"I'm sorry,""How are you?" and "Shabbat Shalom" are pleasantries that I use. Do they seem trite to you? I have always loved words and in my past year of writing, I have developed a greater appreciation of both the written and spoken word. And in my year + of meditation, I am more sensitive to the intent and sincerity of my messages and expressions.
We teach our children to say, "I am sorry, " but what do those words mean to them? They simply want to move past being in trouble. My husband began a new practice with our kids; When they are apologizing to someone (anyone), they must say the reasons for the apology (i.e. "I am sorry for ...). This has increased their level of understanding for the act that hurt the other. Though sibling rivalry, tension, or simple annoyance has not yet diminished, their communication skills seem to recalibrate their moods more quickly.
"How are you?" Do you really care? This is what I think often when some people ask. For some it is simply a conversation starter, an obligation or filler. In the past, I have responded to that question with "fine" when in fact was I was great pain. With help from others, I began to answer that question with honest answers which meant nine times out of ten the answer was not "fine." As I found meaning in answering the question, I made a greater effort to ask the question with sincerity and purpose. If you hear me ask, "How are you?", it means I really want to know.
"Shabbat Shalom." Growing up as a reform Jew, this greeting always felt awkward on my lips. I thought it was for the more observant Jews. I would watch them and see the ease in their conversation and the warmth and love that emanated from these two simple words. As my friendships and commitment deepened in the Jewish community, I am able to speak these words with the understanding of what I was intending for the recipient. I write and say, "Shabbat Shalom," with a full heart and sincerely hope that you and your loved ones have a beautiful and peaceful Shabbat.
The phrases are repeated so much in our daily lives that it would make sense that we would find them trite. Over and over again, the repetitive nature desensitizes us to their original or momentary importance. These phrases when said with loving intention, "I'm sorry," "How are you?" and "Shabbat Shalom," are not trite, but right!