Platitudes. We have all heard them. We have all used them. But what really do they mean?
The word platitude is defined as a remark or statement, especially one with a moral content, that has been used too often to be interesting or thoughtful. Webster’s Dictionary goes on to shed more light on this word: A statement that expresses an idea that is not new. The quality or state of being dull or insipid. A banal or, trite, or stale remark.
Insipid is the word that most clearly describes my feelings toward the incessant use of platitudes. Lacking vigor or interest. Lacking interest. Folks there we have it! The reason that comments like Good things come to those who wait or It was meant to be roll off the tongue, is that they require absolutely no thought or introspection on the part of the commenter.
Everything happens for a reason. Really? That phrase brings no comfort to the person who has just received a fatal medical diagnosis or the wife who has just buried her husband.
Good things come to those who wait. I wonder how many times that one has been offered up to the person who wants so badly to get married or have a child.
It is what it is. This one is used for everything from car accidents to losing jobs.
Money can’t buy happiness. That might be true, but I’m betting that many of us would like to give having money a shot and then decide for ourselves.
It’s all good. Nope, I’m 47 years old and I can assure you that not everything is good.
Love means never having to say you’re sorry. If that is the case, then I’m betting you haven’t loved someone very long.
Tomorrow is another day. Ya’ think?
The best things in life are free. It doesn’t feel that way when you need to buy groceries or pay the electric bill.
Better to have loved and lost. I prefer to love and keep, if you don’t mind.
Only the good die young, All’s fair in love and war, there are plenty more fish in the sea, think about how much worse other people have it…. after all…People are starving in Ethiopia.
The list goes on and on. Now, don’t get your panties in a wad, I freely acknowledge that many of these saying are grounded in (or at least contain an element of) truth. My issue is not with the wisdom (or lack there-of). Far too often, when these trite tidbits are offered up it is because the offeror has not taken the time to actually consider and ponder what is actually needed by the person they are attempting to “encourage”.
Here is a challenge. Can you remember a time when you were facing a battle and a person came along and offered up an uninspired, not well thought out bit of encouragement and you were just left shaking your head? Can you think back on a time when you were in the middle of a life altering event and a person came along and said exactly the right thing at exactly the right time?
I do not know what obstacles you or your loved ones will face today. Let me encourage you to think before you speak. The words you choose to utter, when chosen carefully, can literally speak life to another human being in need of encouragement. As you go about your day, meditate on the fact that your words can bring life or death to the hearer.