Just Bev

I have some pretty strong pet peeves about use of words, and this evening I realized that my signature name, justbev, is a prime example of the thing that annoys me the most.

I bristle at the word 'just' when it is not used as a synonym for justice.

This word is a minimizing word. I think the English language would go on quite well without it. (I almost said 'just fine' instead of 'quite well'.)

For example:

**** "I was just...." This phrase is used in many settings, but nearly always in the same way. It minimizes the effects of my own behavior on those I have offended. "I was just kidding." "I was just trying to help." "I was just minding my own business." In other words, "You should not be offended by what I did because it was such a small thing. You must be a small person to get upset about it."

What if we left the word 'just' out of it? "I was kidding" "I was trying to help" "I was minding my own business" It tells the truth (I hope) without judging the other person. "I was kidding" does not imply that the offended person should have known that. It takes responsibility and leaves an opening for the other person to respond.

****"You could just....." This is usually part of giving advice, and implies that the solution is simple and easily carried out. In other words, if you weren't so stupid you would have thought of this yourself. I much prefer, "You could try..." Usually it's best to be empathetic without advice, but if someone is requesting advice, they probably have already worked pretty hard at a solution. They don't need to have their struggle minimized or discredited.

*****In prayers.... Sometimes the word 'just' becomes the most frequent word in a prayer.
We just want to praise you
We just thank you
We are just so overwhelmed
We just ask you to....
Be straight with God. It isn't a small thing to praise God. It isn't a small thing to thank God. And when I am asking for something, I'm not asking for a small thing.

That said, I just want to let you know that sometimes I just can't help myself. It's just such a habit to say 'just' that it just flies out of my mouth without my even realizing it. I will just have to be more careful...

But I think I WILL change my signature, if I can just figure out how to do it.


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