This isn’t quite a Throwback Thursday, since this has never been published. But this is a throwback in that it was written back in July 2017. I never quite finished it (until now) so it never got posted. Without further ado, here’s the third and final piece in the series that included The dangers of inspiration porn and Inspiration porn & the spiral of self-doubt.
Thank you all for your thoughtful responses to The dangers of inspiration porn.
All of this — this whole rant — started because of a single image. Yes, one picture.
No, no and, let me just say, hell no
Put down the halo
And I get it, I do: A blogger is a public(ish) person, which comes with certain baggage.
The most obvious one is potential backlash. Even if you avoid trolls, your audience was raised on a diet of inspiration porn. Readers may not be able to handle the fact that you have non-Polyanna moments.
There’s also a sense of responsibility to your readers. You want to encourage them, to keep them going. In short, to inspire them.
But those are exactly the times that we shouldn’t default to inspiration porn. Because what’s more inspirational than being honest?
My readers sometimes say they’re shocked by/glad about how honest I am with my struggles. (#humblebrag) They’re supportive — and they’re relieved to know they’re not alone. One of the most honest posts I’ve written — which is about an ugly, broken version of myself after a day without my meds — still gets relieved comments seven years later.
Seeing is believing
For your readers
Protect yourself and your readers
The hard part is honesty
So really, what’s the point in spouting only sunshine and rainbows, especially when it means your readers may suffer? Why bother describing your life at all, if you’re going to edit out so much?
I know the answer: Some bloggers want to be inspirational. And maybe they really think smiley faces and happy thoughts are the only way to do that. But they’re wrong.
Yes, maybe some people find inspiration solely in someone’s ability to be blithely cheerful or deep. I generally suspect the person is deluding themselves, misleading their audience or has a serious Ecstasy habit.
Because being inspiring requires you to appear to overcome adversity. And finding a way to be happy (or at least at peace) all the time isn’t overcoming adversity. It’s avoiding it. It’s glossing over the bad to focus on the good. It’s refusing to acknowledge the negative. It’s the easy way way to deal with the hard stuff — because you’re not really dealing with it.
What’s hard is feeling all all those dark, icky emotions, accepting them and coming out at least vaguely sane. (And yes, at least occasionally cheerful)
If you never get knocked down, it’s not impressive that you’re standing upright now. What’s inspiring is the person, scraped and bruised from previous blows, getting back to their feet. What moves audiences is the punch-drunk fellow who, while he may sway in the slightest breeze, is getting back to vertical.
If you’re honest about that, if you tell the real story, no one — or at least no one worthwhile — will judge you for swearing like a sailor while you pick yourself up off the pavement.
Do you think it’s okay to be so cheerful and grateful all the time? Do you get sick of it, or do you find it inspirational?