I have been wondering lately who to blame for the slew of platitudes that pepper the English language. There are so many and some are just plain trite. Now I, for one, love a good quote but as a pessimist I take exception to those which have false glissandos of happiness but no real direction. Feel me? Just consider how you feel when on the brink of crisis, or in the throes of some life altering circumstance and some idiot comes to you and says…
1) “God never gives you more than you can handle…” – Says who? The would be medicated as they make their way back to the pharmacy for more drugs. Only they can be so sanguine as to draw comfort from this. Not to be disrepectful but many of us often wish that He, or the fates, would find someone else to test. When one is reeling from the last unanticipated blow it is no consolation that another may come careening out of the dark at you!
2) “It’s got to get worse before it gets better.” Really? Really? Is that REALLY consolation to someone hanging on the precipice? Shoot me now. Will everything be alright if we just duck our heads for the next blow? Or, is the head that just went rolling by a sign that acceptance of trying circumstances is NOT always the way to go. Ok, I know, the point is to persevere even through pain to a distant and unforeseen state of happiness. The pessimist in me wonders why happiness is so fleeting and pain is almost a surety. Nice lol.
3) “You’ve got to roll with the punches.” Ha! Suppose you can’t roll? Suppose your knees are arthritic and the most you can hope for is a feeble bend, then what? Suppose you are just too tired to engage in more scrambling behavior. I guess you are SOL. Game over lol.
4) “You’ve got to count your blessings..” Well, maybe it’s just me, but I can recall quite clearly in life when the blessings were scarce and mathematically speaking, I was in the negative, so go figure. In other words, the counting gave me little comfort and only made matters worse. You smile as it is said to you, but inside you cringe because that is exactly the point, what blessings you do have are not enough. You’re not BLIND, you can see, even in a state of stress. If we all settled for not enough we would end up with nothing much. In fact, I think I know who we should blame for this one, an elitist rich individual condescending to the lower classes…
And yet, you hear these crappy sentiments ALL the time which is just like tossing a dying man a manual but no actual tools to effect change. So before you utter one of these trite sayings that are really just an excuse to rush over the problem because you don’t know what else to say, stop! The life you save many be your own. You wouldn’t want the already victimized person to rise up and use you as a target, now would you? lol But seriously, people don’t need trite sayings, they need empathy and comfort from those they love. Sometimes, you DON’T have the answer and that’s ok. Sometimes, there is no answer. If you just take a moment to really listen and share in that person’s trial, it can be a godsend. Just be there for me so I know I am not alone.
“How? When will it get better?” “I don’t know when but it will.”
And it does, because life is cyclical and that is about all we are promised…
A Hopeful Pessimist