Three Beautiful Words

When asked, “What are the three most beautiful words in the English language?” people often respond: “I love you.” Though beautiful (and powerful), those words are frequently misspoken or misapplied – ofttimes said without really giving the matter the thought it deserves. At the other end, the notion of speaking those three words, for some, creates anxiety or discomfort resulting in those words not being uttered enough or spoken to the right persons.

 There are, however, three other words that are equally as beautiful. What is most tragic is that many people will often fight not to speak these other words; they will go to arduous lengths to avoid saying them despite how obvious it is they should say them and despite the powerful effect those words have in promoting the well-being of all involved. I also submit these three words are spoken far less often than the words “I love you” though they should probably be spoken more so. Those other three words are, “I am wrong” or “I was wrong” and their sister statement, “You are right.”

 Stated with sincerity, those words are twice nice. They can avert wrath, ameliorate rage or otherwise ease a tense situation. Furthermore, they can foster respect more effectively than always being “right.” At the other end, to utter those beautiful and euphonious words sincerely reflects both humility and self-respect. With regard to self-respect, when a person loves and respects himself, there is no puerile-type shame in admitting error; acknowledging error or a mistake is seen as acknowledging one’s humanity or limitations and not as being of less value.

 Resipiscence (a $59.13 word meaning recognizing one’s own error; seeing reason once again) does not require one to truckle or grovel, but simply to intelligently accept that absolute truth and absolute right does not begin and end with who you are – an idea that is easy for most humans to declare but far more difficult to actually embrace.

 It is true, however, that admitting error or wrong can bring with it, dire or inimical consequences. It may subject one to being flayed or excoriated because some people would interpret such an admission just as a ravenous lion would view a wounded calf.

Nonetheless, for the most part, admitting being wrong has more of an upside than not.

As humans, we thrive where there is love but I think, admitting error is as potent an ingredient for our tranquility and growth as any. Saying, “I love you,” has more force if, when appropriate, one can also say, “I was wrong.”

Published in: on June 21, 2013 at 1:49 AM  Leave a Comment  

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