“Everything happens for a reason.”
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
“God only gives you what you can handle.”
Delete those from your memory right now because they are actually not helpful.
Do you know how it can be received? That those feelings are invalid. When someone tells you something they’re dealing with and you throw a cliche at them, it basically says that what they’re feeling isn’t worth acknowledging. Now before you say that I’m overreacting, let me explain.
My child is sick. In the hospital and we’re not sure what’s wrong and if he’ll be okay. I share those details with you and how I feel about it. It’s scary. Heartbreaking and I want to do nothing more than take his place.
Insert a cliche. “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.”
This leaves zero room for acknowledgment. It basically says that you have to know how to deal with this because it’s not more than what you can handle, so it shouldn’t be this hard. And unless you’ve been in that situation this won’t even make sense to you.
But. That’s okay.
All you need to remember is not to use those phrases in times like this. Or ever?
So what can you do?
Acknowledge their feelings. Let them know their feelings are valid and that you’re willing to listen. You don’t need to have all the answers.
We don’t need answers (okay, we do, but not from you most likely) we just need people to listen and be there with us.