I had coffee with a friend a couple of weeks ago. Things haven’t been going well for me for a while and this came out as we were catching up. Usually, when someone asks, “How are you doing?” I plaster a smile on my face and say, “Fine.” That’s usually the end of it and since most people love to talk about themselves, I steer the conversation back to them. But this guy insisted on knowing how things were, so I told him.
The surprise came when he wouldn’t let me label the stuff I had tried that hadn’t worked out as “failures.” He insisted that these were little bumps on the road to the smashing success that I will achieve. I’m sure he was trying to make me feel better. But his adamant insistence only made me feel worse and regret getting into the conversation in the first place.
Positivity warriors can be very irritating. Tossing out statements like “Winners never quit and quitters never win” rarely motivates the recipient. In fact, they end up diminishing other people’s feelings, to have their struggles dismissed so casually. It’s the reason I don’t read motivational books. Most are filled with cheap theatrics and prescriptions that don’t actually work in real life. They only benefit the author (through book sales) and make many readers wonder what is wrong with them that the author’s advice does not translate into similar success in their own lives.
The bible thumping brigade is just as bad. “God has a plan for your life and it’s wonderful.” I know God has a plan you nitwit. But right now – in this very second, minute or hour – that plan sucks. I feel like crap and want to wallow, even if it’s only for a short time. To acknowledge and recognise the pain that comes from knowing that you put your heart and soul into something and it didn’t work out the way you planned. Continue reading