Filler Words: Like Just Stop

So, I have this habit of always starting my sentences of with “so” (see what I did there). Every time I read over my post before I publish them I need to delete at least ten different times I began the sentence with so.

I would be lying to you if I said writing grammatically correct was one of my strengths. I have this awful habit of writing exactly how I speak (my bad). My friends who are writers really love to get on me about my use of filler words; every sentence begins with so, every pause has a like, every space is filled with an um.

But today I was thinking about filler words. If I write how I speak I guess that means when I speak I use a lot of filler words. And I most definitely do. But, why? Why do I feel the need to fill every space with words? What is wrong with the silence?

Filler words may be something that seems totally irrelevant, but I know for me it goes much deeper than a simple word. They are my security blanket. I’ll be sitting in an uncomfortable silence so I will say something along the lines of “soooo, like what were y’all thinking?” or when I am giving a presentation I notice if I forget what I am saying I will add a “sooo, you know?” I repeat this is a security blanket. It is to keep me from experiencing an uncomfortable silence.

Here is why it goes so much deeper than a simple word for me: using “filler words” is my approach to life. I’m not talking about actual words anymore I’m talking about using different things or activities to push out the awkward silences. For example, the other day I found myself just sitting in the silence pondering how I can better myself as a person and work on my faults. Immediately that silence got too uncomfortable so I popped up and was like “oh, I guess I should text my friends and see what they are up to”. See I didn’t really have anything to say to my friends I was just avoiding sitting in the silence with my thoughts.

Well, here is the truth in both situations. Remove those filler words from your writing, don’t use them in your speech or presentation, and those silences will bring so much more power to the message you are trying to deliver. Those filler words are just a distraction from the true message.

That is also the reality with life. That text message I sent to my friends, all those times I run from the silence and fill it with a meaningless activity, its a distraction. Its something that is drawing me away from a potentially powerful silence, a deeper personal discovery.

So friends, take the filler words out of your writing. When you speak, speak with power and meaning. Most importantly, take the “filler words” whatever that may be out of your life. Feel the silence, let your self be in the silence — in the pause of the moment, and know the power it can have.

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