I’ve learned a lot of new terminology since I moved to the South. Y’all has now become a part of my daily vocabulary and hearing someone say they are “fixin'” to do something no longer draws complete confusion from me. “Bless your heart” is not a word, but a Southern phrase, that quite frankly I cannot stand, so please excuse me while I dissect why this statement does more harm than good.
I genuinely think that most people believe saying “bless your heart” is endearing, and maybe to some it is, but for me I find it rude. If you and I are having a conversation and I am sharing my heart with you over a matter I care deeply about, I will not feel comforted by you saying “oh, bless your heart.” Brene Brown says this phrase is a passive aggressive form of Southern sympathy and I couldn’t agree more.
If I am sharing something with you that is difficult for me, I would like your true understanding and sympathy in return. To me, “bless your heart” might as well translate into “well that sucks, please don’t continue.” In a world that seeks human connection at a deep level, these phrases do not bring us closer, they draw us apart.
You may think I am over analyzing this statement and turning it into something it is not, but I would encourage you to truly think about what you are saying to someone when you say this. Why not exchange “bless your heart” for “That is so difficult. I’ve felt that pain before and know this is a hard time for you”? Maybe I am thinking too deeply about this, but everytime someone says that to me I am immediately turned off from the conversation.
I welcome your thoughts. Do you see this statement as passive aggressive or do you find it endearing?