The other day I was writing and listening to music. Music for me has always been a particularly emotional medium. I have songs that will always fill my heart with happiness and others I simply cannot listen to for the pain they cause me. Anyway I was listening to music that makes me think of a very specific time in my life, one when I felt particularly inspired. I started thinking about why I’d felt so inspired at that time, which in turn made me ask the question; what is inspiration? What is it that inspires you, me, anybody? I’m sure Inspiration is a concept I am seeing bandied about more and more recently. Its not something I remember hearing about so much five years ago.
Its nothing new, people have been
“mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative”
for as long as there have been people. But is it just me or has the amount people refer to it increased?
I personally love (and sometimes hate – but mostly love) social media. It’s part of my life now – a big part and one I wouldn’t be without. It enables me to keep in contact with friends and family around the world, make new friends, research, ask for help, organise. On the whole social media rocks. But one thing about social media that’s starting to grind my gears is this:
Don’t get me wrong. I am all for encouraging others, whilst working on your own motivation, but I am starting to tire somewhat of random pictures overlaid with cliched words.
I don’t find them inspirational. I might have done when it was just one or two, now and then, but I now see these things constantly. They’re all over the news feeds of the various platforms I use, in my twitter feed. Thank God people have stopped sending them to me in emails!
Bloody hell I sound miserable! I’m not, believe me. I am more positive at the moment than at most other times in my life. I have been inspired and continue to be inspired. But cheesy words on an even cheesier picture are not the cause. People inspire me. Their acts, and deeds, and attitude and creativity inspire me. When I lived in Swansea I had the most creative friend I’ve ever known. Hanging out with him inspired me to also be creative. Does anyone remember receiving a Christmas gift from me in 2010? I printed my own wrapping paper and designed my own gift tags for god sake! I mean come on people. I’ve never done that before or since! He didn’t do that and he didn’t suggest I did. He just inspired me.
Being a mother inspires me. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve had times when I’m so tired and drained that I don’t even know my own name. But other times I’ve felt so inspired by what I see in Oscar and his achievements that I’ve been known to spend an entire afternoon, alone with my son, singing songs with actions just to see him put his left arm in or turn around. Other mothers inspire me too. Mothers I know personally or mothers whose blogs I read. I think it can be easy to compare yourself to others and question whether what you’re doing is as good or the right thing etc. But when I can get past that ( 😉 ) I have been totally inspired by these women. By their courage, their drive, their ability to cope, their creativity, their willingness to share with me! Sometimes they inspire me to want to be like them, but often they just inspire me to do things differently.
So OK I’ll admit I have occasionally been touched by these “quotes”. When I was going through a very sad time in my life, a friend said to me “Lisa, it’ll be OK in the end and if its not OK, its not the end”. At the time it blew my mind and really helped the situation. And yes recently I saw the same soundbite on a cheesy picture, popping up in my news feed. But the impact it had on me when someone took me aside and and said it to me was completely different to the impact it had on me when I casually glanced at it in my news feed.
I think that’s the difference for me. People inspire me every day, but I think these quotes are just a poor substitute for human contact. For someone learning from another. For someone putting an arm around you and telling you its going to be OK. Even if that’s a virtual arm on a social platform. Just sharing a cheesy motivational quote with everyone on your friend list doesn’t feel inspirational – it’s becoming white noise.
Maybe that’s my problem with them. I don’t want to lose the personal touch. And I hope I’ve inspired you not to want to either.