Do inspirational quotes make you want to scream?
This is the first sentence of the rest of your life! Everything you want is waiting for you! How do these buzzy strap line quotes make you really feel? Do they actually encourage you to go out and seize the day, do you want to go forth and climb mountains or does this kind of motivational gunk, make you want to punch something, and perhaps feel your failing yourself even more? We’ve all been fans of these inspirational on line messages, over the years, that now seem to pop up everywhere like confetti, on buses, train stations, airports and cafes, all over Instagram, Facebook, we’ve had years of these live, laugh, love, embrace quotes.
Recently this talking point article, written by Marianne Power highlighted, the five most toe- curling phrases.
Dance like nobody’s watching.
( They’re not I live alone and dance in the kitchen)
Everything happens for a reason.
( What’s all that about)
The journey of a thousand miles starts with just one step.
( I’m happy just staying on my sofa)
Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.
( But what if I never wanted it to happen in the first place)
Everything works if you switch it off and back on again, even you.
( Written by someone sharing motivational quotes on line at midnight, after a few glasses of wine)
We’ve seen them everywhere, and yes you read them and perhaps it makes you feel a little bit brighter and then you move on and click, you’ve just forgotten it. Apparently the pandemic has actually made people really think about some of these platitudes and if anything it’s unnerved them and begun to make people feel more miserable, because for some it’s an irritation with these all-knowing patronising messages that are actually highlighting the differences between where people were or where they feel they should be?
It’s so simple to say, stop feeling how stressed you are and just focus on how blessed you are. Psychologist Dr Meg Aarol says ‘there is some evidence that affirmations can help when they actively challenge negative thought patterns but these very quick techniques often just paper over the cracks if that’s all someone relies on for their mental health. The danger is that when these quotes don’t magically make you feel better, it’s easy to blame ourselves because everyone else online seems to be transformed. This results in a gap between reality and our expectations’. We know that gratitude is beneficial to mental health, for example. However it’s possible to be grateful and still feel that maybe we’re struggling a bit these motivational quotes do not really allow for such complexity and what’s more reading these quotes can actually make people feel alone. Dr Arrell adds, ‘when you see a post getting thousands of likes you believe it’s working for everyone else, so why not you? This can make you feel like an outsider and isolated, when we are already isolated.’ It’s the person telling me to seize the day, also sitting in their pyjamas like me? And do we actually remember these nuggets of wisdom. It is part of human nature to contemplate life and seek solace and to think about wise quotes, Stitched to cushions and nuns and monks going into retreat and for us to ponder lines from religious books, and we turn to the wisdom of philosophers for centuries as Socrates, said,’ I can’t teach you anything, I can only make you think’ One of my all time personal favourites, that resonates with me. However I personally and definitely need IT teaching! Perhaps recently we can have too much of a good thing, books that acknowledge that life is hard and that there are no easy answers, can’t simply be put in one sentence and printed on top of a photo of a mountain!