A quote only goes so far
Recently I have been doing finicky things like updating thumbnails on my old blog posts and cleaning out my computer – stuff that I want to be free of in the new year. In the past few years I haven’t seen the new year as much of a time to change or turn over new leafs. It has been more of a reflection of the year gone by, acknowledging the bad times, but smiling about the good things that happened, and looking back on it as positively as I can. Granted, I have had some very low points in the past few years, mainly due to stress from having a lot of work to do. I have tried pushing myself with goals, I have welcomed in the new year quietly, but this time, I want to make sure I do this positively.
In looking for some images for my old blog posts and cleaning folders of images saved from the internet (I am pretty sure everyone has their own dreaded “Downloads” folder that desperately needs cleaning), I came across a lot of those widely-spread quote graphics, made popular by Tumblr and other social networks, much like the one I had the lovely Daniel create for this post. I had obviously saved a few of those quote graphics, and looking over them made me a little bit upset.
- Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.
- It’s hard to forget someone who gave you so much to remember.
- When someone says “you’ve changed”, it simply means you’ve stopped living life their way.
- Only from your heart can you touch the sky.
- Nothing worth having comes easy.
- You never know until you have tried.
- You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
When I read over these things, I can’t help but relate to them. A lot of people can relate to them, and I won’t deny that quotes like these can be very true, relatable, and make people want to share them over and over. People even use them, they recite these quotes to other people, and it becomes cliché.
But that’s not the part that unsettles me. It’s the fact that while these quotes encourage you think positively, they are actually referring to the negative, and the reasons why you’re not very positive in the first place. I feel sad for the people who drown themselves in these quotes, continually sharing them and commenting “omg this” and “this so much” and never escaping their pit of despair because they can’t just forget about how weak they are.
If a good friend of mine left me, I wouldn’t want to think about how hard it is to forget them. If I’m down in the pits, the last thing I want is to think about what put me there in the first place. If I believe I can’t do something, I don’t want someone telling me I basically don’t know until I’ve tried it. I would want to think about the wonderful times I had with my friend, I would want to think about all the amazing things coming my way, I would want someone to believe in me and tell me I can do it.
It takes a lot for anyone to stay positive, especially if they have been hurt over and over again, or struggle through daily life thinking nothing is going their way. I know I sometimes persist in dwelling on everything that goes wrong. The best things I’ve been told focus entirely on the positive. The words that cheered me up the most were personal words of encouragement, not cliché quotes someone just grabbed from the internet or saw shared on Facebook or reblogged on Tumblr. They were words that said I could do it, words that showed someone had faith in me, and words of comfort that told me things would be better. Simple things like “It’ll be okay”, “You can do this”, telling someone how important they may be to you, and how much you care about them, can be very encouraging. Sometimes they need to be repeated. Encouraging others is based on continual support. Encouraging yourself is an ongoing process. People give up easily, and people won’t forget the bad things quickly.
When someone feels like a failure, remind them of times they reached for and hit the sky. Remind people of how they got through their last breakup, or last time they thought it was the end of the world, it wasn’t. Remind them of opportunities that they thought would never come again, but did. Remind people of positive things. Positive reminders from someone else will sooner make a person forget about their troubles and encourage them to pick themselves up.
A little bit of positivity goes a long way. 😊