I agree with Rachel on this, offering positive platitudes is often easier than allowing ourselves to feel anything, so it’s what we offer people who are feeling so much more than that.
“I truly believe that ultimately, we all want to be listened to and supported. We don’t want to be told why our feelings aren’t correct — feelings we have about our own situations. When we hear “Tell me more” or “That sounds really difficult” instead of being advised to be strong and positive, we feel seen. Those who hold space for us are brave. They are willing to set aside their own needs to attend to ours. What a gift this is.”
This is the hard work of supporting people through difficult times. When we hear of something bad happening, we want to say something, and it usually ends up sounding something like toxic positivity, because we don’t know how to handle someone really struggling, and talking about those struggles. We want them to be OK, because we care about them yes, but also because it’s really, really uncomfortable to sit with someone in pain, and so we look for the thing that will make us feel better. Telling someone how strong they are, how things always work out for the best, etc. is really just letting ourselves off the hook for doing the difficult work.We can;t hold space for the people around us trying to heal, or grieving, because we aren’t comfortable with our own emotions. So, we shut down the space, toss out some “good thoughts” and move one.
That’s not really good enough, and yes, as the link below describes, you’re doing more harm than good. You might know that if you actually help space for someone struggling.