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Change Takes More than Platitudes

December 28, 2015

Platitudes. Social media is filled with platitudes – those quickie sayings that are supposed to be enlightening or some sort of cosmic truth. All the platitudes are directed towards an attitude, a way of being or accepting or forgiving. Somehow, if you don’t “share” the statement, you are not part of the enlightened.

Trouble is, none of those platitudes speak to the work involved or to the learning of new skill required to achieve the enlightened state. It is as if one simply drinks the cool-aid, believes the belief, shares the sentiment, then the magic will transform the person or situation and all will be sublime. Some people flock to these tellers of truth as if the ability to extol eloquently puts them on a higher spiritual plane for us to all aspire to join.

The persons I see, who after drinking the cool-aid yet failing to soar come broken, not able to appreciate the missed step. Their belief is all about good intention and about extolling who or what you are inside. Their love conquers all or forgiveness sets you free point of view doesn’t yet provide them freedom from the issues that confound their bliss.

Problem is, no one lives with who we are inside. Love does not conquer all and our forgiveness of those who have hurt us does not preclude the other from transgressing again.

We all live with how we are outside. Actual behavior matters.

After the good intention fades we are all left with the legacy – the outcome of what we do or what others do to us. The only thing that really matters is actual behavior.

While the capacity to be or do good may be innate, without learning the how or the what or the when, then behavior may still betray intention. Platitudes fall flat in the absence of something done and what to do may escape you. Like kicking the ball on the floor you seek to pick up, it constantly eludes you because as you chase, you inadvertently kick it further as you approach, never understanding your role in the ball rolling away. It is comedic in image, yet tragic in outcome.

Do not fall prey to the intention of others. Do not rest on your own intentions. Look at what one does and be sure to act in some way or other. Be active in achieving an outcome.

To live in accordance with any principle or ideal, we must learn the associated behavior. Intending to dance the tango in the absence of learning the steps and without practicing the dance will never result in the true activity.

If you want to get along with others and your relationship is faltering, then beyond learning the underlying issues and beyond espousing the goal to which you aspire you must learn the steps, the behavior associated with getting along. To have the new behavior become part of your repertoire of skill, then you must practice. Only with the practice of new behavior will you truly soar. Practice new behavior and you may then achieve the intention of the platitude.

Learn to make a proper apology; learn peaceful behavior and conflict resolution skills; learn how to appropriately sooth self and others; learn how to express and communicate non-offensively; learn how to ask for things nicely; learn to tolerate frustration and upset; learn to put others ahead of yourself; learn to perform acts of charity and giving.

As you do, so you are. If you do not like who you are or the situation you are in, then do something different. If you don’t know what or how to do, then learn. Fancy sayings aren’t enough. That’s my platitude.

Know someone who might benefit from this information? Please scroll down and share this article. Looking for counseling? I typically see people within one to two weeks. It would be my pleasure to be of service.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker.

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America.

If your relationship is faltering, then set it as your priority.

Read: Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships.

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One Comment
  1. Noted !!Happy New  Year When It comes Kenneth Barnes Social Worker

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