Think About It

Less is More

by Don Meyer, Ph.D. | November 30, 2013

“Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; love more, and all good things will be yours.”
Swedish Proverb

If we are not careful, we can easily assume that if we have more or say more or do more our lives will be more. And though it is often counterintuitive, we all can agree that sometimes less is more.

Hans Hofmann said, “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” And one of the places that simplification is best revealed is in the ways we communicate with each other. Recently someone sent me the following words that can enrich every relationship.

I’ll Be There: One of the greatest compliments anyone can ever receive is to hear someone say to us, “Whenever I needed you, you were always there.” Just knowing that we are not alone in this huge and challenging universe changes everything.

I Miss You: Ronald Reagan said, “There is nothing like walking up the steps to your home and knowing there is someone on the other side of the door waiting to hear your footsteps.” Any relationship is made richer and deeper just knowing someone misses us if we are gone.

I Respect You: Respect is another way of showing love. Respect lets the other person know we hold them in high esteem. And that pours life and encouragement and hope into their soul.

Maybe You’re Right: No one can be right all the time, and no one can be wrong all the time. The opposite of “Maybe you’re right” is the humility of admitting “Maybe I’m wrong.” No relationship can endure without these three words.

Please Forgive Me: Sooner or later the milk spills, the toast burns and the appointment is forgotten. What in the world do we do then?  All of us have feet of clay. Our faults and foibles let everyone know we are not perfect. And, the quicker we acknowledge it the quicker there is hope that we can be wiser tomorrow than we were today.

Thank You: Someone said, “Gratitude is an exquisite form of courtesy.” In the ebb and flow of life, we must never neglect thanking those closest to us, letting them know what they mean to us. Evie and I have a plaque which says, “For better or for worse but never for granted.”

Count On Me: In one of Harvey Mackay’s books he asks the simple question, “If it is the middle of the night and your car breaks down, who would you feel free to call?” He goes on to say if your list is short, your friend list is too short. I wonder who would feel free to call me if they were in such a dilemma? We all know that a true friend is one who walks in when others walk out. That kind of loyalty is priceless.

Let Me Help: Those who care most engage most. They don’t wait to be asked – they volunteer. They see a need and do their part to fill it.

I Understand You: Sometimes it is hard to be understood. We try to explain the unexplainable. We try to put into words what is going on inside but the right words don’t come. But then, in the middle of our efforts, someone resolves it all by simply saying “I understand you.”

Go For It: Every now and then we all need someone to help us step out with courage and do what we have never done before. That friendly nudge changes everything. What power there is in those three words.

Of course, the most important three words are "I love you" which we can never say enough to those who matter the most.

Yes, even with our words less is more. As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “In all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.”  

Think about it.

Dr. Don Meyer is President of 
Valley Forge Christian College, Phoenixville, PA 
Responses can be mailed to president@vfcc.edu 
Official page: Facebook.com/DrDonMeyer
Follow on Twitter: @DrDonMeyer
Archives at www.vfcc.edu/thinkaboutit
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