Inspirational quotes are huge on social media. Dropped like they’re hot on Instie by influencers such as life coaches, celebrities, sportspeople, and my mate’s 79-year-old mum.
Lately, however, I’ve found that many of these quotes – ostensibly intended to inspire – come across as over-simplified and smug. When I’m feeling vulnerable or overwhelmed, rather than whipping me into a can-do fervor, they only demotivate.
I’m uninspired and kind of annoyed, as if someone has given me a bunch of unwanted advice. The brisk, impersonal confidence of the message feels bland and cheesy, like eating too much queso dip.
Ironically, when I’m feeling upbeat, capable and energized I can totally get behind them. I got this! Let’s do this! #yew!
But when life is more complex, perhaps I’m struggling to make a decision or unsure whether I’m doing the right thing – or just plain tired – a stream of bland, positive, motivating statements make me feel more insecure and doubtful.
Part of it is it an implied sense that everyone else is out there getting it and smashing it, while I fret about my choices like a giant, lonely twit.
Another part is that the prim voices in which I imagine inspirational quotes to be intoned are those of perfect people doing perfect things, implying that I should do the same.
Perhaps if I remembered that more than 72% of motivational quotes are actually posted by people lying on the couch in their pyjamas and not abseiling in Yosemite or kayaking the Yangtze, this would mitigate the insecurity that arises when I scroll through my Instie feed (that’s a guess by the way, not an actual statistic).
In the interests of full disclosure, a confession: I used to post motivational quotes on my Instie page, when I was doing yoga retreats full time.
And the impetus was innocent – they were cute quotes and looked kind of cool threaded among my yoga photos. But it reached a point where it didn’t feel genuine, so I stopped.
There’s nothing wrong with inspirational quotes. But as a sensitive person, like a lot of things (including but not limited to celebrity gossip and US political news), I’ve learned to be careful with my dosage.
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