3 Platitidues That Aren’t As Effective As You Might Think


Over time I have definitely handed out my own good share of platitudes. But now that I am at a stage of my life where people offer them to me more frequently than usual, I have developed some strong opinions on their effects. Here’s a few to think about:

1. ‘Don’t worry, it will work out for you’.
When we say this we mean to offer reassurance, and hope. However, the problem is that in saying it we are reaffirming that the possibility of it not ‘working out’ is unthinkable, or unacceptable. The person who hears this knows that we have no idea whether it will ‘work out’, and is struggling hard to be okay with all future possibilities. A more supportive option might be to offer the following: ‘No matter what happens, you will find so much to be joyful and thankful for.’

2. ‘Have you tried [insert modality/supplement/practitioner here]?’
Depending on how long the person has been been dealing with their issue, I can assure you that they have tried it, or something similar. People are exhaustive in their research, and will try everything they can as time goes on. Some of those things will have provided comfort, relief and possibly even effective treatment for that person. But others will have been a waste of time and money. At some point this person becomes completely exhausted with the cycle of other people telling them they are doing something they shouldn’t, or should be doing something they aren’t. They become fed up with endlessly hearing that just being themselves is not good enough. A more supportive alternative might be: ‘You are doing everything you can. Your instincts are good, and leading you to what you need.’

3. ‘Oh, that is hard.’
When we say this, what we mean is that we have sympathy for the person and what they are going through. Sometimes that person does need sympathy, but much more often that person needs to feel how the process they are going through is just normal and routine for some of us. It is a lot easier to deal with a long, drawn out process when you think of it as simply a way of life – one path which many have trodden before you. Thinking of the process as a battle is emotionally exhausting, and it is easier to fall into the depression of fatigue. A more supportive alternative might be: ‘You are dealing with it really well, and you have a great attitude to figuring it out.’

I hope to be more mindful if these things when I offer platitudes to people in the future. And I hope you will too! πŸ™‚


About karen2202

I am writing my PhD on children's yoga and it's place within mainstream education. I am also a yoga teacher in Sydney, Australia.

Posted on December 15, 2013, in Meditation, Philosophy, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on 3 Platitidues That Aren’t As Effective As You Might Think.

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