Moving from cynicism to solidarity (article)

When I was very depressed a few years ago, “cliche” motivational positivity could not have been more grating on my nerves. I’d lash out and shoot figurative daggers whenever others lamented about their breakups or bad grades, or when they posted about finding themselves through what I felt at the time were truly inconsequential life events.

I almost wanted to spell out my trauma and hurt from the rooftops, almost to scream; “I’m hurting so bad and nobody cares, yet you’re posting quotes on Facebook about a C+ on your math exam?”

And I don’t blame myself necessarily for feeling that at the time. When you’re hurt, when you’re in a dark place, it’s such a natural reaction to have.

However it was unproductive and ultimately quite harmful to my own recovery too.

To an extent, pointless positivity and “it gets better”s thrown around with no other follow up IS quite insensitive towards those who are struggling sometimes. There IS such a thing as toxic or empty positivity.

But there’s a balance to be found in between there, at least that’s what I feel at this point.

Throughout recovery and healing I realized again and again that pain is largely subjective and often hidden.

I rarely speak of my trauma but often try and post recovery related content and quotes because I feel it’s an important energy to add to the world. That’s my personal choice though and not some moral superiority. I’d hate it to seem like it’s being lorded over others.

Maybe some of my friends think it’s irritating too, I don’t know. Probably.

But I’ve definitely been through a fair share that may not be visible behind my Facebook posts or positive art or writing – and have only recently moved more to a normalizing recovery and solidarity space of mind, though it may not be the same for everyone and I certainly hold nothing against people who don’t want to do that, or can’t.

Personally I think even if people post those types of things in relation to “just a break up” – that type of pain is pain too. If they’re not trivializing my trauma, then I feel they have every right to hurt and process that hurt, because who knows? They may be hurting terribly, and unless I know them closely, I would not know the full story.

We very rarely know the full story behind anyone’s pain. Certainly not through just a few social media posts.

They may never understand my trauma, and may never go through the same things, but that doesn’t mean they don’t also need the space and time to deal with their own problems even if it’s in a way that personally doesn’t work for me. We all deserve to heal in ways that work healthily for us.

Anyways. I post those things sometimes too. You know, sometimes the typical kind of motivational stuff you find online.

I suppose on the outside they may seem cliche, but truthfully, they’re the result of a lot of trauma processing and therapy done in private. Perhaps out of context they just seem like empty platitudes too. I hope not, but I can’t control how they’re perceived.

Regardless, if there’s anything I learned the past few years it’s that rarely is my snap judgement useful or entirely accurate. Whilst I’m totally allowed to be cynical during times I want or need to be, I try to process it in a healthier way now, and am still constantly learning to be better.