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August 16, 2022

“It Goes Without Saying” challenges our use on no-brainer statements.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.

Most of us have heard this expression: “It Goes Without Saying.” It usually references something that should be a “no-brainer.” It’s common sense. It’s understood. It’s something we should all, somehow, know it as a given.

Minefields of explosions, however, have often erupted at this assumption for us when it comes to some “simple” matters of life.

Simple. Uh-huh.


A few of these simple “no-brainers” popped up for me. And I see how there’s the element of cautionary tale to them. They’re hiding in plain sight, underestimated, and, too many times, completely mishandled.

“I love you.”

This first, common no-brainer is a doozy. How many of us, on any given day, encounter some version of this statement? Three little words.

We can often say them too quickly and too easily. We can often say them mistakenly. Sometimes lust appears to be love. Sometimes abuse disguises itself as love.

Anyone with me here?

It Goes Without Saying: Say It:

So, when you we say it? “It Goes Without Saying.”

When is it right, necessary, appropriate, helpful, and loving to say these three little words, I love you?”

A first no-brainer makes the case that it’s when someone is important to us: family, friends, spouses, life partners. Those people.

That is such a beautiful theory. Lovingly ideal.

Yes, when the important people in our lives, who matter so much to us, are crossing our paths, we need to tell them they are loved.

Carpe diem. Seize the ever-loving carpe out of that diem. Be in the moment, maximize it. Be present. Don’t miss opportunities.

Ah, yes, great. FOMO.

No pressure or conflict can come from that, right?

It Goes Without Saying: A Case For TMI

Saying “I love you” however, can produce conflict and pain for us with other contexts. What could possibly go wrong when we tell someone we love them?

Well, for starters, we could be communicating this love declaration to an unhealthy, abusive, and dysfunctional person who, quite frankly, is neither deserving, nor appreciative of that love and good will.

They have not “earned” the privilege of “I love you.”

Unhealthy dynamics can go both ways in this situation. For instance, our codependent natures. We may “need” the perception of love we associate with an individual who cannot respond, in kind, in a healthy, loving way.

That’s fun. That’s productive and rewarding, huh?

Yet, there is a payoff. That’s the dark underbelly reality of the situation. We get something out of the toxic “I love you” dance.

That is a case of toxic “TMI,” and why we need to address and reexamine our relationships, especially concerning the love issue.

And nope, it’s not for the faint of heart.

But necessary.


It Goes Without Saying: Say It:

Here’s another classic, fun word when it comes to the “to say or not to say” question.


We’re already squirming, laughing uneasily, and trying to avoid saying or dealing with it, aren’t we?

Most of us need to say this word more than we realize. We don’t say it enough; we don’t create, honor, and enforce the boundaries we need for ourselves through the word.

Often, the word “no” has to do with our gut reaction.

What is our first thought?

“I don’t want to do this?”

“I don’t feel good about this?”

“This is not who I am?”

Those are gut responses. They are the authentic connectors to our true selves.

Many of us have been conditioned to ignore our guts, our true selves. Many of us have been raised and taught to believe we have no right to exercise the word, “no.”


We are entitled to use the word, especially if refusing to say it, will be harmful to us. We have the right to be safe, be valuable, and at peace. “No” can help facilitate that.

So, say it.

It Goes Without Saying: A Case For TMI

When should we refrain from saying the “no word?”

Arguably, a good case to consider its opposite, “yes,” involves a situation in which we don’t have all the information. A premature “no,” it can be reasoned, limits possibility for a better outcome, all because we didn’t know enough about a matter to make the decision.

It’s a challenge, however, to live in experiences in which we are completely informed, and have all facts, figures, arguments, and positions. It is rare we get that, quite frankly.

Therefore, perhaps, a more doable argument for us to say “yes” over “no” relates to our own self-care, our own recovery, our own investment in ourselves. We are worth our own time and attention.

Most of us have not been taught that concept; most of us don’t easily embrace it.

That, therefore, is the work of soul work, and it takes a “yes” response TO DO that soul work.

Many of us, especially in recovery from addictions, have repeatedly “fought our help.” We say “no” to the concerned family member, to the group intervention, challenging our behaviors. We say “no” to healthy life choices, sometimes, to life, itself.

Some of us have death wishes, be they passive or active, and just want our lives to end.

Concerning the word “No,” saying it can be a case of too much information, wrong information at that, discouraging us from taking a healthy, life-affirming action we need to take to save and heal our lives.

“I’m imperfect.”

Well, duh. Most of would agree this is no-brainer territory.

Human beings are flawed.

Yep. Understood.

After all, what’s the definition of perfection?

“having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; ideal, without fault, flawless, absolute; complete”

Who is that definition, through and through?

We are imperfect.

It Goes Without Saying: Say It:

We need to say it, in its reality check form, to remind us of our lack of control.

Life can give us the illusion we have control. Schedules, time management, financial investments, the appearance of solid relationships, and good health can all be indicators we have this thing called life handled.

We are complete, in control. We are perfect.

To quote the late John Lennon…

“Nothing’s gonna change my world…”

(That is, until life comes in and changes it).

Cancer, death, loss, divorce, and any unforeseen circumstances can all rattle our sense of perfection. “I’m imperfect” can help to inoculate us against the blindsiding.

For example…

“I’m imperfect…” (Therefore, cancer can happen…)

“I’m imperfect…” (Therefore, death can happen…)

“I’m imperfect…” (Therefore, change can happen…)

Logically, there doesn’t seem to be much that is news flashy about that.

But, in those moments, we’re not dealing first with logic, are we?

“I’m imperfect.” Yep. That’s why life has happened to me.

The simple, short, and yes, dissatisfying answer, but answer it is, nonetheless.

It helps to apply it to our lives.

It Goes Without Saying: A Case For TMI

“having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; ideal, without fault, flawless, absolute; complete”

So, can we say “I’m imperfect” too much? Is it ever inappropriate to utter it?

Yes, I believe that case can be made as well.

“I’m imperfect.”

This statement can register as a cop-out, a refusal to correct behavior, to make amends. Just put out the blanket statement, “I’m imperfect,” and we’re all good, huh?

Not so fast.

Furthermore, if it’s spoken within this context of being challenged on a hurtful behavior, it can feel manipulative.

“Hey, you cheated on me, and I’m really hurt by that.”

“Well, what can I say? “I’m imperfect.”

Nope, not resolved. Not feeling great. Feeling slimed, in fact. Feeling unheard, unseen, and disempowered.

Nothing was healed. More damage occurred, in fact. And part of that damage involved the TMI of “I’m imperfect.”

Now everyone REALLY needs triage.

Consider “Assume…”

You know the old saying, “when you assume, it makes an ass of out you and me?”

Perhaps, that’s the checkpoint we need to run our words through. Even the no-brainers.

Are they, indeed, such simple no-brainers? What is the context?

Do we speak up? Do we refrain?

Words are spirit; they have power.

We need to remember that. We’re not “just saying anything.”

What we say lands. How do we want those words to land?

Copyright © 2022 by Sheryle Cruse


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