Dear Inspirational Quotes,
I’m breaking up with you. It’s not me, it’s you. Let me explain.
When you first appeared on the scene, you brought joy into my life. You were a little slice of positivity that popped up occasionally on my social media, a counter to the constant barrage of suffering and injustice that fills our newsfeeds.
“The path you’re leading us on is a one-way street to spending our hard-earned dollars. You’re selling us clothing, weight-loss products, beauty, food, homewares… need I go on?”
I began to look forward to you. I saw in you a reflection of myself – the positive outlook, the ‘take charge of your life, chase your dreams and seek joy’ attitude. As you appeared more often, I showed you off to my friends, took inspiration from you and enjoyed the way everyone seemed to latch onto you, too.
But then it all changed. You started appearing everywhere. I’m happy for you, I really am, but I think you’ve lost your soul along the way. You’ve spread yourself so thin, there’s no substance to you anymore.
In the beginning, you were a taste of a larger body of work created by people writing from the heart, wanting to help people become the best version of themselves. You were a beacon leading people to explore the deeper concepts behind your inspiring messages.
But dear Inspirational Quotes, that’s not what you’re about anymore. The path you’re leading us on has become a one-way street to spending our hard-earned dollars. You’re selling us clothing, weight-loss products, beauty, food, homewares… need I go on?
The fact is, you’ve become a cynical marketing tool for those looking to market their brand. You’ve hooked up with every wellness-obsessed Instagrammer shoving their beach-walk-filled, acacia-bowled life down our throats in a bid for popularity and a book-deal/TV show. With every self-appointed guru selling us their one-size-fits-all seven-point plan to happiness and fulfillment. Pretty much anyone who measures their worth by follower numbers.
So I no longer feel joy when I see you. Okay, some days you remind me of something important, and I love you for that, but most of the time it feels like you’re shouting demands: Be happy! Chase your dreams! Live the life you want! Don’t sweat the small stuff!
If I’m having a bad day, you’re unbearable. “Stay positive,” you say. “The only difference between a good day and a bad day is your attitude.” Sometimes, that’s true. But what if I’m so tired from work and parenting and chasing my goddamn dreams that I don’t have the energy left to feel good? Or if someone I love has just died? Telling me to “Create your own sunshine” just makes me want to punch you in the face.
Now, when I see you, I think of everyone who isn’t having a good day or week or year, who isn’t in a position to chase their dreams or hasn’t even figured out what their dreams are yet, and how your hollow mantras must chip away at their self-esteeem. “Your only limit is you,” just doesn’t cut it if you’re a single parent on a disability allowance who can’t pay their rent.
On a bad day, your messages feel judgmental, serving as a reminder of what I’m not doing. And worse, that it’s my own fault, because according to you, all it takes to be happy, healthy and successful is to “believe in yourself”.
Deep down, I think you’re scared of negative emotions. You shouldn’t be. Some of the best things in my life have grown out of painful experiences. I know it’s shocking to you but I don’t want everything to be perfect. I want a messy, clumsy life where I take risks and fall on my face. When I’m hurting, I refuse to bury my feelings under some forced mantra of positivity. Instead, I will sit with it and feel it before I pick myself up and move on. Living takes place in imperfection.
And yes, Inspirational Quotes, you were probably going to say exactly that. Just please, don’t. It’s time we moved on.
Love or loathe inspirational quotes? Let us know in the comments, below.