For a long time, I have wondered why anybody ever uses the saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” It is supposed to be empowering, I suppose. But there are lots of other choices when it comes to empowering little sayings, and most of them are at least kind of true.
This one isn’t even the least bit true. At the risk of being pedantic and obvious, I am going to explain why, because apparently this actually does need to be explained.
A nonexhaustive list of things that wouldn’t necessarily kill you but definitely would not make you stronger:
- Losing a leg.
- Muscular atrophy.
- A donut.
- Bullet in the leg.
- Bear trap.
I know this saying is supposed to be partially metaphorical. Seems that it is most commonly used by young women who are making a vague reference to a romantic relationship. I am painting with an awfully broad brush, here, but in my personal experience the people most likely to apply this saying to their love life are the people who are constantly experiencing destructive relationships. In other words, they do not seem to be getting any stronger, and certainly not any smarter. They do, however, write things with MiSplaCeD CaPiTalS (for some reason) and take self-portraits in the bathroom mirror.
These kinds of people are especially fond of this saying for two main reasons: (1) It allows them to perceive their self-destructive behaviors as a type of delayed-gratification self-improvement, a tearing down in order to build back up, like they’re lifting weights, and, (2) they’re morons.
Most people can see that this saying is inaccurate and mostly meaningless, but the people who can see that aren’t the ones who need it to be true and meaningful, because they can view their own experiences with at least a marginal degree of objectivity.
Most of us (if we find any sort of inspiration in little sayings at all), can get by on more realistic, practical sayings, like the following;
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” — Mike Tyson.
“Keep sawin’ wood.” — Mark Mangino.
“Remember to always be yourself, unless you suck.” — Joss Whedon.