Monday, May 16, 2011

Abstaining from the “L” Word

This post is going to be tricky to write. I have to avoid a word and not just any word, but one of my favorites. I’ve decided to put myself through a week-long experiment. For one week I will refrain from saying (or writing) the “L” word in any capacity. Why? I see you leaning in closer to your computer, itching for a reason.

Of course I’ll tell you.

I overuse it. Guilty as charged. In part, this is because I’m overflowing with the stuff. And this is a good thing, but I’ve noticed I’ve gotten into the habit of tacking it on many of my tweets and in many of my blog comments. Now, I may be experiencing legitimate “L” feelings, but I’m challenging myself to express my reactions in more creative ways this next week. Even better, I’m going to work hard to SHOW this to those I come in contact with (which will be exceptionally exigent to do with you folks).

My kids have already had a field day working to break me (started yesterday). It’s like something Treadstone might try (Borne series, anyone?). But I’m going to stick to this. Feel free to hold me to it.

Next Monday, I’ll let you know how the experiment went.

Other than potentially during Lent, have you ever tried doing something like this? Have you noticed how the “L” word gets stripped of its meaning sometimes?

*Confession: I’ve already failed several times with my kids. I’ve decided it’s not such a bad thing to fail this experiment where they are concerned. Truth be told, I even failed with the dog.
**photo by flickr


  1. LOVE this! HA! But seriously....great experiement. Because you are right - it does get stripped of it's meaning. I mean seriously. When I say, "I LOVE ice cream!" then turn around and tell my husband, "I love you." There's no way those two loves are even remotely the same. I mean, c'mon. Ice cream is awesome! Just kidding! My husband is awesome. And I do not have the same feelings toward ice cream as I do toward my husband. Very different, indeed.

  2. Thanks for a fun post. I really (insert dictionary definition #17 here: to have a strong liking for; take great pleasure in)it!

  3. Love it! i think everyone should start their comment today with Love. But you're right, sometimes words lose their true meaning when we overuse them in ways that belittle their bigger meaning. Love you, girl!

  4. I am very guilty of this, Wendy. Actually, in my blog post this morning, I wrote "I love my Kindle." The thought occurred to me that this was pretty shallow, but I left it anyway. I think we all overuse it--not that we should. Looking forward to seeing how your experiment goes!!

  5. Most definitely, Wendy! I think it's indeed overused. We use it as a verb daily probably more times than we can count! I notice this even at church with our church family, whom we are close to and LOVE in a very real, very Christian context, but it's uttered almost so perfunctory it's like it's become the thing to say. "Love" Katie's take on this. : )

  6. Interesting experiment, Wendy. Actually our sermon was on something similar yesterday. Well, it was more about marriage but he talked about how the "I love you" phrase is tossed about without much notice. I'm definitely guilty too! I'll be curious to hear how you do. :)

  7. I love this! =)

    Let us know how it goes.

  8. Love you, Wendy. Really. Love your take on life. Love your willingness to go places I never even thought of and expand my horizons. Love your wonderful way of making me feel special.

    I wish you well on your experiment. I'd fail the morning of the first day. I tell Gwynly I love him tonz of times a day. I mumbled it at least twice before he left for school today. Yeah, mumbled. I know because he answered with "I'm fine," thinking I'd said "How are you?" I roused myself enough to speak coherently. (He leaves the house at 5:55 a.m., and I'm a night person. Nuff said.)

  9. Ya know, failing at this one might not be such a bad thing. Esp. where the kidlets and the dog (and the DH) are concerned. :)

  10. Good point. I think some words have lost their punch b/c of overuse. I feel the same way about the exclamation mark; overuse dilutes the impact (when really and truly intended).
    Have a great week,

  11. I do think it's unfortunate that our English language only has one word for so many different kinds of love. When we lived in China, people would laugh at me if I said in Chinese, "I love living in China!" because they didn't use the word "love" for that emotion. I liked having lots of different words for it -- it made expressing the love we have for people feel much more protected. :)

    Great post, Wendy!

  12. Heh, fair challenge. I think I'd have just as much trouble refraining from using the word kudos. Also a good reminder about what words we like to use that find repetition in our writing.

  13. What a hard challenge! I wish you a ton of luck. I don't think the point is to call yourself a failure if it doesn't work out. I think you're still bringing awareness to what you're trying to accomplish, getting more creative with words. What a great challenge!

    I love that your kids and dog have got you caught up in using the word. After all you can't help but feel that way for them ;)

    I tried to refrain from using the word to help ease you into the transition ;)

  14. I LOOOO--think it's a really great challenge. :) Yeah, I can't see it working when it comes to my hubby and kids either. No worries. All other areas, right?

  15. I love to use the word love!! Can't imagine not!! Hope you do well:))

  16. Can I just say that I love that you broke your vow with the dog. That makes my heart smile.
    I don't want to wish failure on anyone, but I love how free you are with sharing your love. I can't imagine reading one of your posts or tweets without it.

  17. Great experiment! Ha, the dog would get me too!

  18. Katie, You crack me. I say it so readily around my house and I truly think it's b/c I feel it. I hope it doesn't get taken for granted.

    V.V., A blog is a good excuse to try wacky thinks (Dr. Seuss) like this.

    Heather, Back at ya. When I say it, I want to really mean it, even if it is simply in the little way. But if a better word suits, I want to use that instead.

    Heidi, I'm failing big time when it comes to my kids. One has a painful ear infection. Like I'm not going to shower her with the L word. I so need to get brave about a kindle.

    Cynthia, It reminds me of something that's become rote. Like And God be with you...and also with you, we say...but do we MEAN it? Really mean it?

    Lacie, Not scoring so great at this point at the homefront, but that's okay. Hey, I was so wrong about May and registration for ACFW on your blog, too. I didn't know it opened so early. I signed up. Hope you did, too.

    Loree, Will do. It's stretched me online some already.

    Keli, I have those same feelings about you. In many ways you remind me of a dear aunt or an older sister constantly encouraging me on. You've moved me to tears on several occasions!

    Erica, Totally left a message for my DH w/ the fat stinking L word right in it today. I am not skilled at sticking to this, that's for sure.

    Karen, That one I can't resist. I feel like putting things in all caps more often than I do, but I know that's a big NO NO. ;)

    Amy, Excellent point. (hear clapping). Other cultures are bound to stretch us with this b/c they don't overuse this word like we do.

    PW, Funny thing is I don't think I use the L word much in my writing. Kudos is a fun one.

    Jen, How cool are you to abstain alongside me. Sweet. Thoughtful. And yes, even my dog has a way of bringing that word out of me. You should see's the eyes, man. They'll get you every time!

    Ralene, My mom and sister are cracking up w/ my good-byes.

    Terri, Should make for an interesting experiment and blog fodder at the very least.

    Mary, That's the point right there, when I was discussing this idea w/ my mom and husband who both know me to be insanely expressive, they wondered if I could hold it in. Within reason and if it uplifts someone, you betcha I'm going to share it!

    Karen, Dogs. I tell ya. :D

    Thanks for playing with me. This blog keeps on because you comment and keep clicking here.

    Tune in Wed. for a stellar guest post.

    ~ Wendy

  19. Ha! See, Wendy, Now this is why I love....I mean, like you. :)

  20. This is awesome, Wendy! I'm guilty of overusing this word. I'll be back to hear about the results of this experiment. :)


  21. Oh LOVE away Wendy!! There is so much vitriol in this world, I think we could all use it. ;) You have to call it something, right?

    I'm still holding you up in prayer and think of you often. I hope that shows how much I heart you. =)

  22. I agree. Not only do we over use the "L" word and not always in an appropriate way but we also do it with "awesome" a term meant to be used to describe God and his glory, not onion rings.

  23. Yes. And I also think we over-say "I'll be praying for you" or "I'll pray for you" and I've challenged myself not to say or write that unless I'm really going to do it. Empty words.

    But there ARE varying degrees of love, right? I mean, I love my ugly gray sweater but in a completely different way than I love my kids. :) Hmmm.

  24. The Greeks had at least three, possibly four, words to convey this "L" word. The feeling of a parent for his or her child, that desire of a man or woman to be 'close', and the wanting what is best for our friends.

    Yes, we have overworked the word.Sometimes, we can say it and mean what we say. A long time ago, I formed the habit of saying the phrase,"I **** you." When my hubby or our son would go out the front door. Now, I try to end a phone call to Son with that phrase. Now, if I go out the front door, I say it to Hubby.


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