Take a knee, team.
I get it. It’s a New Year, and we want to start things off on the right foot. But my God—at what cost? All of these bullshit positivity memes are making me downright negative. I hate them.
And this isn’t because I’m just a Negative Nancy. I understand the importance of being positive. Hell, I have been scammed by not one, but two pyramid schemes that fiscally depend on people buying into quotes by Jim Rohn and Tony Robbins and believing that selling products on the behalf of a stranger will enrich your life. Like, I get it. It can feel really good to rid yourself of ~bad vibes~. But for some reason all of these motivational posts are having the opposite effect.
Perhaps it’s because the majority of the people I know posting them were some of the most uninspiring Facebook posters just last month. You know the friends who openly lament their lives after minor adversities? Tire’s flat? Better tell Facebook. Friends are nothing but drama? That warrants an update. The unhappiest people I know are always the ones who are posting the fluffiest affirmations… and it isn’t fooling anyone! The smoke and mirrors wear off pretty quickly when 90% of their content to date has been filled with disdain and disappointment.
It also doesn’t help that the “words of wisdom” within these posts are often terribly vague. I recently read one that proclaimed, “Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about!” Okay? But what if you’re an avid smoker and you’re battling to quit? How many days in a row is this referring to? If I get into a traumatic car accident I might think about it daily for the next year or two. And sure, maybe I’m being too literal, but what’s so wise about quips that are so general that they can be applied to everything and nothing? How can they possibly be effective?
And why don't we ever know who said these quotes? I've seen the quote above attributed to everyone from Winston Churchill, to Sylvester Stallone, to the "Canadian Horse Journal."
The above affirmation is a prime example of the self-congratulatory tripe I'm seeing daily on my newsfeed. Who would post this? I'm not saying my friends aren't good people, but in one fell swoop they martyr themselves for being good and encourage others to "burn themselves up" also. *Gag*
And here's yet another post that doesn't make much sense. We have no choice but to collect moments. Turns out our lives are made up of moments! And there's no stopping them. Somehow I don't think my best friend's mom who just went all out for Christmas is fully comprehending the implied anti-consumerism message.
The best, most effective mantras don't take themselves too seriously. They make a point without being too hokey, and they don't make you look like a self-righteous jerk. Part of becoming positive is changing your attitudes towards yourself, your life, and how you think about other people. Come down off the high-horse and post things we can all get behind.
I leave you with some of my favorite inspiration. Namaste:
…But the truest, most universally applicable inspiration of all, is this:
Akilah Hughes is a comedian, YouTuber, and staff writer and producer for Fusion's culture section. You can almost always find her waxing poetic about memes and using too many emojis. 🍕