There are common sayings we use all the time, mostly without thinking about it. But have you ever had one of those moments where your brain paid attention and you think to yourself “what does that really mean and why do we say that”? Today I had one of those moments, when I stepped on the scale and “lost” 2 pounds since last week. (I’m generally trying to be healthier but that is not the point of this post.)
As the thought stuck in my head – “I lost 2 pounds! Yay, me!” – I all of a sudden became very conscious of the actual words I used to describe what happened. Usually when we lose something, we want it back. Lost kitties, lost car keys, losing your mind…ultimately these all imply that it is a temporary situation that you’d like to resolve.
AND, we often associate losing with…well losing, as in not winning. This usually implies something negative, and that we should have won instead of lost.
So, when it comes to making the number on the scale get smaller, why do we call this losing? It’s a good thing for most of us, right? (Except for the very small group of you that are naturally thin and trying to gain weight – I envy you.) I surely do NOT want these 2 pounds back! And I certainly don’t think it’s a bad thing to have gotten rid of these 2 pounds.
So…what should we say instead? I used “gotten rid of” in that last paragraph. I kinda like that as it implies I gave away something that was just lurking around that I didn’t want anyway. “Dropped pounds”? Yeah, we carry them around but it’s not like we just decided one day to give them up and they fell off (if only it were so easy). “Slimmed down”? While this eventually happens, a couple pounds at a time is not always visible so this is slightly discouraging.
What would you say? How do you indicate you’ve made that number on the scale get smaller without tempting the universe to give it back to you? (No matter how good the intentions of the universe are at returning your lost items, I’d much rather get lost keys and cats back without having to accept the pounds.)