Keep Your Chin Up


Keep Your Chin Up

English: Girl performs chin-up English: Girl performs chin-up (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Keep Your Chin Up, the one phrase I hate more than any. This phrase rubs me the wrong way. "Keep You Chin Up" is that go-to phrase that people use when they have no idea what to say.

I think I hate it for two reasons. The first I feel that the person has no idea what to say. I know that sometimes there are things in life that are tough and I know that when we are trying to be there for someone we do not have the words or what we think are the right words to help them through. (Important:  DON'T SAY IT!)

I would rather have the person who I am talking to say ,"What you are going through sucks butt!" or "What you are going through sucks butt and I have no idea what to say" or "What you are going through sucks butt and I have no idea what to say, but I am hear to listen as long as you need me."

Be honest with me; tell me that you don't know the right words. I get that. I understand that. I sure as hell do not even know what "Keep Your Chin UP" means.

So I went to the world-wide inter-webs to see what this phrase really meant. One website said that it is a phrase of encouragement for someone who has to bear some emotional burdens. YUCK. Then I stumbled upon the following information on the where the phrase "Keep Your Chin Up" originated from. Thanks to the website "Keep your chin up. Don't take your troubles to bed with you - hang them on a chair with your trousers or drop them in a glass of water with your teeth." . Okay, this is a little funny and I am all about humor when it comes to caregiving,

Having said that I still have a strong dislike for this phrase. I think the second reason is that when people use this phrase I tend to feel that people use it because they are lazy or don't really want to take the time to listen or understand what I am going through. One last meaning for this phrase is that when you are sad or depressed your chin goes toward your chest.  Having you chin held up shows confidence. I get that but there are times when I am not confident and I just need to be not confident at that moment. I need someone to listen to me and not try to make it okay with an outdated phrase that people try to use to make themselves alright in the moment.

Vulnerability and sharing with your friend or family member that you don't know what to say is more authentic than using an outdated phrase that feels like you are brushing that person off. Be vulnerable and authentic as a caregiver; I can understand those feelings.

Written July 20, 2012 - 5:00 a.m.

Like this article? Share on social


Sign in to comment


I never know how to respond to all of those cliche phrases (<a href='' rel=\"nofollow\">@Sue</a>, I REALLY hate the \"everything happens for a reason\" one too). I want to respond based on how I feel at the moment....which is not always good. I want to scream, \"walk in my shoes, then say that!\". Most of the time I just say nothing and keep my thoughts to myself. \r\n\r\nStay strong, at least everyone here \"gets it\" :)\r\nShasta


My other pet peeve phrase, \"everything happens for a reason.\" It may be true, but it really doesn't make the fact that it is happening to ME right NOW any better. Even changing it to say, \"can you find some good in what is happening right now, even though it may be difficult?\" would be better. At least that is a question and not a \"I know better than you - everything happens for a reason.\" statement. \r\n\r\nI also want to steal the \"put it in the water glass with your teeth\" though! :)


Can you tell that someone said that to me the night before I wrote the post?! It really fried me!\r\n\r\n<a href='' rel=\"nofollow\">@ejourneys</a> - you are so right it is a command and maybe that is the 3rd reason that I hate it. The here let me fix you resonates with me, because even if I am having a rough go of it - I don't need to be fixed. \r\n\r\n<a href='' rel=\"nofollow\">@Laurie</a> - \"God doesn't give you more than you can handle\" yes, this is another phrase that is frustrating. Maybe everyone should share their most hated phrases and expressions that people use :) P.S. I did a little research this phrase is not found in the bible. So not only is it a phrase that people rely on to give encouragement it is one that doesn't exist in the bible. (P.S. we need to connect my son is also a child with diabetes)\r\n\r\n@Bob @Richard - I said a lot of buts in that paragraph of this blog :) Can you tell I was a little teed off :) - Someone to listen to me or me to them. Because it is great to be needed in a different way and get out of your head with your own issues and problems. Sometimes just to sit with another person is therapeutic :)\r\n\r\n@Pegi - Go ahead borrow that! You are right I am so glad that I found this forum to really be truthful and honest and vulnerable with. And that you all get what I am feeling. Thank you for being here for me and everyone else!\r\n\r\nThank you for your awesome comments_mysql and for LISTENING!!!!!\r\n\r\nT


I agree completely, Tami. What bites about the phrase is that it's a command. It's a \"Here, let me fix you\" kind of response that indicates the other person simply is not listening. And we need listeners!\r\n\r\nI also agree that there are times when we need -- certainly times when I need -- to be at my emotional worst. To face my anger, sorrow, and sense of hopelessness and not push it away or sugarcoat it, because that's the only way I can work through it -- until I have to work through it again.\r\n\r\nWe have to keep it real so that we can function.


Hooray Tami--very well said. I like \"I can't even begin to imagine what you are going must really suck.....I really don't know what to say or would you like to have some coffee or tea and just talk..........