Sneaky Four-Letter Word: "Just"

Navigating life's challenges often involves making sacrifices, but at what cost? Sometimes, we use the word "just" to justify these trade-offs, potentially risking our well-being in the process. More often than not, I still fall victim to the version of "just" that results in me pushing a little harder, a little farther, a little longer - and sometimes too hard, too far, and too long. But I know from experience that "just" can be powerful in other ways. What if we could reclaim "just" and use it to prioritize self-care and balance?

Heather Pridemore

7/19/20232 min read

How often do you notice yourself using the word "just"?

This simple, four-letter word sneaks into our language, often playing a massive role in how we justify the sacrifices we make in hopes of increasing productivity and progress.

Imagine yourself under the weight of deadlines, responsibilities, or high-stake projects. How often do you tell yourself, "I just need to push a bit harder, " or "If I just get through this project," or even, "I'll sacrifice some sleep tonight to get ahead on progress for tomorrow"?

There's a hidden narrative here, an underlying acceptance that by simply hanging on a little longer, working a bit harder, we'll find our breakthrough, and we'll achieve our goals.

But at what cost? And how often have you pushed the boulder up the hill, justifying tradeoffs along the way, only to get to the top to realize there is another hill, and another after that?

By using "just" as an excuse, a justification, or a crutch, we inadvertently set ourselves up for potential burnout.

The truth is, these so-called minor sacrifices are not minor at all.

They accumulate, leading to us giving up quality time with our families, disconnecting from our friends and community, and neglecting our own self-care. The effects of these sacrifices, although initially subtle, compound over time.

The power of "just" shouldn't be underestimated. Like any tool, it can be constructive or destructive based on how it's used.

We need to reclaim and redefine "just" in a way that supports our well-being and restores balance in our lives.

We need to justify taking care of ourselves and make self-care a priority.

  • Rather than "just" one more email, why not "just a ten-minute walk outside?

  • Instead of "just" another hour of work, why not "just" a few moments of mindfulness or meditation?

  • In place of "just" staying up late and sacrificing our sleep, why not "just" get a good night's rest and finish sharper and well-rested tomorrow?

We can reframe "just" to create the space for the things that truly matter in life - our health, relationships, peace of mind, and our overall well-being.

By changing our perception of "just," we can transition from overwork and burnout to balance and rejuvenation. We can make things "just" right for ourselves by justifying self-care, not sacrificing it.

After all, life is not a race to the finish line, it's a journey.

Let's commit to using "just" as a commitment to nurturing ourselves, not neglecting ourselves. It's all about creating a "just" right balance that is "just" right for you.