The Tossing of Powerful WordsEveryone has their pet peeves, and writers are certainly no exception. We get grumpy about poor word choice, shortcuts in spelling, and especially about grammar mishaps. We put so much time and attention into these things that we forget that others don’t. But with all these gorgeous words around us, why choose to say something that’s been so over-used that it ceases to mean anything at all?

Case in point, my pet peeve: Love to death, as in, “My best friend Sally? Oh, I just love her to death…”

Yes, I get that you love Sally, and yes, I get that you’re not trying to be literal. But then, why say it? You just wasted an opportunity to say something real by grasping at a melodramatic phrase instead. If it came down to it, in the truest setting, would you lay down your life for hers?

If you have to think twice about that, then stop saying it. Let’s get rid of the dramatic death love, and just love. Words have power, and tossing them around like a salad dilutes their meaning. If, on the other hand, you’d trade your life for Sally’s in a heartbeat, then by all means, say it. And say it like you mean it so that anyone listening feels it.

Another concept that’s quickly losing its meaning is gratitude. True, undiluted gratitude, it seems, needs to follow a pattern:

  1. Feel grateful for something
  2. Realize that what you’re feeling is gratitude
  3. Full of feeling, say, “Thank you”

I think these steps get skipped a bit. Most times it’s just a quick “thanks” that we toss around to one another, which is certainly better than nothing. But the other steps are so very important: feeling gratitude and realizing that you feel it. I’m convinced that the immersion into this feeling is what opens the door for more good to come. And if there’s no feeling behind it, “thanks” becomes just another word. Don’t let that happen to thanks. Put the emotion back into it. Open the floodgate.

On this eve of Thanksgiving, put your heart back into what you say, and reclaim the strength of your words.

Jody Brown is the author of Upside Down Kingdom, and is a multi-blogger, poet, and traveler. To learn more about her current writing projects, or for ways to donate toward their completion, see