Motivating past platitudes
November 1, 2021 9:13 PM   Subscribe

How do you motivate yourself through a beyond-unacceptable situation, past the, "well it isn't cancer," "you're still breathing," "can't you be grateful?" general platitudes people respond with, when they're not experiencing the complexity, and can't possibly understand or care.

Question expressed. It's generalized intentionally.

Assume the inquirer has been walking through a desert of burnout for multiple years, is past the point of accepting any bullshit/pandering answers, and possibly on the verge of just losing it on people too dense or lacking in patience or self awareness to understand. Please assume the inquirer is also not dense, just tired.

Thank you.
posted by firstdaffodils to Religion & Philosophy (30 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
When it was cancer for me, my motivating mantra was: 'the only way out is through'. That allowed me to just put one foot after another without lifting my head to look forlornly at the hazy distant future.

My alternative speech for slightly less serious life events like burnout (which is a serious event) was: 'Fuck it, I quit. Not my circus, not my monkeys'
posted by Thella at 10:04 PM on November 1, 2021 [14 favorites]

"Failure is not an option."
posted by zaixfeep at 10:18 PM on November 1, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I try to break things down into smaller and smaller chunks until they feel manageable. Like, get out of bed and stand in the sunshine for 30 seconds. Then I can either get dressed or go back to bed. Read one (1) email. I can answer it or close the laptop and do something else. Whatever you need to do to get through the next minute, hour, day, and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Just focus on short, simple bits of tasks. Sometimes you'll get on a roll and do a bunch of productive things (getting dressed and maybe going into the kitchen to make food counts as productive). And if you cant get on a roll, give yourself plenty of time to dissociate into whatever really gets your mind off the stressors, if that's scrolling through Reddit or cross-stitching or playing video games. You can always come back to some simple tasks later.

I'm sorry you're going through this. As Thella put it, sometimes the only way out is through. Be kind to yourself on the way.
posted by ananci at 10:22 PM on November 1, 2021 [8 favorites]

Best answer: "What else am I supposed to do?" Not a mantra I repeat to myself daily, but it does represent my mindset. Of course it goes hand-in-hand with "I'm afraid to die."
posted by Stuka at 10:34 PM on November 1, 2021 [5 favorites]

I do it by reminding myself that I've felt this way before, sometimes for years at a stretch, and that every single time that's happened I've eventually stopped feeling this way and started being interested in life and pleased to be alive again.

If this is your first rodeo with this particular steer, the company of others for whom it isn't can be very useful.
posted by flabdablet at 11:27 PM on November 1, 2021 [6 favorites]

Spite. If anything has kept me from tipping into self harm in my darkest moments, it’s been the knowledge that many bigots would be absolutely furious to see me alive, and for me to have respect for myself, and think that I deserve nice things. Make them mad. Spite them. Live. And if living is not an option, ie: progressive chronic disease, take the time left and make it pleasurable. Be selfish, or make a mess, or be uncouth.

Think of the worst person you can imagine or remember, and figure out what they would hate the most, and do that thing. For me, that person was real, and it turns out the things she would have hated the most for me to do would be to think I am beautiful as I am, to accept different people into my life, to live with a disregard for a false concept of dignity, to be loud, and to not think of kindness as part of a transaction.

For me, having an enemy helps make my priorities clear and gives me motivation. It’s tricky but I just have to pick the right one and take advantage of any resources I have until I don’t need an enemy anymore.
posted by Mizu at 11:32 PM on November 1, 2021 [19 favorites]

Sometimes this helps and sometimes it doesn’t. I imagine the situation as a person and then instruct it to have intercourse with itself in the strongest possible terms.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:38 PM on November 1, 2021 [2 favorites]

Is it just a coincidence that your examples are all a bit dismissive and belittling? I would find those enraging too, if somebody told me, basically, what I'm experiencing is not that bad, things could be worse, etc.
Are these the things you are telling yourself?
Give yourself permission to be angry and feel totally crap, it sounds as if you have been having a really hard time and feeling exhausted, upset, and angry is a completely rational response.
Sometimes, when I feel like this it helps me to picture myself as dancing angrily and defiantly on the edge of disaster, giving a middle finger to the crap of the world. Laughing at the ridiculousness of it all.
But I have my own back. I'm on my side. I don't have to justify my feelings to anyone.
I decide what my priorities are.
Being kind to myself is essential.
No way out but through helps me too. Also "I just have to get through today" and "not my monkeys, not my circus"
And the fact that one day I will look back at this moment and it will be just a memory that I've lived through and moved on from.
posted by Zumbador at 11:39 PM on November 1, 2021 [6 favorites]

As for dealing with the relentlessly useless suggestions of the toxically positive and clueless: my standard antidote for that is heavy doses of Ren and Stimpy.
posted by flabdablet at 11:41 PM on November 1, 2021 [2 favorites]

AskMe was enormously helpful to me when I asked this question.
posted by b33j at 1:33 AM on November 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

My (admittedly corny) mantra is "how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time."

I don't know how big the elephant is, or why it's my job to eat it. But here I am with my knife and fork and plate, and I'll keep nibbling until one day maybe I'll see daylight.

It doesn't help me to hear that at least the elephant isn't a carnivorous beastie, that the elephant isn't that big, that the elephant can be fixed with cheeriness or kale.

An elephant is an elephant is an elephant.

It helps to remember the elephant isn't my fault, that perhaps I can make things a bit more pleasant by using a nicer plate, that I can look for people who see the elephant and won't argue with me about it.

But the elephant is there, and I'll eat it one bite at a time.
posted by champers at 3:43 AM on November 2, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: At my worst times, along Mizu's line, it's generally thoughts about how I can't let the assholes win. Even if "the assholes" are very generic, or from the past. And that things always change - they might not change for the better, but with any luck they'll at least be more interesting.

Also, you don't have to answer anyone's texts or whatnot. They'll shut up eventually.
posted by wellred at 6:14 AM on November 2, 2021

I use these lines from Hamilton a lot: "I'm Hercules Mulligan. I need no introduction. If you knock me down, I get the fuck back up again."

But I think platitudes are of somewhat limited use, as your question seems to indicate. For me, reading history brings me to a deeper place where I can put my own problems into perspective. I find it helpful to realize that dealing with shit is just the human condition, and many people have dealt with much worse shit than I probably ever will. (I add "probably" because I sure as hell never thought I'd live through anything like COVID.) I mean, within my parents' lifetimes, literally millions of people were torn from their homes, from the daily lives they took for granted just as we do, and murdered because of who they were. If you are in the US or many places in Europe, you have probably lived most of your life in a historically bizarre time - one in which war and famine and disease did not affect you as they have affected most of humanity. (I realize that many people in the US and Europe have lived through terrible things and are living through them now - but I think a lot of people who are likely to be reading this have spent most of their lives insulated from it - of course, not all.)

I don't want to give the impression that I have reached some level where I am just OK with having cancer because people have lived through worse. I definitely have lots of times when I feel sorry for myself or am angry at everyone who doesn't have cancer. It's just that reading history seems to make my own troubles somewhat easier to bear some of the time. That is the best I can do. I wish there were easier answers, but you seem to already know they don't exist.
posted by FencingGal at 6:16 AM on November 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer." ― Camus. I haven't read a lot of Camus but it's pretty good.
posted by johngoren at 6:24 AM on November 2, 2021 [7 favorites]

Best answer: For me, I've managed to convince myself that there's something noble in continuing to try even when all hope is lost. This helps me because I find trying to convince myself that there is hope and there is a light at the end of the tunnel doesn't work. But saying, "Fuck it, there's no hope, but I'm going to keep moving forward anyway" and finding a certain kind of dignity in that... it helps me through some of the darkest times.

I also use the same mantra as Thella: "the only way out is through."

And along those same lines, there's the AA mantra of "One day at a time." I just convince myself that all I have to do is keep breathing and continue living through one more day/minute/hour/second.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:02 AM on November 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

I think the best answer to the people with platitudes in person is probably silence. Uncomfortable silence. Maybe supplemented by asking them to explain.

When times are difficult I tend to feel like I'm dragging myself through the day. So, I just drag myself through, just do one thing that I need to, just take one step, just eat one bite of the elephant. I don't know that it helps exactly, it's just how I mostly respond.
posted by plonkee at 7:04 AM on November 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

[whelp I may have misread your question, sorry, mods please feel free to delete]

But in case this is relevant, and you ARE asking how you can motivate yourself:

If the motivation is meant for another person, I'd suggest that you offer kindness, acceptance, forgiveness, and support. Don't offer motivational quotes or whatever, that always comes across as patronizing. Even if they're asking you for motivational quotes or sources, the best thing you can do for them is to become curious and supportive instead. Remember that they are always capable of doing a google search for motivational quotes on their own. You are in the unique position of providing something that the internet can't give them.

If this is meant for yourself, again my answer is for you to seek out support, kindness, acceptance, and unconditional affirmation of yourself - from beloved others as well as from yourself (though that can be hard). We often think we need motivation when actually what we need is kindness and emotional rest.

If you're sure that motivation really is what you want, I think that unless you have already built up a ritual around your motivational technique (I'll come back to that, it's important), what we find motivational and what comes across as a platitude to us is highly dependent on who we are, what our personal associations are with particular words or phrases or quotes. It's even down to who we are at this particular moment. I have a tattoo on my forearm that says "Rise Up". For me the words and the personal associations are incredibly heartening and motivating, usually. But there are lots of days when I haven't been able to get out of bed from feeling like a failure or whatever, and I look at my forearm, and all I can think is "fuck off, YOU rise up." There is no single quote, nor even any single class of motivational tools (quotes, reward systems, external accountability, whatever), that will work all the time even on just one single person (me) who I know inside out. It's always down to figuring out my peculiar and particular stuck points in that particular moment.

BUT you can hack this. You can intentionally build a ritual around a particular motivational Thing, and it doesn't matter what it is, it can literally be the most platitudinous of platitudes, the only thing that matters is that you dedicate yourself to setting down that ritual and treating it as sacred. YOU imbue it with meaning. YOU grant it the power to move you. And then, no matter what "it" is, it will move you, because we are neurobiologically pretty goddamn easy to manipulate. A random ass stone picked up off a street can become the thing that helps us face our wildest fears, as long as we have a powerful story to attach to the stone, give it meaning, and ritualize using that stone (with all its associations) regularly and ritualistically over and over. The power of ritual and habit is immense. It's the closest thing we have to motivation on tap.
posted by MiraK at 7:28 AM on November 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

I’ve observed elsewhere that the underrated and under-famous Mountain Goats song “Choked Out” is my anthem for the moment where you have no choice but to embrace the shit, although you kind of also are making the choice to embrace the shit. “Everybody’s got limits,” the narrator says, “nobody’s found mine.”
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 8:04 AM on November 2, 2021 [3 favorites]

Much depends on if you have any room for initiative. There is a huge difference between "From now on I am going to be in appalling pain because I have a damaged spine" and "I HAVE to keep working at this abusive job because if I walk away from it I will lose my house and future employability and be unable to feed my kids," and "I can't leave my partner who keeps hitting me because I shut down completely with terror at the thought because I NEED him."

In the first case it doesn't matter what you do, you don't need self discipline and motivation to keep things going a little longer, because it is happening without any input from you.

In no case do platitudes help you unless you see them as insight rather than cliche.

My question is, what do you mean by, and what are the consequences of "losing it"?

Losing it could mean just giving in to the grief and rage and frustration and having a crying jag and temper tantrum. This kind of losing it is probably overdue, and might be cathartic, so perhaps finding a private location and trying it out is not a bad idea. Things suck, so why not cry? Being stoical and minimizing isn't working.

Yelling at people who are trying clumsily to be sympathetic will drive them away and hurt their feelings, of course, and likely they will think badly of you. If you want to salvage the relationship, don't yell at them. And if they are going to say something that will tip you over the edge, don't give them the opportunity to say it.

Losing it could mean going off the meds, or saving them and then swallowing them all at once, or getting a gun and going postal, or walking out of the house one day and not coming back, or staying in bed without even calling sick so that they fire you, or beating the kids, or dumping your kids at McDonalds and calling 911 to pick them up because you are not coming back, or trying to trigger the partner into finally killing you - doing something that will cause change the situation in big ways, but will also cause irretrievable harm.

I am guessing that looking to the Wise for comfort and strength is not cutting it anymore because they just tell you to soak it up and tough it out and you can't soak it up anymore. When you tell them that you are about to break they tell you that you can't break, but they are wrong because you can, and you are and you will.

I think the first thing to do is to remove yourself from the sources of advice that cheer you on "You can do it!" "The kids need you!" "You'll never get a better job!" "Don't throw away everything you have worked for!" and contemplate how to lessen the damage when you lose it. If you are at breaking point, it is time to consider if there is a way to break that will lessen the damage.

When you are looking into the abyss it doesn't look like there is a good way to jump. You've already ascertained there is no way across, that you don't have the wings needed to carry you. After that you can start thinking in terms of not pulling anyone else down with you, or looking for ledges.

If you begin by working from the assumption that the worst is going to happen - you and the kids homeless because you punched your boss in the mouth, for example - you can look for scenarios that are not quite as bad as some of the others. Better your kids end up in foster care without you hitting them too, better you end up fired without being charged with assault, better you park at least one of the kids on your sister than that both of them go into foster care, better that you deliberately screw up at work so they fire you so that you can get UI, better that you file for bankruptcy rather than you walk away from the house, better that you walk away from the house than you set it on fire with everyone inside it, better that you tell your doctor you are suicidal enough you have given half your possessions away and at least try Prozac before you take that overdose you are hoarding. Even when all the options are untenable some of them are less bad.

When the centre will not longer hold you're STILL going to be left picking up the pieces. If you abandon the kids at McDonalds and call 911 to pick them up, someone, maybe even you is going to have to make that call to your sister to ask if she will take one or both of them. The kids and you will both be less traumatized if you call her without having left them at McDonalds first. If they foreclose on you, you will still have to look for an alternative place to live. It's better to house hunt from inside the house you are about to lose, than from your car or from the sidewalk in front of your house. You'll still be trying to find out where to park overnight that has access to toilets. Don't wait until you are in freefall to look for ways to slow the descent.

Sometimes there is nothing you can do, because the worst has happened. The kid has leukemia and there are no treatment options. Your heart is being cut out of your chest. There will never be joy again. The pain is so bad you can't even tell the levels of pain apart, only that you can observe dimly that sometimes you are capable of talking and that your body is automatically going through life functions in spite of you and in spite of you not caring if you piss yourself or fall when you go down the stairs or get abandoned by all your family but you don't care because nothing can make the times when you appear to be functional perceptibly worse.

If it's like that nobody can be anything but Job's comforters. If it's like that all you can do is ask them to stop trying to comfort you and send them away. If losing it, in your case means yelling at your sister, it's probably better if you tell her that either she can stop talking about it or she can stop talking to you for awhile, you can't deal with hearing it anymore and one way or another you will not be discussing it with her again.

It may be that the situation you are referring to is not as dramatically extreme as what I used for my examples. It could also be that your situation is worse. That doesn't make a difference because it is still your situation, your life and you have to live it. Telling someone that their broken leg doesn't matter because other people have third degree burns neither takes the pain away, nor makes it possible for you to walk on the leg.

You need room to grieve and to rage and to give up. It's honestly quite true that someone with an unstable ego can suffer more growing some wrinkles and not being pretty anymore than someone with a solid ego and a calm temperament can suffer from a cancer diagnosis. But it's not the fault of the person whose self worth is tied up in their looks that they are more vulnerable, any more than it is the fault of the red head who sunburns more easily. All those platitudes sound like they are dismissing the fact that you hurt and that you are suffering - they sound like they are minimizing and telling you in mealy mouthed language to shut up. Some of your grief and rage may be caused by the pain of knowing that other people in your life who supposedly care about you do not care enough to actually provide sympathy. But usually other people cannot help and cannot comfort you. If they could they already would have. If they used to and they aren't now it's because it has stopped working. And if it's not working it's because it doesn't work.
posted by Jane the Brown at 8:08 AM on November 2, 2021 [3 favorites]

Seconding this:

Spite. If anything has kept me from tipping into self harm in my darkest moments, it’s been the knowledge that many bigots would be absolutely furious to see me alive, and for me to have respect for myself, and think that I deserve nice things. Make them mad. Spite them. Live.

In my case, I substituted "fate itself" for the bigots who would hate to see me succeed - when I was going through a huge stretch of hard luck, sometimes I would get this attitude where it was like I was looking the Universe right in the eye and saying "oh yeah, you're gonna do THAT to me? You think THAT'S gonna make me cave? Fuck you," and then I'd go do something life-affirming to spite my circumstance (my woes were mainly financial, and one of the "fuck-you, fate" moves I made was to blow $20 bucks on flowers for myself purely because it was a frivolous purchase).

Songs also helped too - two in particular were Great Big Sea's Ordinary Day, and The Waterboys' Fisherman's Blues, with one lyric from that latter one in particular sticking out for me:
I know I will be loosened from the bonds that hold me fast
The chains all around me will fall away at last
And on that fine and fateful day I will take me in my hands
I will ride on the train, I will be the fisherman
With light in my head, you in my arms...
(The bits about the train and the fisherman are in earlier lyrics and make sense in context, I promise)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:04 AM on November 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

These days when I'm in this situation, I just kind of tune out when I hear a BS platitude coming my way. "God never gives you more than you can handle!" chirps whoever. With practice I have trained myself to hear instead: "Gargle banargle hargle whoopdedooooo!" Or I look at the person's face and ignore what words are coming out of their mouth. And then I smile and nod and say Yep or Nope or whatever. I just don't listen to it anymore, because I know if I do I will be upset for the rest of the day.

This has only worked for me after a lot of practice and thought. Some things I tried:
- focusing on intent rather than the actual ridiculous phrase coming out of their mouth. (This person cares for me and wants to support me, they would not say this if they knew how it hurt.)
- gentle callout on what they said (You know, I've heard that a lot and it doesn't help me. I do appreciate your support, though, etc)
- losing it with safe people like my mom, my dad, my sister, a couple friends where our relationship could take a meltdown (You have no idea how much I hear that and it sucks, why would you say that? etc)
- disconnecting with certain social media platforms; I basically created my own personal victim hierarchy and looking at anyone else's trials (even more so than their happiness) got my back up. I absolutely recognize that is ridiculous, and I had better perspective when I stepped back from the feed.

One platitude that I have come around to is This Too Shall Pass. Ugh, even typing that annoys me. But now I think of it as "One way or another, this thing is going to end someday." I mean that in the most basic way -- I know in my particular situation it will likely end with death, but that is comforting to me? This thing I am going through is hard and sometimes horrible, and I will always be going through it and not getting OUT, but it will ultimately, like everything, end. I will enjoy every drop that I can until then, because this/it is going to end. Sorry -- that sounded coherent in my head but maybe that is a personal realization that everyone has in a different way and with different connections.

My other (newer) mantra for getting through is one day at a time, or one hour at a time, or one moment at a time. Every day is different and a good day doesn't mean a trend. I am a planner and a worrier and this has been hard for me. These days my to-do list is titled Wish List. :)

Mindfulness has helped me. I found a lot of tips here on ask me, from similar questions.

Also, another bump for spite/etc - at one point my spouse and I made a list of the things people said to us and in what context (eg: our plumber! on his first visit! Why! WTF!) and every so often we would read them aloud to each other. Y(mocking)MMV.
posted by pepper bird at 12:06 PM on November 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I am close to asking this be moved to Talk.

Some fun platitudes:

"Everything happens for a reason!" No shit, correlation, causation? Cause and effect? Well hot dog, thanks. It's as if you literally made the thing happen with your actions, it's genius.

"This too shall pass." Most ideally written on a bathroom stall, truly.

Just.. fuck, if you can't help the person, you don't have to say anything. An acceptable platitude is the Canadian sorry, because it usually isn't a platitude. It's usually a sincere, general apology, from a very sincere place (such as Canada).

Thank you. Feel free to keep adding, very appreciated.
posted by firstdaffodils at 12:36 PM on November 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

Are you asking how to respond to a stupid platitude?

"That's not helpful" is pretty straightforward. And to the inevitable protest: "Well, it's not helping me."
But I imagine if hearing a platitude is grating, arguing with the person would be even worse. We don't want to wrangle people into displaying appropriate empathy, not when we're already exhausted.

So I guess I would stop talking to people who give me stupid replies. Maybe if they're good friends you could tell them what response you actually need.
posted by Omnomnom at 1:46 PM on November 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

Seconding "the only way out is through." There's a Bush song with those lyrics, and I doubt you are an angst-ridden 20-something dude who likes mediocre British hard rock, but when that song was released, I was an angst-ridden 20-something dude dealing with a lot of ridiculous awful situations that I couldn't easily escape, and it got a lot of loud airplay in my car. I did eventually escape, but that was a lot of luck and privilege and I'm not sure how much that part generalizes, but.. sometimes you just got to keep doing one little step at a time until you get to a place where you can make some big changes.
posted by Alterscape at 3:07 PM on November 2, 2021

I think in many situations "useless platitudes," are an indication of social awkwardness. Perhaps the situation can be avoided with strangers / acquaintances by side stepping the situation. (E.g. responding with "it's 2021" or "same old same old" when asked "how are you?") With helpful friends and family members, clarify what kinds of support you are seeking. (E.g., I have the medical thing covered by my doctor, but you could help me out if I could just vent to you for the next five minutes). With less/unhelpful folks, you can let them know that you aren't up for talking about the subject right now, but you'd love to hear how they are doing.
posted by oceano at 4:14 PM on November 2, 2021

Best answer: I'm also not sure if this question is asking for how we got ourselves through when we were going to hell, or asking how a person going through hell could best respond when offered platitudes.

Some of the things that got me through were platitudes, they were just the platitudes that happened to work for me. YMMV. Some were tactics or strategies. But I'm also not clear if that's what you're looking for.

If you're asking how to respond to platitudes, I would say it depends on the circumstances and how important the person is to you either emotionally or strategically.

Basically people who don't matter to you, their platitudes don't matter either. It doesn't matter how you respond and your struggles are probably none of their business anyway. Tell them "screw that" or whatever.

If it's someone that you want to be a supportive and help to you and a worthwhile relationship to build, then it might be worth engaging just to say, 'that's really not working for me now. I just need listen and tell me you're sorry.' If they can't handle that, then tell them that you appreciate them as a person but you have to take care of yourself now and step away - and then actually step away.

If it's someone that you don't care about - enough to be worth the trouble to be truthful with - but do need either socially or professionally, then this is a strategic question and the question is not, how helpful to you (or not) are the platitudes, but how can you shake off the platitudes with the least damage to yourself and to the relationship. I guess the best response is something along the lines of, "thank you, I appreciate the thought"; venting out the anger elsewhere; and doing your best to limit that person's knowledge of or opportunities to comment on your life.

Try not to lose it in any context that could come back and make your life harder. How? Well that's kind of back to the first question of how to get through to the other side of something hellish, which it sounds like you are definitely not asking us about...
posted by Salamandrous at 5:06 PM on November 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

When it was cancer for me, my motivating mantra was: 'the only way out is through'.

I've seen this variation attributed to Winston Churchill: "If you're going through hell -- keep going."
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 7:46 PM on November 2, 2021

You don’t have to bite their heads off but you don’t have to smile about it either. You could say “so they say,” “as I’ve heard,” ”wouldn’t that be nice,” “if only it were that simple.” This honors your exhaustion and may help you feel less pressurized, yet it’s not rude.

Of course, there is absolutely no satisfactory response to some things (like death of a loved one, serious pain, etc.) Some things are so awful they really are private hells, and that’s very lonely. The person saying these things isn’t in your hell—or even your reality. They do not and cannot speak the language. What could they say, really? That’s why they resort to platitudes. We all do.

If someone you’re very close to is saying these things, then you have more standing to say something like “I appreciate your listening to and supporting me, but can I tell you what I need right now? I would just like one person to acknowledge that this is hell and it’s terrible and it’s going to keep being terrible for a while.” If they care about you they’ll do it.

Sorry if I’ve misinterpreted your question (it’s not you, my brain’s tired too.)
posted by kapers at 9:12 PM on November 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If your question is more about living with the unlivable then I suggest any combination of therapy; honestly acknowledging the shittiness with a close friend who won’t feel the need to advise you in any way, just validate you; a radical change; an exhilarating positive or somewhat risky experience like a vacation or love affair or singing in front of people; letting yourself feel extreme sadness, anger, or grief for a set period of time and then taking steps to accept it and move on whether or not you feel ready, because sometimes going through the motions shakes loose some actual change.
posted by kapers at 9:19 PM on November 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thankfully I don't believe in hell, maybe that's a step in a sound direction.

Recognizing intention is pretty key. I think platitudes do provide a social buffer for people who don't know what place they exist within or what to say, and it isn't always their fault. It's hard, because unless a common truth really encapsulates a universal human experience, it can be extraordinarily annoying to hear or almost like an advertisement of sorts. (not buying) (and in which case, if it is a u. truth, is it a platitude?)

You guys are fine, if the suggestions don't take with me, they will somewhere else.
posted by firstdaffodils at 10:28 PM on November 2, 2021

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