Let's Digress

The Problem with Platitudes

I have a problem with platitudes. I think they’re silly. 

More specifically, I have a problem with people who use platitudes. 

Extra more specifically, I have a problem with people who use platitudes when they abdicate saying why they believe that platitude. 

I shall elaborate. 

I have a problem with people who make blanket statements like…

  • You’re worthy as you are right now. 
  • Everything is going to be okay. 
  • You’re loved, you’re enough, and it’s all going to work out.
  • Life is never as bad as it seems.
  • Happiness is not outside of you.
  • You should be kind to everyone. 
  • You deserve to be happy and you deserve to be loved.

…but then fail to say why they believe those sentiments.

I see this constantly from nearly every social media influencer-type person. Whenever I see it I have an urge to bombard their comment sections and messages with clarification questions, starting with Why? 

  • Why should I believe you
  • Why do you believe that?
  • Why am I worthy as I am? 
  • Why do I deserve happiness? Define happiness.
  • Why am I loved? What is love? By whom am I loved? Am I loved by you? If so, why? 
  • What gives you the authority and credibility to make any of these statements? Prove it. Cite your source material, please. 

Personally, I think I agree with most of those blanket statements, except for maybe the happiness one*. But I also know why I believe what I believe. From my viewing of the interwebs and in-person conversations, the Platitude Espousers rarely, if ever, explain the why behind their belief in the platitude. 

Honestly, I don’t think many of the Platitude Espousers have ever sat down and thought about the why behind it. Moreover, I would argue that their defensiveness and irritability when hard questions are asked actually reveals their lack of understanding. Many of the comment sections I’ve read through where someone has asked a Platitude Espouser a hard question often results in either the Espouser or a random other person becoming textually aggressive, belittling the other person, or trying to shut the conversation down with statements akin to “You’re not positive enough/your energy is too negative and that’s why you don’t understand,” or outright, old-fashioned hostility. 

I’ve had in-person discussions with Platitude Espousers as well, and unfortunately, those conversations often end very similarly to the comment section ones. Much like the more severe cultish behavior of the New Age ideologies, one either has to affirm the platitude or be banished from the group forever. 

Personally, my worldview is informed through the lens of Christianity, what I know of my Creator, history, logic, and reason. Since that’s the perspective I view life through, I know what I’m worthy of, why I’m worthy of it, what I deserve, why it’s deserved, why people should be treated with respect, and I know from where all goodness comes. Meaning that if I felt feisty and wanted to publicly espouse one of those platitudes, then I would have source material I could provide to support my position.  

The long and short of it is it’s my opinion and recommendation that if someone espouses a platitude, they should also be hospitable enough to explain why they espouse it. 

*In Allie Beth Stuckey’s book, You’re Not Enough, she addresses this concept quite well. She posits that if the self is the problem, then the self can’t also be the solution. Meaning if I’m unhappy and unfulfilled (because I’m a broken person with a God-shaped hole), then I will be profoundly unable to create happiness from within myself all on my own (because I’m a broken person with a God-shaped hole). The solution has to come from outside of myself (by filling that hole with God and becoming involved with a loving, like-minded community), not from feebly trying to conjure up self-created happiness. 

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Opinions?

Comment below or shoot an email to Adam@LetsDigress.com!

And please, be kind and grammatically decent. This is a family website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *