of the main reasons I blog, to remember the universality of much of human experience, to see the common threads.
2. "I'm sorry."
Two meanings here. First, we all mess up, but the important thing is that we see our messes, that we own them, that we apologize. Second, when someone suffers a loss or another tragedy of sorts, sometimes the best thing we can say is just this: I'm sorry.
3. "Thank you."
Gratitude is immensely important for the thanker and the thankee. Thanking people we know and don't know for things big and small is central to happiness. How many miserable people have you seen at Starbucks huffing and puffing and failing to thank the barista? It's not hard to utter these two words, but how do we train ourselves to think them more often?
4. "I love you."
We all want to love, and be loved. Beyond that though, we need to say it and hear it. I'm of the mind that we cannot utter these words too often or too much. Ask my girls; they hear these words a lot. Husband too. I would argue that saying and hearing this trio at the end of a phone call or before bed can be a big boost to happiness.
5. "I see you."
I believe that one of our most profound human desires is to be seen for who we really are. We want to be noticed, respected, understood if possible. I would wager that seeing and being seen is at the core of love. When we stop seeing and being seen, things tend to fall apart.
6. "I don't know."
Maybe my favorite. There is so much of life which cannot be known and this is what makes life interesting and grand. Questions abound and there aren't always answers. We must allow ourselves to cop to our rooted ignorance, to admit that there are things we can't know. It's often a relief to say these words, to hear them, to feel them.
7. "I'm here."
Again, a good pair to use when something hard is happening. There are situations we cannot fix, but it is important, imperative, to let people know that we are indeed here. When I lost Dad, these were the words that buoyed me. Yes, they were uninteresting and unoriginal, but they helped me. Because what I needed to know was that I was not at all alone, that there were people there, here.
8. "I miss you."
My dear friend Rachel added this one to my list. She's moving from New York to California next week. We've talked lots about her move and we are both sad because we are close and envisioned raising our kids side-by-side. But she will go and build a beautiful life on the other coast and we will talk and text and visit and use these three words. Also, these are important words to think or say to those we have lost. Sometimes when I'm staring at a picture of Dad, my eyes water and I mouth these words. I tell myself he can hear them.
Thoughts? Do you have any tiny sentences to add to this list?