Thanks to social media, motivational memes are everywhere. I love a great motivational meme. I have a notebook filled with quotes torn from magazines over the past twenty years. I have quotes taped to my mirrors, pinned to the bulletin board above my desk, and tucked into my wallet. I copy quotes in my planner every week. My wedding invitation was decorated entirely with famous quotes. One of my favorite quotes is attributed to Henry Ford: “Whether you belive you can do a thing or not, you are right.” I love a great motivational meme. But I’m noticing a new trend in motivational memes – the trend of glossing over reality – and it’s pissing me off. So I’m calling bullshit on pseudo-motivational memes.
Last week, as I was scrolling through Facebook (the mecca of motivational memes), I came across this one:
It reads, “I’ve never met a strong person with an easy past”. The comments section was filled with enthusiastic declarations of “True!” “Amen” and “Me neither”. And as I read through the comments I thought, really? The only way to be strong is to have a crappy past? And do people really think that having a crappy past guarantees strength? And how strong can a person be if they have to discount people with happy lives in order to feel good about themselves?
I know a lot of people who have had fantastic childhoods, fantastic lives, and who also happen to be tough as f***ing nails. These are people I admire and respect and am proud to have in my Iife. I have also known a lot of people who have had tough lives and go through life hiding behind their hurt, using it as an excuse to be a self-absorbed a*****e. Be honest, you know you’ve had at least one of these in your life or at least in your Facebook feed.
The thing is, strength isn’t acquired through experience. It’s chosen. Happy life or crappy life, strength is a choice we make. We can’t always choose our circumstances, but good or bad, we always have the option to grow or to cower. I happen to be in the category of people who’ve had a difficult past. And yes, I am stronger because of it. And because I am strong, I can also give credit to my friends who are equally strong and fortunate to have a great life too.
Look out pseudo-motivational memes people. I’m ready to start calling you on your bullshit.