Are these Cliches Helping or Hindering?

People repeat clichés all the time. Not even realising what they are saying. Mainly as they have heard them for most of their life.

No matter what which of the 40+ loss events, people will utilise these various clichés:

  1. “Get a hold of yourself.”
  2. “You’re strong, you’ll be ok.”
  3. “You can’t fall apart.”
  4. “We understand how you feel.”
  5. “I never liked your ex, anyway.”
  6. “Be thankful you have other children.”
  7. “The living must go on.”
  8. “You’re better off without them.”
  9. “You’ll easily find another job.”
  10. “You will never receive more than you can handle.”

The list represents some of the concepts and ideas that people (and you) may say, trying to assist you in dealing with the losses in your life.

It seems a little ridiculous that these common phrases are used so often especially when you remember that “Every relationship is unique, as is every loss.” We have never walked an inch in someone else’s shoes, so why would we feel and say these thoughtless phrases, trying to make others (and ourselves) feel better?

  1. Get a hold of yourself:

    When someone says this phrase to you after a major loss ask yourself,” Is this comment being said for me or for them?”  Everyone will deal with their grief and suffering in their own most ideal way. It’s time for us all to stop judging how people grieve. Start asking, How can I be there for you at this time? Then listen and do as they suggest.

  2. You’re strong you’ll be ok:

    This is one of the most common things that was said to me when Dan passed. I remember thinking, “surely this is the perfect time for me to stop being the strong one?” Of course, I was the strong one. Please never say this. Suggest that you be the strong one for them, for a change.

  3. You can’t fall apart:

    This is all about others and has nothing to do with you and your grieving process. I’ve found that when a Beyond Loss event occurs that is the most opportune moment for you to start asking this question: “If I say Yes to you, am I saying No to Me?” You will find that you probably have been, so start saying NO, more often!

  4. We understand how you feel:

    Hmmm, no you do not. Every relationship is unique, as is every loss. We have never walked an inch in someone else’s shoes. The only way to know how they feel is to ask them………. and then listen to the answer. Then you’ll know how to be there for them.

  5. Be thankful you have other children:

    Someone at Dan’s funeral said that I was lucky I had two other sons. Seriously, what were they thinking? Actually, they were not. If you are uncomfortable and do not know what to say, say nothing. or say, “I don’t know what to say. I can’t imagine what you are going through. How can I help you?

  6. The living must go on:

    I feel a better thing to say would be something along the lines of “how can we ensure that you can design a life where you are living and loving each and every day. Let’s make this your pivotal moment in making it happen.”

  7. I never liked your partner, anyway:

    This is probably the most thoughtless thing you can say to someone when they share that their marriage or partnership is over. Especially if you have been a constant part of the couple’s lives. Always remember that they thought they would be spending the rest of their lives together.

  8. You’re better off without them:

    This is similar to the last one. A better rephrasing would be, “That is sad. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision, have you thought about how you can ensure that your life moving forward will be better than it has been?”

  9. You’ll easily find another job:

    This may be the case, though at this time they may be worried about how they will survive without the regular income. Ask questions along those lines, as opposed to blanket statements that are meaningless.

  10. You’ll never receive more than you can handle:

    Whilst I personally believe that this statement is true, I would never say this to someone who is in the midst of their personal loss event.


These cliches say more about the person saying them. They are lost for words and are saying the first thing that pops into their head. Meaningless statements that have been said for centuries.

The best thing to say when someone tells you about their recent loss event is “How can I assist you at this time?” They will then be very grateful that you are there for them.

It is essential that you identify which ideas you are using to deal with grief so that you can see whether they are helping or hindering you and others’ recovery.

No matter what loss you are suffering from it is always ideal for you to dive into the all of the things that may cause you regrets, here are some:

Contemplations for YOU to Ponder:

  • How many of these cliches have I utilised?
  • Do I have any others?
  • What is a better way for me to be there for others?
  • What will be my response when others say these things to me in the future?

Take some time to ponder these questions, write them down. Explore them. Then forgive yourself, for ignorantly saying these cliches to others in the past. Then, forgive the others who have thoughtlessly said these to you. That way you can learn and grow from them…. never to be repeated again.

Until we meet again, please remember that you are Simply the BEST!

Karen and Lesley


#GriefSupport #EmpathyMatters #BeyondClichés #SupportingLoss #MeaningfulWords #WhatToSayWhenLossComesToVisit



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