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Armchair Psychology lends to emotional obtusity

In living, we cannot escape the human experience of life

Internet armchair psychology is an interesting phenomenon. Posts that appear helpful and upbeat are often low-key shaming and blaming. Sometimes the intent is an authentic view into a person’s own journey with a nugget of truth they’ve found useful, and other times positivity is actually a toxic, humble brag about one’s own enlightenment or circumstance. In living, we cannot escape the human experience of life and all the joys, pleasures, sorrows, boredoms and such that accompany being alive, nor should we want to.

A friend recently shared this meme: Switch your mentality from “I’m broken and helpless” to “I’m growing and healing” and watch how fast your life changes for the better. And it triggered me. Partly because I have had a non-stop avalanche of challenging situations and events throughout my life, and I loathe the thought that I come off as a victim and complainer. On one hand, people’s opinions of me are none of my business, but also, I believe we are responsible for the energy we bring and I don’t want to be a psychic vampire.

It's actually the second part of the meme that I have an issue with. Just change your mindset and your life will magically get better. That’s unrealistic and misleading even with its grain of truth. Mindset is hugely important to changing trajectory and it’s vital to peace, joy, and success. But we must mindfully practice mindset. We are emotional beings who are inclined to react first and contemplate later. It is with practice that we learn to be adaptive rather than reactive, and through this shift, we have a positive effect on ourselves and others.

If you believe in magnetism, you’ll offer that like attracts like. So, be happy and the Universe will respond, right? Well, kinda. And yes, manifestation is real, but it’s not magic. Bad things happen … to all of us. How we respond has a definite impact on our over all experience and recovery during difficult times. But we are allowed to feel. We are allowed to share that load. And let’s be honest – some folks seem to have a peculiar amount of turbulence and recurring trauma in their journey. If they’re vocal about it, we tend to view them as whiners and attention-seekers, or that their toll is somehow karmically justified or self-imposed. And boy, if they just did this or that, then their life would be better. That smacks of emotional obtusity.

Rather than tossing out a meme that tells people to do better to be better, we do better. We take a moment to connect with them. And if we must post some internet psychology, we make sure it is actually helpful and not superiority cloaked as wisdom. There’s a real world out there beyond our keyboards, more than the neatly packaged memes we share. We owe it to ourselves and one another to return to our core in search of empathy, humility, and humanity. Those of us who are feeling well and experiencing the joys and gifts of life rather than the hardships can help by doing some of the lifting, and by doing so, the benefits are shared by all.

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