Think about the following scenario…
The phrase « I’m fed up! » is over used by one member of a household. Every time a stressful situation comes up, so does this sentence. Although the reasons are good ones, this phrase is used to express a multitude of stress levels. It is not, however used in a literal sense. (When the person, really can not continue in what ever situation.)
Now imagine that another member of this hypothetical family used the phrase. Would they be taken seriously by the other family members? Or would their feeling of « I can’t do this anymore! » be seen differently because of it’s prior over-use?
If the others where subject to a gross over use of this sentence, time and time again, it’s likely they would have a subconscious tendency to not take it in it’s apparent literal form.
In other words, they would have been desensitized.
We can see examples of this everywhere, and yet it seems to be something we don’t really notice unless we look for it. It’s a bit like « The Boy Who Cried Wolf » in the sense that an idea or a concept can be presented in the same form, over a long period of time, and eventually it will not be taken seriously. Now this doesn’t mean that the sentiment is not sincere, or that it does not hold real meaning, it only means that it may be a poor representation of the actual intensity of the emotion being expressed.
The reason why we over use certain phrases is a hard thing to figure out, it could be because so many emotions can feel very much the same. It could also have to do with the fact that the average person is often bombarded with the same stress inducers on a regular basis, things that can’t, or shouldn’t be changed. Trouble at work, strains on relationships or a car that constantly breaks down are all good examples of regular stress inducers. So how do we know when we are really at the end of our rope, and can’t take something anymore?
It is not the moment when everything boils over and you yell out « I can’t do this anymore! ». That’s not when you really know. You could just be over stressed, over tired and over worked. When you really know something is just not for you anymore, you just know. The same way you know when something is right for you. You feel calm and accepting and you know it’s time to change directions. (or jobs, or cars)
So either by over use of a sentence, – or the knowledge that the overwhelming moment when you say it, is not one-in-the-same with the moment it’s true – it just goes to show our emotions are not always very well expressed by words.
Words – no matter how descriptive, or well phrased. – are only as good as the ears that receive them.