Therapeutic and self-help terms have invaded the vernacular. Presumably designed to make us feel supported and seen; capable, tooled up and evolved, they are actually deeply irritating. Even though they try to reframe the narrative as a kind of metaphysical calling…they don’t. They remind us that we are failing, failing, failing…
Calling your life, a ‘journey’ doesn’t make it any less of a disaster. The vernacular application of ‘journey’ is meant to add an air of the exotic to the grind. It’s intended to imply a constant moving forward. But what if your journey involves you being stuck and scared. Or bored and confused. How is that a journey? A predicament maybe. The heating breaking is a part of my journey? Realising that I need a crown and can’t afford it is part of what journey? The fact that I want to travel but can’t because of time, money, family, covid and panic is the part of my journey that means I can’t have a journey… I can now no longer look at the word journey or say the word journey. Meaningless.
Resilience: is a new word for survival – basically – but the kind of survival where you’re not allowed to be cross about what has happened. Resilience means we all must have a kind of super-elasticity of body, mind and spirit. Spring back. Bounce back. Nothing to see here. I’m absolutely fine. Why can’t we just howl into the void and say ‘I’m not resilient. Resilience isn’t my thing. I’m a bit broken. And the brokenness is part of my brilliance.’
Speak your truth. I am now unable to hear this phrase without thinking about self-serving maniacs delivering speeches of horrible amateur psychology that will somehow, by their very nature, prevent us from responding in kind, for fear they will shriek ‘you are silencing my truth’ if we disagree. Speak your truth, these truth-speakers cry, as long as it doesn’t offend my truth. Of course, we should all be honest but how can all these truths co-exist? Won’t they end up jostling each other out of the room and then we’ll all be alone? With just our truth to keep us warm. ‘I’ve got something to say’ used to work. Let’s bring it back.
Process – all part of the process. But who decided on the process? Who is controlling the process? What is the process? This mysterious process… DO NOT QUESTION THE PROCESS. The process will work – all the gurus and experts and authors and politicians tell us. But there is clearly no due process anymore. Let’s ban the process along with ‘allow me to process that.’ Sometimes we don’t process. Sometimes we rant and laugh and rage and cry and deny. Because we are not processors. We are humans
Feel your feelings. No. They are scary. Stop telling us to feel our feelings. Most of the time we don’t understand our feelings. And the WHOLE WORLD telling us to feel them and know them and process them and journey through them and speak our truth about them makes them somehow even more remote. Suddenly the whole world is fluent in feeling, while we are as bewildered as we always were… but now we are liars too: we are so concerned with trying to speak our truths that we make the feelings up just to have something to say: ‘The thing is, I think I reacted badly because I was feeling threatened, and it triggered me to a place of childhood fear.’ Maybe. But maybe I’d been up since 4am and was stressed about the deadline, the house insurance bill and the HORMONES. Hormones make a mockery of feeling your feelings.
Opportunity: Oh great. Let’s see this as an opportunity. It’s not a blow. Or a bore. Or really tiring. No. Do. Not. Let. Negativity… mask the opportunity-ness of this opportunity. Tell you what, why don’t you take this opportunity and shove it up your…. challenge.
Challenge: Not another test. Haven’t we been tested enough? ‘CHALLENGES’, they shriek on the corporate away day. Apparently challenges, handled creatively, are opportunities in disguise. Ain’t life grand?