Are too many superlatives making life disappointing?

By admin
September 04, 2015

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By Lana Turnbull

Breathtaking views. Jaw dropping action. Incredible savings. Once-in-a-lifetime chances. Matchless beauty. Record-breaking gains. Heart-stopping thrills. Compared to some of these descriptions, even the pet superlative of the 80s, awesome, sounds, a little lackluster. Has our culture of the insatiable, always seeking the most, greatest, highest, shiniest, youngest, richest, and fastest, finally run out of superlatives left to describe life’s truly most remarkable moments?

At one time we could wish someone a nice day, or a great weekend, or a happy birthday and it conveyed our warmest regards. But now those fond expressions somehow seem tame to the point of housebroken. So how do we up the ante? We use adjectives like incredible, marvelous, fabulous, super, and yes, when our vocabulary fails us, awesome. So why do we still feel so let down? Why does it seem like a put down when someone tells us we look nice. Nice, really? They might as well of said we’re barely tolerable. And there in lies the problem.

Let’s face it, descriptive adjectives can’t make our lives better. Instead we are numb to true wonder around us after the thousands of superlatives hurled at us each day by commercial advertising, social media and popular culture. But recognizing the problem is half the cure. When we unplug and walk into the garden and watch the darting wings of a dragonfly or feel a newborn grab our finger, or hold a fragile, aging hand there are no words to befit the experience. Where words fail, the heart takes over.

Maybe words have become our way to make things sound better instead of doing something to actually make them better. Ask any marketing specialist and they will tell you that great customer service and word of mouth endorsement is more valuable than all of the superlative-touting commercials ever created. By doing the right thing instead of just saying the right thing, we get the desired outcome.

Maybe the best way to kick our adjective addiction is to learn to live more in the moment – not by following it on social media, texting or tweeting about it, but taking the time to look around us and connect face to face with what has made life worthwhile since the beginning of time…a beautiful sunset, the love in the eyes of a mother, a shoulder to cry on, the miracle of the changing leaves, or the cheerfulness of a crackling fire. These are the things of life that need no superlatives. Their greatness is eternal and it is felt in the heart, not spoken.

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