Sunday, January 23, 2011


In last weeks post we saw the first of the 3 magic words in English –SORRY. Today we focus on the another magic word PLEASE which each and everyone of us has used very extensively, primarily to get our way but mainly to seek the indulgence of others. We use it as requests, occasionally it is used because of force of habit but it is most effective when we use it as fervent entreaties. Usually the other person gives a patient hearing and accepts our pleas, when we say PLEASE especially when it comes out as Plain Lament & Earnest Appeal Seeking Empathy.  

The magic in please lies in its simplicity and its power of diffusing the toughest of situations, melting hardened hearts and softening the blows of deserved punishments. To begin with, as children we have liberally used the word please to seek parental approval for some of our pet plans which at first may have been opposed by our elders. It could be seeing late night TV on a weekend, having a sleepover at a friends place or wanting an expensive gift or toy. There were times of course when the fervent entreaties didn’t work and we got upset and angry and threw tantrums which occasionally helped us get our way but more often than not simply turned out to be a frustrating experience. Yet the next time around we still persisted with saying please.  

One of the wonders of the word please is that it can be used irrespective of one’s age, one’s social status or one’s ultimate objective. Not just children, almost every one resorts to the power of PLEASE to expresses their anguish and pain as also to get the favor one seeks. One of the oddest sights in democracy is the desperate please extensively spouted by the electoral candidates when canvassing for votes. Equally ironical is the please served as defensive pleas by the lawyers of accused criminals seeking leniency in sentencing. For the ordinary mortal, using please to get our way ahead in a line or to catch the attention of someone for help or for some physical assistance are most common place. 

Of course each of us has also resorted to using please to seek pardon for some error or mistake or to get some favors but it is when the please is a desperate attempt to hold on to affections that it has a poignant ring and pain in it. Many may have experienced the please that follows a lovers tiff. It has a ring of genuine sorry, a desperate cry and the willingness to accept once fault all to ensure that our plea is heard and accepted. The please that follows a lovers tiff is also the one that keeps losing its sheen the more often it is used. It is the please that children poignantly cry out when berated and ignored as punishment by their parents that often melts the hardened hearts and brings quick relief to a tense and unpleasant situation. Unfortunately many many times, there are people all around us who are desperately seeking affection, understanding, companionship, support, acceptance and solace but we seem to be indifferent to their needs. They do not articulate their please aloud, but it is for us to hear it in our hearts, in our conscience and in our humaneness and then we can hear PLEASE as a Plain Lament & Earnest Appeal Seeking Empathy. 

Action Points:  
  1. When we are at fault are we ashamed to admit it? Do we find it humiliating to also say please and ask for pardon for our mistakes? Do we find it hard to forgive those who say please and humbly seek our forgiveness? 
  2. Think of the most poignant moments in your life when you said please and was rewarded with a pardon /reprieve /forgiveness/ understanding
  • When you disobeyed your parents and then sought forgiveness
  • When you goofed at school and sought a teachers pardon
  • When you had a bitter misunderstanding with a close friend and latter wanted to clear the air
  • When you wrongly accused someone and on realizing your error wanted to be forgiven for the mistake
  • When you bitterly fought/ disagreed with your spouse / lover and then sought reconciliation

PS: Here is the answer to the 2nd Try This in the post in our daily blog  dated 19Jan11, on The Challenge of Decision Making   is ‘We would decide to try and save the painting nearest the exit.’ Logical isn’t it, for our life is more precious to us than our favorite painting.

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