Words from the heart

Some people live their lives in the Land of Clichés and Memes. What are they you ask? Well, a cliché is a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought and a meme (rhymes with team) is a humorous or thought provoking image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.

One thing to note…technically all clichés are memes but not all memes are clichés.

I have noticed a trend in people using phrases when talking about Multiple Sclerosis. Words that once were amazing, but have become so common that they no longer provide the strength they originally carried. Things like:

It could be worse.
Time heals all wounds.
Everything happens for a reason.

Personally, when I’m feeling bad and having a terrible time with MS, I’m not comforted with statements like: I have MS but MS doesn’t have me. That is one phrase that has become so overused I don’t even listen to the person sharing it.

The reality is…sometimes, MS does have me. Sometimes, I have really crappy days. Don’t get me wrong, I totally believe in staying on the positive side of things and looking for the good in any tragic situation, but there are times when I need space to think and grieve, and to decide for myself how I want to move forward. I don’t need words carelessly tossed out as a solution by someone who’s not walking in my shoes.

Seriously, if you’ve ever thrown out a cliché or meme in response to someone dealing with a relapse or sitting in the hospital awaiting test results because you want to bring comfort to them, I urge you to never do it again. Why? Because in a moment of tears, they need time to process the chaos and would get more benefit out of a hug than a worn out set of stale words.

Why not just use your own words? The best thing anyone could say when times are at their worst are words from the heart. And for many, saying nothing at all, simply being there is all a person needs, standing with them in the pain and holding them up when they have no more strength left to stand on their own.

Instead of quoting from something you’ve heard over an over again, thoughtfully put together your own words filled with care, understanding, sincerity, and lots and lots of love. That’s what brings comfort. That’s what helps bring smiles to a face covered in tears. Well, that and maybe a joke or two to break the moment with a laugh…and some chocolate. Chocolate always helps.

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About the Author
About the Author
Penelope Conway

Penelope Conway
Penelope started Positive Living with MS as a way to help others with MS stay positive in the midst of a terrible disease. She believes that staying positive and holding onto hope is the key to waking up each morning with the strength to get through the day. Multiple Sclerosis may never go away, but neither will her determination and her drive to help others through the journey.

6 replies
  1. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    I have very few comments about my MS as I must have a lot of good people around. But I do know cliches are not good for any ‘sick’ person. I have seen this before I got MS and it’s not good then and now so I hope you don’t meet many like that. If they haven’t got anything good to say then shut up.

  2. Nancy Jones
    Nancy Jones says:

    Ouch. Even though I have MS myself I know I am guilty of doing that very thing. I try to be mindful when I speak to others when they are having a hard time, but sometimes, especially when I’m having a difficult day myself, I throw out words just to say something, but it’s not from the heart. I will try to think about that from now on. Thank you Penelope.

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