As a writer, I am annoyingly obsessed with words and their definitions. I have trouble when they are used in the wrong context, for the wrong reasons, or when they are overused and loose their significance. Which explains my aversion of the expression Mother Nature. I also find the languages in the western world limited, whether it is English, French or Spanish. How can we use the same word for meanings that are completely different. The funny thing is that our society spends so much time dividing everything else, minutely classifying every species that has lived on earth. We have numbers for each star in the night sky. And yet, in our every day language, we summarize and simplify.
SORRY. On one hand we use it as a feeling of distress, especially to express sympathy for someone else’s misfortune. And on the other hand it is a feeling of regret used as an expression of apology. Sympathy – Apology. There is a world of differences between those two. It is as if we were using the word apple for both apples and melons. Yes both of them are fruits but that is is. Beyond that they are completely different.
LOVE. How can we use this word for the person I marry and the friend I have. No wonder why some men have difficulties using LOVE for male friends. I can understand how someone who wakes up in the morning and says to his or her spouse, someone you have a physical relationship with, someone whose level of intimacy is of a different scale, I love you. Might have issues saying the same I love you to a really good friend later. The feeling is really different, and yet the word is the same.
In Spanish, people will often say, TE QUIERO for I love you. Not TE AMO. Te quiero means I want you. So now we have a possessive expression for affection. Love, which is supposed to be grand and profound is turned into a selfish order. There is nothing profound when I say – I want you.
DESERVE. I don’t believe anyone deserve anything. There is a righteousness in this word, like I have the right for something. It is a demand. It takes. It is like grabbing something by force. It is arrogant. Instead, we should use the word ‘worthy’. I am worthy of receiving. It is a word that implies a relationship. It is about trust and humility. It is about letting the world around you acknowledging your actions. Not you imposing them and demanding recognition.
RIGHT. I have the right for something. Again, a word that is connected to righteousness. I know I am a bit of an outlier here. But I believe no one is born with rights. No one has rights. No one has the right for clean air, or clean water. No one has a right for due process. No one has the right for equality. No one has the right for fairness. No one has the right for freedom of speech. No one has the right to carry arms. What we have are permissions, privileges, and benefits from living in a society that has values and priorities. These privileges are received when we enter a civic relationship with the society, a societal contract between an individual and the group. It is a partnership, a relationship where both commit to the other, in different ways, protecting and nurturing those values and priorities. Both parties understand these benefits need to be cared for and there are responsibilities involved.
IT SUCKS. It doesn’t suck – it is just not for you. “It sucks” implies that you are imposing yourself to the rest of the world. It is a blanket judgement on something that is not yours to judge. It might suck for you, but it doesn’t mean it sucks for everyone. Instead, we should say: “It is not right for me”. That way we don’t attack and put others on the defensive. What we are talking about here is communication 101 in marriages and relationships. When someone is hurt, you say, “I feel like”, instead of “You did that”. The former is humble and with respect. The latter is aggressive and leaves no room for discussion.