I might be embarrassing myself a bit here, but I’m a total sucker for inspirational and encouraging slogans. I have a whole Pinterest board devoted to quotes.
But every now and then I run into a piece of so-called wisdom that just makes me shake my head. Like, really? Are we still saying that?
So in this post, I’m going to give you five of these non-gems that we should collectively forget about and replace with something else – something more practical and useful. Something that actually makes sense!
1. Treat Others Like You Want To Be Treated
Sure, this sounds like some really nice and considerate advice at first pass. But if you really think about it, it’s kind of self-centered. It assumes that others want what YOU want.
News alert: they don’t.
What we should be saying instead is:
Treat Others Like They Want To Be Treated
If you really want to show someone love…
- Figure out their personality type and treat them accordingly. Introverts and extraverts don’t want to be treated the same. Sensors and intuitives don’t want to be treated the same. Feelers and thinkers don’t want to be treated the same. Judgers and perceivers don’t want to be treated the same.
- Figure out their love language. I think Gary Chapman’s books on the five love languages are kinda cheesy, but his theory rings very true. The five love languages are 1) words of affirmation, 2) acts of service, 3) touch, 4) quality time, and 5) gifts. There are a lot more details in the books, but the basic idea is that different actions make different people feel loved and cared for. For example, someone whose love language is quality time won’t feel loved if you give them a gift. They truly feel loved only if you give them time.
- Ask them what they like and don’t like, instead of just assuming that everyone automatically wants what you want.
2. Live Each Day As If It Was Your Last
I get that this one is supposed to encourage you to seize the moment and not waste your life. But it’s totally impractical and unrealistic. If today was my last day, I would spend it holding my husband and kids. Do I want to spend each day of the next several decades doing that? Hell, no. I want my life to be a series of different phases and experiences. Instead, we should say:
Live Assuming That You Will Make It To 100
With this attitude, we don’t need to panic if we want to, say, spend a combined year out of our 100 in pajamas doing movie marathons. (It’s just 1%!)
With this attitude, we don’t get stuck thinking our lives are over at 30, 40, or 50 (or 60, 70, or 80) and stop making changes for the better.
With this attitude, we can feel empowered to experiment with many different paths and make room for failures as well as successes (because time is on our side!).
With this attitude, we will feel encouraged to take care of ourselves, because after all, we are trying to make it to 100!
3. Money Doesn’t Bring Happiness
I actually fully agree with this one. Money alone will make very few people happy. But I don’t agree with the way it’s sometimes used. It’s sometimes used to justify poverty or to imply that being poor is somehow noble or that there is something wrong with pursuing a comfortable standard of living.
Sure, money doesn’t bring happiness. But chronic inability to make ends meet brings stress and fear and suffering. We don’t all need to be Bill Gates, but most of us like knowing that we’ll be able to feed our kids tomorrow. And next week. And next year.
Here’s what I think we should be saying:
Making Ends Meet = Freedom From Worry
4. Just Think Positive!
I swear every time I hear this one it makes smoke shoot out of my ears. The sound of chipper has the same affect on me as a fork scratching a plate. 😉
Here’s the thing. Negative feelings are a normal and necessary part of being human. There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling anger or sadness or frustration. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with complaining or venting or ranting or raving. We shouldn’t try to suppress our negative feelings and we definitely shouldn’t “just think positive.”
Negative feelings only become a problem if you are stuck in them for too long and can’t turn them into constructive action. Sometimes you just need to feel the feelings and let them out. Sometimes you just need a hug. But sometimes – if the feelings linger – they are a sign that change is in order. These feelings shouldn’t just be thrown out and ignored. They deserve attention and contemplation.
Negative Feelings Are An Alarm Telling You That Something Needs To Change
5. Play With The Cards You’ve Been Dealt
I felt a little uneasy about including this one, because it’s one of my Grandmother’s favorites. (Sorry, Grandma!) But honestly, I can’t stand it because it’s so limiting. It falls in the same category as “Accept The Things You Cannot Change.” No, no, no!!! I won’t accept!
Instead of playing with the cards you’ve been dealt:
Change The Game
Deal Your Own Cards
Instead of accepting the things you cannot change:
Change The Things You Cannot Accept
Are you with me? Can you think of any other “wisdoms” we should replace? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂
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