Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Things We Say

In last week's Celebrate post, Ruth Ayres encouraged us to think about those sayings or phrases that are often repeated like mantras by those around us. Her friend Kim was known for the line, "It's all good," a simple way to show love, trust, and forgiveness.

As I went through my week, I thought a lot about Ruth's call to listen for the repeated words in our lives. I realized that phrases like "It's all good" are abundant in my life, either coming from those around me or from my own mouth:

"It is what it is." This is a favorite of mine. I use it as a way to accept things as they are and let go of the need to control.

"You can't tell from where you sit, how you stand." My stepdad would always say this. To me, it means that I shouldn't assume anything.

"Life is short. Eat dessert first." Another favorite from my stepdad. Ruth would like this's about not putting off celebration and enjoyment for later.

There are also a few not-so-positive mantras that popped into my mind:

"Hit your mother and your hand will fall off." No surprise that this one came from my mom. It means to always be kind and respectful to your parents.

"Beauty is pain." I'm not sure of the origin of this one, but I remember it from when my mom would brush my long hair that was often snarled and out of control.  I heard it a lot, and so has my daughter.

What is interesting to me as that these phrases are often said without even thinking about them, yet they are so woven into the fabric of our lives that effortlessly present themselves on our lips at a moment's notice.

If you stop to think about it, these phrases are a kind of storytelling, a way of passing wisdom down through the generations. I remember these things being said (often) around me as I grew up, and my kids will do the same.

I think that's pretty cool.


  1. It's so true.. these phrases do slip out without thought. A current one that I puzzle over is "No worries." Not sure how I feel about that one.
    I am going to pay more attention to these sayings and phrases now also. Thanks for raising my awareness. Hope you have a good weekend and week ahead.

  2. I know I repeat "Does that make sense?" a lot, but I can't say it is full of wisdom. Maybe I need to think of some wise words to make my mantra. I certainly like the advice "eat dessert first", even if it isn't meant to be taken literally!

  3. I love this reflection you shared with us. I like this one that is new to me: "You can't tell from where you sit, how you stand." And I love your conclusion that these phrases are a kind of storytelling. One of my dad's many: "Can't never did anything."

  4. Your words flow on the page and paint a story of such important messages. I am thinking about phrases I say often, mine would be "Thank you." to everyone especially my students not only modeling but encouraging them to copy my phrase.

  5. My father always recited the words of Winnie the Pooh to me when I was growing up - "be brave, Piglet!" Even decades later, whenever I have something challenging to do, he'll say that special phrase. He's not comfortable expressing his feelings, so he lets Pooh Bear do the talking! Your post brought back such fond memories!

  6. "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all," was the phrase my mother repeated constantly. I guess I usually had to express my thoughts and they weren't always so nice. I hated that as a child, now I understand and often don't say anything. I love you list of phrases. I will have to watch for them around me now.

  7. There are many good sayings, and I don't use many, but do acknowledge quite a few superstitions from one grandfather. While I don't think I worry as much as he did about them, I am well aware of them, like "don't open umbrellas in the house" and "don't walk under a ladder". I guess the one saying that's been passed on is "a stitch in time saves nine". Maybe that's why I am always so aware of being prepared? You've made me think more about this, Jennifer.

  8. May be it's a sign of age, but I can't seem to remember any sayings from my childhood! But, I loved reading through yours - "it is what it is" is something I say to myself, too. It helps get through what must be gotten through.

  9. Jennifer, it is time to pause and reflect on the common phrases in my conversations and see if they make a positive impact or not.

  10. As I read your post, I thought of the proverb: Life and death are in the power of the tongue. I've been consciously watching for smiles and opportunities to give smiles ... my olw17 is rejoice. I'm adding a "mantra watch" this week and will be thinking about how they impact our rejoicing. Thank you for a nudge to listen to my words.

  11. I wish to adopt: "Life is short. Eat dessert first." One of our family sayings is "Live and let others live."


Thank you for leaving a comment!