Have you ever noticed that we say an awful lot of things that we don’t mean? We think it’s harmless but after a while you begin to talk yourself into acting out the things you say but you really don’t mean. You say them because you’re tired, upset, or angry. What you say is really important because it exposes the content of your heart. Here are ten things I hear people say all the time that I know they really don’t mean. And since we don’t mean them, we need to drop them from our vocabulary.
1. I don’t care. The truth of it is, we usually say this when we are hurt, upset, tired, or frustrated. We really do care but we don’t know how to respond. Saying it often enough leads people to believe that we really don’t care.
2. It doesn’t bother me. Usually the opposite is true. It does bother us. That is why we are saying it. We’re hurt and have feelings in need of expression.
3. I can’t take this anymore. This creates a false dilemma in our thinking and ultimately in our lives. We can take a lot more than we think we can. If we talk ourselves into giving up and quitting on our dreams, our jobs, our families, our marriages too soon, we’ll always be starting and stopping and never completing and knowing the joy of victory.
4. I wish I were dead. More and more when I hear people say this I perk up. People used to say this and not mean it, but these days you have to take people very seriously because suicide is growing among every age group. Be careful what you say about your physical well-being.
5. I’ll never be able to trust again. The truth of the matter is, you will be able to trust again if you allow yourself. But if you close yourself off and try to avoid the hurt of betrayal or letdown or disappointment, you’ll never trust again. But your life is going to be determined in direct proportion to your ability to trust other people. You can’t go it alone.
6. This will never change. It will change. We often think that trouble, problems, or adversity reverse or close doors forever when the truth of the matter is the situation is changing. We’re coming out of trouble as often as we’re going in. Things will change. If you’ll believe they’ll change, they can change positively by becoming proactive.
7. I hate you. We often mean the exact opposite. “I love you and I need you to respond to me because I feel there is a distance between us and the only way I can get you to pay attention is to raise the stakes by saying something hateful, hard, mean, or harsh.” Remember, words do matter. Sticks and stones will only break your bones, but words will break your heart.
8. I’ll never get over this. The truth is, we do get over it. We move on. All of life is about turning corners and making transitions. Relationships grow. Sometimes they grow apart and other times they grow old. You will get over it if you open your heart to the healing God offers.
9. I can’t go on. A person who says this is looking too far into the future. What they are really saying is they can’t go on this way forever. The good news is you don’t have to. All you have to do is get up each single day, put one foot in front of the other and do the next right thing.
10. It’s over. It’s never over. Hope never dies. As Studs Terkel said in his latest book, “Hope Dies Last.” It only dies when we let go of it. Hope is the best thing. It is a God thing. It is a gift from God to believe that the future can always be better than the present or the past. It is not over if you don’t want it to be over; not your marriage, not your career, not your dream.
These are just a few of the things I hear people saying I know they don’t mean. Instead of saying things that express hurt, pain, disappointment, or despair, start programming your mind with positive things, positive words, positive people, Scriptures. “Anything is possible to him that believes.” These are the words of Jesus. What we believe is what we say and what we say is what we believe. They work hand-in-hand, together.