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Weekly Mindfulness Support - Words Matter

Welcome to this glorious Saturday, November 7, 2020! Today is a rare and precious day that will never come again.

I’m in the business of Compassion. And by Compassion, I mean the removal or reduction of suffering. Sometimes, when I’m doing things that seem kind and loving, I can unwittingly add to or trigger suffering in another.

I was caught by surprise this morning when I got an email from one who I admire and am fortunate to consider a friend. I feel blessed to know them. This person reached out because they wanted to share with me how my tagline, “I love you and there isn’t anything that you can do about it,” was a trigger for them.

Many of us have been harmed and mistreated by those who say that they love us. I know that I have. I also know that I have harmed and mistreated those that I love. It’s sad that this happens. Nevertheless, it does.

When I first read the email, I interpreted the trigger to be, “I love you,” does not guarantee that I won’t harm you. It’s true that unhealthy motivations and a lack of awareness can be the conditions for us to harm those we love. I started to get a little defensive, thinking, “I’m just trying to convey that I love you unconditionally.” This is a clear example of how the intention behind words and their impact can diverge. Clearly, word choice matters.

It wasn’t the “I love you” that was the issue. It was the “there is nothing that you can do about it” that triggered the defensiveness in my dear friend. Despite having been injured as a defenseless victim myself, it had never occurred to me how my tagline may affect people who have been ‘forced’ into traumatic situations which influence their whole outlook on life. While it’s true that ther