Lately I've been conscious of how often I use the word only.
I only ran two miles today.
I've only published a few plays.
I've only lost a few pounds.
I'm not sure why I add the word only to statements like these, because in Ruth World, such accomplishments are to be shouted from the rooftops.
I ran two miles today!
I've published a few plays!
I've lost a few pounds!
So... I had to ask myself: why am I adding the word only?
Perhaps subconsciously, I've compared myself to my peers and found myself wanting. After all, I have a close friend who runs marathons - what are my two lousy miles when compared to her daily runs? And on the list could go through every category in my life: writing, body image, reading goals, and so forth.
Although we all have room for improvement in many areas of our life, the fact remains that when we use the word only in this way, we're often needlessly diminishing the value of our own efforts.
And that's just silly.
You know what?
I may only have run two miles today, but for me, that's an accomplishment on par with Helen Keller signing W-A-T-E-R.
I'm going to shout it to the skies.
* * * *
Note: I'm not advocating that you throw out only entirely. It's a good word, and we need it.
Sometimes it's highly appropriate:
I only slept four hours last night.
I only remember half of what you told me.
I only want to stay for a few minutes.
See? Situations in which something legitimately has been or will be diminished.
But that's the only way you should use it.
More like this:
"My Very Favorite Word"