Do you feel a dull, enervated sense of apathy when you inadvertently see those supposedly motivational quotations that people enjoy sharing on social media? Perhaps you’re one of those people who share them, thinking you’ll lift people’s spirits with a few wise words about positivity and wellness. But for most of us, motivational quotes are drastic simplifications of the way life works. In trying to boil down complicated feelings and emotions to a few bon mots, these quotations often make others feel inadequate or that they’re doing life wrong. Far better is the inspiration and happiness found via relaxation practices such as gay massage. On the other hand, motivational quotes can actually cause profound distress.
Some of them are utterly fatuous (e.g. “Only a pressed olive makes oil”), others push certain spiritual and supernatural ideas, some are presumptuous and prim, full of nanny-knows-best advice. They dress themselves up as gems of wisdom but often don’t withstand much scrutiny. And if you’re already struggling with emotional problems or mental health issues, they are far from likely to make you feel better. Some of them are steeped in a kind of magical thinking about the way the universe works, giving the impression that if we only behaved a certain way, the universe would yield its rewards in our direction. When this fails to occur, our negative and painful emotions and thinking patterns become reinforced. Motivational quotes can send people into a downward spiral, so unless you’re feeling particularly robust, the best thing you can do for yourself is to rid all your social media feeds of their presence. After all, when the time comes, we can look up these quotations to our hearts’ content. They’re not going anywhere, so we’re not ‘missing out’ by not seeing them on a daily basis and, in fact, we could be gaining considerable resilience by ignoring them.
From black and white thinking to ‘compare and despair’ misery, motivational quotes trigger us in a variety of ways. We see quotes such as “Success is the best revenge” (Frank Sinatra, apparently, although like many such quotations, the attribution could well be false) and we’re encouraged to see ourselves as wronged and in need of vengeance. This vengeance should, the quote says, come by way of achieving monumental success as a world-famous singer and then rubbing people’s noses in it. Can you see why this isn’t the route to happy thinking?
If that weren’t bad enough, another category of quotation will encourage us to see life as following a series of strange rules. So, apparently, Marie Curie said, “We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained”. This is a toxic mix of magical thinking, setting impossible standards and the idea of pre-determined destiny.
With just two examples, it’s possible to see why motivational quotes are the scourge of the internet. Formerly confined to rather naff books that you had to seek out in a shop, these quotes are now bombarding us because the people who like them think that everyone else will feel the same. Do whatever it takes (muting, blocking, unfriending as a last resort) to give yourself a well-earned break from their poison and book gay massage in London instead.