Have you ever noticed how common sayings, quotes, phrases, mantras or internet memes can creep into your psyche? Sometimes it is so subtle that you may not even notice how these phrases affect your thoughts. Social media is filled with these statements, often offered as an inspiration to others. The intent behind these phrases seems well-intentioned. However, I wonder, how critical are most people of these statements?
A quick internet search yielded a few examples :
- “Good, better, best. Never let it rest. ‘Til your good is better and your better is best.” – St. Jerome (brainyquote.com)
- “The scariest moment is always just before you start.” – Stephen King (wisdomquotes.com)
- “The future belongs to those that believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Ella Jade (https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/nov/18/inspirational-quote-business-read-feel-better)
- “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” – Anonymous, some attribute to Dr. Seuss (brainyquote.com)
- “Go big or go home.” – Author unknown
There is no doubt that some messages will resonate as true, wise, and possibly helpful. However, it is necessary to treat these thoughts with care and put them through our own filtering system. I might suggest asking yourself:
- “Is that so?”
- “Does this message fit this situation?”
- “Are there times this doesn’t ring true?”
- “Does this promote all-or-nothing thinking?”
- “Is this oversimplified?”
- “How would I feel if someone said this to me?”
Let’s take one of the examples from above, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” I prefer not to suggest to anyone that they stop crying because I view crying as an expression of one’s inner emotional experience. I’d like to encourage people to be genuine and not stifle tears. Sometimes, the pain of a loss is so great, that it could be harmful to have someone suggest that you smile at a time when you feel tearful. I encourage you to tune into the quotes that you see this week. Put them through your own filtering system and see how they resonate with you. We need to be thoughtful consumers of the messages that bombard us on a daily basis.
Jenny M., MA, joined Empathia in 2013 and is one of our Performance Specialists; her previous position here was as an EAP Counselor. She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Counseling with an emphasis in School Counseling. Prior to joining Empathia, she worked as a School Counselor with children ranging in age from 4-18 years old. Jenny enjoys photography, travel, hiking, reading, adventures with her sons, and spending time with her family.
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