Published: July 28, 2022
"Fruit Cake" - Media From Wix
Dear Whisperer of Empty Comforts,
You know who you are. You’re the individual who shouts “You matter” to a ride-or-die grappling with depression, without taking a second to listen to their story. You’re the individual who tells a soul mate that their sorrows are “not a big deal” and that they should “be happy”. You’re the individual who tells your posse to “manage stress and practice yoga” while they are being emotionally crushed by a thousand demons. Succinctly speaking, you’re a whisperer of empty comforts.
What does the phrase “empty comforts” mean, anyway? Empty comforts refer to statements intended to be reassuring, but are of insubstantial value for a troubled soul: think insincere compliments and cliche advice. Whispering empty comforts to someone is akin to serving Gordon Ramsey corn syrup for dessert: honeyed, yet devoid of substance. One can visualize his reaction to such culinary insolence: the shattering of said dish with his bare hands, his expression flushed red as he hurls you out the kitchen window.
Don’t get me wrong, I wholeheartedly admire your efforts to speak benevolently. Our world is replete with the bitterness of grief, natural disasters, isolation, a plethora of clusterfucks, and I commend you for desiring to make life palatable for others. Nonetheless, I’d appreciate it if you served your loved ones a dessert more sophisticated than what would be the equivalent of verbal corn syrup. For there is a pronounced difference between inauthentic flattery and verbal haute cuisine. The former leads to futility at best and alienation at worst, while the latter forges connection, caring, and compassion. The former is simple and superficial, while the latter requires immense dedication in supporting a troubled soul. The former is unrefined and tasteless, while the latter will have those closest to you gleefully lapping up a symphony of flavors.
What if, instead of serving her a plate of corn syrup, you took the time to prepare her a meal of artful desserts? Perhaps start off with the hors d’oeuvres of French pastries that are words of empathy and validation, instead of dismissively advising her to “reduce stress and do yoga”. Followed by an entree of the chocolate lava cake of loyalty — whispering to her that you will be there for her messy, beautiful self until all stars supernova, until the universe takes its dying breath, until the concept of time ceases to exist altogether. Should you seek to further indulge your close one – present her afterwards with the lemon meringue pie of an authentic compliment - for speaking candidly of an individual’s talents, achievements, and character is a monumental improvement over playing the “You Matter” card.
The day you choose to serve no more the corn syrup of empty comfort, will be the day you touch profoundly your soul mates, your ride-or-dies, your posse of tight-knit comrades. Your warmth will be relished, your care treasured, your words of healing consecrated in the minds of others. And when you instead use your heart as a bakery to create confectionaries of kindness, your relationships will climb to a level of intimacy, of trust, of authenticity you previously thought was unfathomable.