The death of Caroline Flack is tragic – I think we can all agree on that.
But what I noticed in the aftermath of the announcement is the number of people who stated, across all social channels, that their ‘thoughts, prayers, and heart go out to her family and friends’.
This statement is trotted out whenever someone famous dies, whether it’s a tragic accident, a long-term illness, suicide, or simply from old age.
The thing is – and I may get castigated for this statement – it all just appears as wallpaper. Everyone says/types the same thing, one after another.
It begs the question; do your ‘thoughts, prayers, and heart go out to’ people, or is it just something to say? Are you actually spending time thinking about them? Have you actually sat down, or gone to a church, and prayed?
It seems as automatic as following ‘how are you?’ with ‘fine thanks’.
Also, do the family of the deceased want/care about the ‘thoughts and prayers’ of a bunch of random strangers, or would they much rather just have their loved one back?
I feel similarly about the statement ‘I’m/they’re only human’, to excuse certain behaviour.
What does that actually mean?
Of course you’re ‘only human’, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to type/utter that phrase, using words. It doesn’t make your behaviour any less irritating/offensive/wrong e.g ‘Sorry I had an affair with your wife – I’m only human’… ‘sorry I punched you in the face – I’m only human’.
No other species does this:
‘Sorry I killed that antelope, I’m only lion’… said no lion. Ever.
‘Thoughts, prayers, and heart’ and ‘I’m only human’ are wallpaper statements: they appear one after another on social media, as wallpaper, and lose all meaning.
Language is powerful. Its use can mean statements hold great weight… or they can end up meaning nothing at all.