If there is one phrase I would like to remove from the English language, it is “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.
Seriously people, we have to stop saying this to traumatised individuals.
I realise it’s coming from a place of good intent and trying to be helpful, but, IT IS NOT.
It utterly invalidates other people’s experience, pain and trauma…AND (as if that were not enough!) also implies they should somehow be GRATEFUL for their suffering as it’s creating some handy personal development ?
I can’t even!
I know when this has been said to me in the depths of personal hellscape, it made me feel…
a) ANGRY (you want me to to grateful for this hell?)
b) ALONE (you obviously have NO IDEA what I am really going through here or you would not have said something so insulting / idiotic)
So, please let’s stop using this phrase, I know it’s well intentioned but it is unhelpful verging on damaging.
If you are unsure of what to say to someone who is in a personal hellscape, try these instead..
“I’m so sorry you are experiencing this. I’m here for you in any way you need”
“I don’t know what to say but I do know I care about you deeply, and you can share anything you need with me, I’m here”
“This is all so shocking, it’s going to take you time to come to terms with it. I’m here for you”
Because, whether what doesn’t kill you may or may not make you stronger (and if it does that strength will be a long way up the road) IT’S JUST NOT HELPFUL in the moment. What doesn’t kill you can steal your sense of self and make you wish it did. That trauma needs to be seen, honoured and healed, not dismissed.
Has anyone said it to you? Did it help? I thought not!
Let’s collectively consign this outdated phrase to the bin where it belongs.
If you are going through hell right now, please reach out to your most thoughtful, empathetic people. You are not alone ?