Happy Thanksgiving! By the time you're reading this, it's actually Black Friday so happy spending money on things you don't need because you tell yourself you're helping the economy. Sorry, I'm projecting.
If you were scrolling social media at all yesterday, you were probably bombarded with more posts about gratitude and affirmations than of photos of mac and cheese. This time of the year always unleashes a full-blown positivity attack. The constant pressure to be, or at least appear to be, introspective and then tell everybody about it. There's no shortage of thinkpieces on gratitude, cultivating positivity and decoding why kids these days are apparently not grateful enough.
Self-help is great. Just not the way it's packaged, marketed and shared. Everything is about instant results, instead of introspection and learning. Why build actionable habits and patterns of thinking when there's a toxic mess of quick fixes, fake gurus and influencers peddling manifestations like detox tea? Let's be real, social media hashtags like #blessings and #grateful are usually just an excuse for hot people to post yoga poses in flattering light. Nobody wants to see your Downward Dog.
I'll come clean: I'm someone who has spent a lot of time (and money) in the self-help section. I grew up watching Oprah's Super Soul Sunday. I've journaled and made vision boards. I've met trainers, group coaches and even psychics. I bought The Secret back in the day and yes, I can see why people think that the Law of Attraction is magic.
Reading is great. Listening to uplifting podcasts is great. Writing down affirmations is great. Call it manifesting, spirituality or whatever makes sense to you. But most importantly, take action. If you're going to reflect at this time of the year and make meaningful changes for the future, know that it's going to take being specific and doing something about it. And a lot of doing is not hashtaggable. It's hard and yes, it will suck at times. Who wants a meme of that?! The six-figure business isn't going to start itself. Don't believe the influencer on Instagram in a rented Ferrari. The dream of being a published author won't fall into your lap. In real life, most authors aren't posting laptop selfies on the beach. When's the last time you saw a tan and well-rested writer? C'mon now. And no, that hot guy you've been stalking with your Finsta can't read your mind to ask you out. The work is going to be deeper than posting "good vibes only", chugging Ayahuasca or rocking a Kabbalah bracelet.
If you need help, hire licensed therapists or trainers. And unlike Nine Perfect Strangers, the information you need is basically available free online or at your local library. No trippy fever dream of a retreat necessary.
And here's the real secret: It's okay not to be blissfully positive all the time. Sorry, Bobby McFerrin. It's been a tough year. News flash! We're still in the middle of a global pandemic. Every day might not leave you feeling #grateful. That's completely ok. You don't have to turn that frown upside down. Despite what the cult of toxic positivity wants you to believe, being your best self means being human.
And it's okay not to post about it.
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