The Danger of the word, Just

The adverb, just, is a powerfully diminishing word. Think, “I am just a ____.”

The word stretches back to the 1400s, meaning, “exactly, precisely, punctually,” and morphed to mean “merely, barely” in the 1660s.

When someone listens to the wrong voice, using ‘just’ to modify his or her identity, it reverberates in the mind, and the inferior feeling is quickly amplified by what culture teaches about status, titles, and worth.

  • I am just a kid.
  • I am just a receptionist.
  • I am just one person.
  • I am just a janitor.
  • I am just a mom.

“Just” peels away layers of self-confidence, creates a battlefield in the mind, and leaves one feeling defeated and painfully subpar.

Ohioans cross out the letter “M” all over Columbus because of the “Team up north.” Similarly, I suggest we cross out “just” as a word to modify who we are. In fact, perhaps identity shouldn’t be rooted at all in the answer to the question, “What do you do?”

Either way, speaking for myself, I want to rest in my current chapter – embracing the ordinary, the seemingly mundane, the repetitive … the beautiful things I will one day miss – and have a healthy awareness of the gifted sand trickling through the hourglass.