Platitudes and Patterns

Be present in the moment. Don’t look too far ahead or too far behind you. Your time is now. You know what all of these phrases have in common? They’re all platitudes. I’m not suggesting not to say them, just don’t say them to me. I appreciate people trying to be supportive, encouraging and even helpful but don’t give me anymore fucking platitudes. The world is full of them, I could probably fill one of those 365 day calendars with them, one a day for an entire year. Worst. Thing. Ever. I don’t mean to suggest platitudes don’t have a time and place, but please spare the rest of the world from having to hear them all the time.


The world I inhabit isn’t full of platitudes, it’s full of facts and figures, analysis and data, ideas and innovation. Platitudes have no place in this world, not when there are logical patterns involved. I value logic and ideas, critical thinking and the ability to be speak clearly, platitudes only offer a generalization, not a solution to a problem.

When I was little, I always thought I was so much like mom, I thought we saw the world through the same lens, and our personalities were more aligned. I thought my dad inhabited another planet, one where emotion wasn’t understood and only logic ruled. During my teenage years I fought more with my dad than my mom, she offered an emotional haven of sorts, much more willing to let me cry and be frustrated by the cruelties of teenage drama. She gave me platitudes aplenty, about life being unfair but if we just worked hard and believed magical things would happen.

In adulthood, I recognize something powerful, I am much more like my dad, more than I ever thought possible. The day I had this realization, something shifted for me, I realized my entire childhood the reason I couldn’t get along with my dad is because we’re too much alike. I am analytical and over-think everything, I value realism and science to the ethereal and mystical. However, I am also pieces of my mom, with her gift for empathy–sometimes too much of it–and willingness to care so deeply.

I am an original and nothing like either of my parents and that is the best feeling of all, to know that many of the things I am in the world has nothing to do with anyone but me. It might sound selfish, but an appreciation of what makes me interesting means I can better understand how each person I work with is also one-of-a-kind. I know I’m headed toward creating my own book of platitudes here, but the value of knowing myself means I can more deeply know and understand others.

I try to avoid the platitudes and instead to speak in truth. It sounds a little woo woo, but that’s my gift, digging deep inside, past the platitudes and lightness to the grit and the real, the fucked up kids we all are inside who have resentment, frustration, darkness and pain. I am all for the lightness and hope, but I value understanding what makes someone tick, over telling them everything is going to be okay.

My analytical over-thinking truth telling self knows that understanding the patterns of childhood, the blueprints we all start out with, the things that shape up us into who we are becoming, those are the things that matter. I won’t offer platitudes but I will offer this, know thyself and understand the patterns, because those are the things that provide solutions to the problems we all have now. The pieces that we all think we buried, are the things that always come up again and again, luring us back into the dark, and unwilling to let us go. Break down that pattern, create and innovate a new way of being and just maybe find the answer to why those platitudes annoy us so much.

Shannon Miller

I'm a pint-sized blonde with a side of snark. I am a coach, consultant and all around badass. I work with both men and women, with hearts of warriors and hearts for service. I am a lover of books, traveling and all things equine.

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