top of page

7 Pieces of Cliché Advice That Are Actually Unhealthy

There are several things in this world I absolutely cannot stand:

Predictable outfits;

Loud, invasive noises;

When people don't blink for long periods of time (it makes me uncomfortable);

Inefficient processes;

and last, but DEF not least....

unsolicited, cliché advice.

That's right, I struggle in a major way with cliché advice.

Historically, I have judged people who use them all of the time (and continuously have to monitor myself) because clichés don't seem real.

They are typically unsolicited, used to make the person who is giving the advice feel better, gives everyone involved a false sense of wisdom and truth and don't provide clear, practical solutions.

And I really love clear, practical solutions AND I really love healthy advice.

I took some time to think about cliché advice that I'm sure I've given at some point and advice that I've definitely received. Here's 7 pieces of advice that seem okay, but are actually unhealthy.

1. Time heals all.

This is probably some of the worst advice people give. Why? Because time, in fact, does not heal all... time PLUS intentional healing and change heals all. Time in and of itself does not make everything magically "healed" and "new."

We give this advice to people when we have hope of some type of change -- situations, people, relationships and jobs all do have resting potential (I believe most all people and situations have some sort of potential). But, for hope and for potential to be real it has to be grounded in reality.

We know time can heal situations if the people involved make steady change through time and show us, through actions, that our hope is valid. If hope is not valid, it ain't going to be reliable... so don't bank on time alone healing a situation.

2. You don't have a choice.

I've learned that in every single decision there is to be made, there is always a choice. We can often feel as if there isn't one, but sometimes feelings aren't the reality.

Feelings are very, very important when making a choice -- they will tell us what's safe and not safe and let us know what we can and can't live with (#Boundaries101). However whenever we rely solely on our emotions and do not combine them with rational decision making, we will always feel like there is not a choice.

We give the "you-don't-have-a-choice" advice whenever we are looking for a very specific outcome-- when we're trying to control what happens and how other people feel. Sadly choice, people and emotions don't work like that, though.

When people get in predicaments where they feel as if there are no options, instead of giving cliché, unsolicited advice, we should start asking the question: Can you live with any outcome?

3. Never give up.

I am a firm believer in hard work and dedication -- I will work and work and work... then work some more because I know I've got 10% left to give, then work a little for the 10% you have left to give.

I grew up understanding that discipline and work ethic are the key to success -- my problem was, I was so married to this idea that I thought hard work and "not giving up" would fix most all situations. W R O N G.

If this advice is given as a blanket statement, it's very problematic -- there are some relationships, jobs, projects, and other life things we should let go. If something is harmful to our health, physical safety and emotional safety, we should 100% abandon whatever that is long enough to create healthy boundaries.

For example, imagine giving this advice to a woman in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship, or giving this advice to an 18-year old who tries to study the exact same way, but keeps failing the tests again and again.

This advice only works if we discuss the importance of change, adaptation and safety. If those characteristics are t