If you are on Twitter, chances are you see a number of inspirational quotes per day. I try to use them sparingly, and only pass on quotes that truly inspire me.
Some of the “inspirational” quotes that I see just plain bother me. There are a lot in the “if you think negative, you’ll turn into a troll and lead a horrible life” category that really bunch up my shorts. Here’s why:
1. Everyone has negative thoughts
You can’t avoid having negative thoughts. It just happens. A negative thought isn’t a horrible thing that murders all the good in your soul, it’s just disliking a certain thing or action.
2. You learn from the negative
Not every day is a pleasant thing that floats by with no incident. Problems happen, clashes happen, and sometimes *gasp* negative things happen. That’s OK. Working through bad situations and clashes helps you become a stronger person and learn. A pan doesn’t make your food taste good unless it has seasoning. Negative events season us, mature us, and give us strength.
3. Cynicism can be confused with negativity
As writers, we know that words can be used incorrectly. Cynicism is often mistaken for negativity, and a good dose of cynicism keeps you from being taken advantage of financially and emotionally. The trick to life is finding out when to be cynical and when to trust. That’s something I haven’t figured out yet, and I err on the side of the cynical. Or, as some would call it, negative.
4. If you seem nothing but happy, you seem fake
I love seeing social media updates that aren’t blooming flowers of happiness, because they remind me that a real person is behind them. Not that real people can’t be happy, but if all of your social media updates are puffy happy messages, I’m either going to tune you out or want the name of the drugs you are taking.
5. “Anti-negative” messages seem righteous and imperious
There’s a good reason I don’t talk to some of my family members. They are righteous about their religion and look down on anyone who doesn’t believe in their very specific religious faith. It’s the same thing with the “always happy” crowd – if you say anything negative, you are relegated to being an unhealthy influence. When did this start?
It is true that negative-sounding messages do not sell, unless you are in politics (and I wish negative political campaigns didn’t work, but they do). If you are specifically marketing a product or brand, you don’t want it associated with negativity of any kind. But when using social media, you do want to sound like a real person, and this can mean acknowledging that there is a minor issue in your day, like being stuck in traffic, or eating a particularly gross kind of cheese.
So if you are concerned about being too negative after seeing a string of rosy quotes online, don’t be. Chances are you sound like a human.