If you’re anything like me, in times of hardship – you turn to the internet. For comforting
YouTube videos, distractions via games, and my personal favorite: the inspirational quotes.
Whether I’m fighting with a friend or just feel flat out lost in the world, I can count on those
cheesy excerpts to bring me back down to earth. From Pinterest quotes to motivational Instagram
stories, I’ve always been drawn to finding words that comfort me back to normalcy for a little
while. But what happens when the quotes start to lose their magic healing powers?
Lately, I’ve been going through some tough times (to paraphrase: breakups suck, school
is hard, and all this during a pandemic is really the icing on the unfortunate life event cake). A
little while ago, I caught myself reciting the same few excerpts to myself:
“Choose people who choose you.”
“What’s meant to be will always find its way back.”
“You can’t enjoy a rainbow without a little rain.”
…and a few other classics, too.
These are all fine and good and are probably totally accurate for a lot of people. I’m sure
these sentences have helped many through far worse things that what I’m going through, and I’m
so glad for that. However, I started to wonder: what if these things don’t actually really apply to me? Or maybe they do, but I’m taking them a little too far. What if I’m idolizing these words too
much? Surely, they have a time and place, but to center my entire life and to reason through all
of my problems with simply just these quotes cannot be healthy.
I found myself becoming disappointed in my ability to not bounce back as quickly as I
thought I should after reading these quotes. I read them as literal directions of ways to live my
life, and gave my own snarky commentary to some, sort of like: “you can’t enjoy a rainbow
without a little rain, so suck it up and get ready for the rainbow. It’ll come eventually, just calm
down for now.” Thinking this way has been harsh for no reason, especially when I’m already
trying to heal from some pretty intense circumstances. It’s unnecessary and damaging to think
that just because I try to find comfort in some uplifting words, I’m then supposed to live by
them, or else I won’t succeed at getting over what I’m trying to get over.
Without going into too many personal details, I’ll just say this: sometimes it’s hard to
only choose people who choose you. Sometimes things that you think are “meant” to come back
to you simply will not. Furthermore, sometimes there’s just not a rainbow after it rains. Quotes
are great for a lot of people, but I was forgetting to keep in mind that these phrases are meant for
the general public and do not necessarily apply specifically and literally to my own life. While it
seems like it’s the right answer sometimes, I think that maybe we need to be careful about
oversimplifying things, too.
Maybe I read into my Pinterest pins a little too literally, and maybe I take things to heart
more than I should. I just wanted to write this for anyone else who was feeling a little ashamed,
maybe, about not being able to see the bright side of things after reading some of these
motivational-ish quotes. It’s taken me an incredible amount of time to realize and understand that
sometimes it takes more than just a sentence to change my mindset about something.
Your life is not an inspirational quote; therefore, it should not constantly be compared to
one. Sure, they might be comforting for a few moments, but the things you have gone through
take up more space in your life than a simple sentence. Your experiences and emotions are valid
as they come and go. You do not have to condense these feelings about life events to just a few
words in order to try to get through things.
There is no reason that you shouldn’t embrace the complexity of your life, because after
all, the quotes that you try to live by are only a small part of your story.