There’s been a popular meme floating around the internet lately. In my old life; in the Before, it’s one of those things I might have reposted. It seems, on the surface, fairly great:
And although I now feel differently, I debated about responding to this meme. I do believe most people have good intentions in sharing these types of things. I do believe most people genuinely think they help.
…But that last line has been tugging at me. It sounds so simple, but it’s really not. And this is why I ultimately decided to respond. I think we have a responsibility, when we see something that is inaccurate or untrue. And I think if someone is going to put something out there, into the universe, that is designed to be universally applicable, then they have invited critique when their statement is found to be lacking.
So I don’t say this, dear author, to be contrary or rude. I read your full piece, and I feel the beauty in your intentions. I hope you feel the equally good intentions in my response:
1. Things that change won’t make up for the death of a loved one or any other tragedy.
2. The challenges I’ve overcome before are miniscule in comparison, and nothing can overcome death.
3. I would give up everything I’ve learned to have back what I’ve lost.
4. There is no blessing in death. There is no blessing in many types of tragedy.
5. Fun sounds horrible when you’re grieving. Laughter feels like a betrayal.
6. This one can be okay, if you feel up to it.
7. Meh. Also—try not thinking about a purple elephant.
8. When your life is truly dark, there is not always something to be thankful for. Sometimes being alive can feel like a curse. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to be present, and to acknowledge that this is the current truth.
Above all, authenticity is always better than manufactured emotion. So the most important thing to remember when going through tough times, is to be real. Because often, that’s the only thing you have control of.
When you’re going through tough times, remember that life is about so much more than feel-good messages you read online.