I love you, and I mean that

Far too often in life, people say things that they don’t actually mean.

And words are some of our most powerful weapons.

The movie Diary of a Wimpy Kid was on television over the weekend, and I was watching the first part of it until the NBA Tip-Off show came on before the game. The main character said something that made me laugh but then also made me start to think. He was referring to hearing a conversation in the hallways of middle school, and he said something along the lines of, “I don’t understand why girls our age can’t just talk like normal people.”

Welcome to the beginning of years of confusion, kiddo.

I think it’s really important to put meaning behind the things we say. If we pay someone a compliment, I think it should have sincerity behind it and not just be a way either to get a compliment in return or to flatter someone as a means of selfish intentions.

“Mean what you say, and say what you mean” shouldn’t just be a trite expression.

As much as I hate to admit this, there’s a huge population of people who tend to say one thing and mean something completely different: women. “No, I’m not mad.” “This dress makes me look fat.” “It’s not that important.” “It’s really cold in here.” “Give me two minutes.” “I don’t mind where we go eat.”

Much of the time, those things are translated differently than what your ears hear. “I’m very mad and even more upset that you don’t know why.” “Tell me how good I look. Now.” “It’s probably the most important thing in the world, and there’s no way I’m exaggerating about that.” “Turn off the AC, stat.” “This could take a while.” “I really only want to go where I want to go.”

I’ve never been in a relationship, so I’ve never used girl language in that regard, but I know there have been times in the past even with some of my friends when I’ve said things that perhaps I didn’t completely mean. But I’ve learned over the years how important it is to be upfront, because I’ve also been on the opposite end where people have told me things that they didn’t mean.

And that hurts.

While I don’t think people should be flat-out cruel with honesty–like saying, “Geez, your hair sure has seen better days”–I do believe in honesty that is genuine and pure. For instance, if you’re not interested in a person, it is better to let that individual know early on rather than leading him or her on and breaking a heart even worse later. Trust me, insincere intentions and broken promises are more powerful than we often realize. Sure, sometimes life happens, and you can’t always live up to what you say, but there’s a difference in that and knowing you won’t follow through with the words coming out of your mouth.

Mean what you say.

I also think we sugarcoat our own feelings when people ask us how we’re doing. A lot of the time, it feels like saying, “Great, thanks. You?” is simply the expected response. I don’t think it’s necessary to pour your heart out to a random person, but I also don’t think there’s anything wrong with responding with, “Well, things are kind of rough right now, actually,” when a friend checks in with you.

Say what you mean.

The poor kid in the movie just didn’t understand girls, and who can blame him? I think too many things are misunderstood because of what we say–or what we don’t say. If you say, “I love you,” mean it, because love is pure and shouldn’t be a word carelessly tossed around without true meaning behind it. The way that love is lived out will reveal how strong the meaning is behind the word.

In my efforts to live a life of more boldness, I’m trying to be more intentional with my words. So, hopefully if I ever get a boyfriend, he won’t have to have a decoding book handy to try to determine what I’m trying to tell him. It shouldn’t be that complicated.

Words are incredibly powerful, and the more meaning we allow them to have, the more beautiful this world will be.

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