As the mom of a special needs child, platitudes are the bane of my existence. I never found them inspiring but lately, they’ve got less interesting and more triggering.
The problem with repeating our narrative of a situation lies in how it starts to look disingenuous and crass. It becomes dismissive and we can look insensitive.
Women, in general, and mothers in particular face many platitudes that are considered encouraging but serve to be minimizing at best and demeaning at worst.
But here are some of the more used platitudes by less aware people and if they could educate themselves through this blog then I’d consider my activism fulfilled .
1. Religious platitudes: explaining everything based on religion. Why something happens because that’s how it was intended for us is like opening someone else’s wound over and over just to check if the knife is still sharp. The biggest downside of using religious theorizing of grief and adversity is that it turns off the person from religion. It doesn’t serve the purpose that you probably expected. It doesn’t serve as strength. When you hear the same story of how fortitude, resilience and strength is intended to come and be our deliverance through illness, death, financial troubles and how we are becoming Allah’s favorites through this process, it makes you averse to religion and makes you retaliate to religion instead of retaliating to the person who’s using religion as a self-fulfilling prophecy.
2. Cultural platitudes:
Comparing racism faced absolutely differently by different races is the worst platitude. Comparing violence that’s astronomically more than what other minorities face is stupid and a form of microaggresion in and of itself.
Homogenizing experiences is a platitude too sometimes and even a form of prejudice and implicit bias.
Explaining away misogyny and patriarchy with tradition and culture, celebrating men more because “we need them”, not practicing humility to our ignorance are all age-old repeatedly used comparisons and metaphors that have gotten old and lost their meaning.
Calling age just a number is a platitude.
Saying childlessness is Allah’s will is a platitude because it doesn’t do anything to soothe someone’s pain.
Saying cancer is a test is a platitude because it stifles the patient.
Saying COVID-19 is a way to reset and regroup is a platitude. And probably a defense mechanism.
So the bottom line is that I consider this blog my soap box and therefore I have always felt a certain anger towards platitudes that people use to explain my situation or pretend to understand it. So basically, I came here to say, “No platitudes,please”!
You may like the following thought since it has some relevance to what you wrote:
“If you wish to strive for peace of soul and happiness, then believe; if you wish to be a disciple of truth, then inquire.” So Friedrich Nietzsche, aged only 19, ends a touching letter to his younger sister Elizabeth.
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Thank you! You’re always so kind
Blessed to know you. Every time I read anything written by you, I learn something interesting. Thank you for sharing your mind with public. I have enjoyed everything you wrote in this article but I am just quoting one, which is:
“The biggest downside of using religious theorizing of grief and adversity is that it turns off the person from religion. It doesn’t serve the purpose that you probably expected. It doesn’t serve as strength.”
Keep sharing your thoughts.
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