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The Word You Need To Banish From Your Vocabulary

A few years ago, I decided to stop using a particular word. I not only over-used the word, but had found that it was causing real damage in my life—at work, in relationships and in my spiritual life.

It’s a 4-letter word. But probably not one that you’re thinking of. (I still occasionally use those.)

The word that I have sought to banish from my vocabulary is the word “just.” Let me explain.

It all started at work. As a writer, I found that I was constantly told to “just” do something.

“I just need a caption.” “Just write a quick headline.”

It was infuriating and demeaning, boiling my life’s work down to pithy tasks.

But then I realized I did the same thing to our designers.

“Can you just change the picture?” “I just need you to choose a new color.”

So we made a rule. No more using the word just. And then things got even more interesting. Because it wasn’t only at work that that simple word was doing damage. It was across every part of my life. That word would creep in and tear down. It is a word heavy with judgement and demoralization.

Here’s an example that I find myself particularly sensitive to. We are in a season heavy with politics. And my political hot button tends to be social justice. And over and over in the past several months, I hear these kinds of statements.

“People just need to get a job.”

“Why can’t they just manage their money better?”

“They just need to work harder.”

Just. Just. Just. It makes it sound so simple. So easy.

But “just” keeps us on the surface. It doesn’t allow us to explore the complexity of the situation. The single mom who keeps having to miss work because of her sick child. The immigrant sending half of his paycheck to his family. The man crippled by mental illness.

It’s never just that easy.

I would like to encourage you to banish the word “just” from your vocabulary. Because it’s rarely that simple. Rarely that easy. Rarely that black and white.

It’s just not.



Brandy Campbell

Brandy is a full-time writer at an international organization that works with more than 1.2 million children in poverty. She is a writer, a storyteller, a yarn spinner and a pen pal. She's also a baker, a world traveler, a daughter, a friend and an aunt. She hates mornings, olives, cheap pens, snakes and splinters.

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