What Doesn't kill You Mkes You Stronger and Other Platitudes That Suck

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger and Other Platitudes That Suck

Everything happens for a reason.

It was meant to be.

God doesn’t give you more than you can bear.

Maybe your faith isn’t strong enough.

Time heals all wounds.

I know what you’re going through.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.


I have heard all these and so much more. I know people mean well, but they really don’t understand that platitudes really don’t help. And hearing them over and over just makes it worse.  When you come to someone who is hurting, I know you want to help. But what’s wrong with sitting silently,  or a simple I’m sorry?

Hurting and Grieving

I’ve been on both sides of the hurting,  grieving process. Unfortunately,  on the hurting side is where I learned that some of the things that I had been doing to try and help were actually not helping at all.  I’ve also learned it has to fit the person that you’re trying to help. When my friend’s husband had emergency surgery I went and sat with her. I brought her coffee, but we actually didn’t talk much we just sat and waited. And that was what she needed. My husband, on the other hand, has sat waiting on numerous surgeries for me. He would rather sit alone with his thoughts or maybe a nap and not have someone talking to him and distracting him. Sometimes we think what we would want for ourselves as what someone else would want. Find out what they, in particular,  want and do it. Don’t question what they say by thinking that would be wrong, know that they would want this. Everyone grieves differently and everyone hurts differently.  Everyone heals in their own time.

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger

I have the opportunity to hear many of these over and over. Let me tell you what it sounds like and what I hear what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Well, I’ve had sepsis twice and almost died from it twice also been in the house fire. None of those of Made Me Stronger. I am now more susceptible to infection and I have asthma and respiratory problems from the fire. Not stronger, weaker.


God never gives you more than you can bear.

 I can’t find that in the Bible. I know it says God gives you a way out of sin. I know God is there walking beside me in this but there are a lot of days more than I can bear.  and if I didn’t have faith I wouldn’t make it through this at least not sanely.


Time heals all wounds.  

Even if the wounds heal,  all wounds leave scars.  I can’t grow back missing toes or an appendix.  I see evidence of all the surgeries. and some unseen scars are even worse than the visible ones.  Time distances itself from the wounds, Just as when you drive a car and you see in the rearview mirror something getting smaller and smaller. You still know it’s there but you don’t see as clearly.


It was meant to be.

 I heard that several times after a miscarriage. especially because we have so many children anyway. Why should it hurt less because you have other children?


I know what you’re going through.

No,  I really don’t think you do.  Unless you gone through two house fires, multiple car accidents, miscarriages, over two dozen surgeries, numerous hospital stays, you don’t know what I’m going through. You don’t know what it’s like not to be able to take care of your own children and do have them take care of you. you don’t know what like to not be able to go to their programs at school or do I have to check the pollen and mold level before you can even open a window.  No two people are alike.  And no two sets of problems are the same. No one can know what someone else is going through.


What to say

I’m sorry for what you’re going through.

I’m sorry.

Acknowledge their pain.

I can’t begin to know what you’re feeling, but I’m here for you.


What To Do

Please don’t ask what you can do to help, offer something specific. There is always something you can do if you really want to.  After a house fire, Someone had put my kitchen together in our rental house.  Someone else had brought a Christmas tree with decorations.  When I was sick someone volunteered and came in and clean my bathrooms.  Someone else ran my children places.  if someone said let me know what I can do to help I usually never called them. I never knew exactly what they wanted to do and I really didn’t want to presume. I felt bad enough having to have helped in the first place.  Bring a meal. it doesn’t have to be fancy or even homemade. We’ve had pizza,  rotisserie chicken, and as simple as egg salad sandwiches and Oreos.  A homemade meal is nice but as busy as people are any more a simple meal that’s not peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or eggs and toast is a treat. Plus knowing someone cares. Visit them, but keep it short.


Do you have suggestions beyond platitudes to care for someone you know is hurting?  I’d love to hear from you.


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Christina Renee

Hi, I'm Christina, a wife of 33 years, mom of 10 and grandmother of 3. I love to help other Moms with mothering, organizing their homes and routines. I've had a lot of struggles with illness having fibromyalgia and being an amputee. Talking to other moms with the challenges that bring and succeeding in spite of it.

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