Im not one for aspirational quotes. I think the more time you spend on social media the more you tend to notice peoples love affair with the written word. Not necessarily their own but quotes from famous old people…(I thought Thomas Aquinas was someone on TV until Wendy Harmer pointed out he was big in the 13th century)
When times are tough we cant often see the shit for the trees, you can get so caught up in your own mind that sometimes the profound words of another can create a brief moment of clarity. Its like reading your stars when your stars make you yell ‘oh my god thats me’. I guess things only relate to you when you need them to.
Someone on instagram someone put up an image of the word HOPE…with a sub heading pointing out that hope stood for Hold On Pain Ends. While I’m all for the inspirational message sometimes I worry that being bombarded with so many’great’ thoughts causes the message to get diluted. Its like hearing a song for the first time and loving it and then all of a sudden you think “if I hear Gotye one more time I will hunt down that woman that he used to know’. It loses its magic and mastery.
Same too when people are coping with their limits. The need to hold on to a bit of sunshine, a bit of positivity can be the difference between sinking or swimming but replacing genuine heartfelt words by affirmations doesnt enhance the relationship human to human, you just become a recycling tool for stuff.
I was sitting in a seminar yesterday pondering this post I wrote about a year ago and listening to the speaker discuss his thoughts on high and low self esteem and the social conventions that sit around those labels. He referenced the 2009 paper published in the American journal Psychological Science undertaken by Joanne Wood, professor of psychology at the University of Waterloo. She found that repeating positive self-affirmations, like the ones we find in every second shop, in our newsfeed and in response to people when we just dont know what else to say; often end up making people feel worse rather than better.
People often talk about their uncomfortableness of not knowing what to say when faced with people struggling with unhappy or sad thoughts but watching people juggle the most awful moments of their life I learnt very quickly that saying ‘I’m sorry this is happening to you’ is a lot better than pointing out the sun will come out tomorrow.
We all exist in the space in between up and down – its called life.
Whats your take on positive affirmations?