Motivational quotes are great. They give you a new perspective when you can't find your own and they help you to get out of your head and look towards a more positive future. But when do they become just words? I don’t know about you, but I’m already exhausted by the avalanche of motivational quotes online right now with everyone telling us "It's a bad day, not a bad life", "Get up, dress up, show up", "Every day is an opportunity to rewrite your story". Advice everywhere and from everyone! If you have 'motivation fatigue', join the club.
In today's age of constant connectivity, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of motivational content bombarding us daily. The pressure to remain perpetually motivated, and to always strive for success, can be exhausting. It's as if society expects us to transform every bad day into a life-altering opportunity and to rewrite our stories with unwavering determination. The result? Many of us are experiencing what can only be described as 'motivation fatigue.' Motivational mantras, while well-intentioned, often overlook a fundamental aspect of our humanity—the need to acknowledge and process our emotions, even the negative ones. In our rush to stay positive and move forward, we sometimes neglect to make space for authentic self-reflection.
Seeing the positive side of life is not always a solution. Negative emotions that are not dealt with do not just vanish. They get buried deep within our psyche and find a way to create chaos in our lives.
Life is a roller-coaster ride where you are sometimes UP and DOWN sometimes. This is totally normal if you can deal with the 'downs' and enjoy the 'ups'. But, if you are constantly chasing the highs, you are more likely to experience more lows because every moment you are not experiencing the 'high' feels like failure. This makes you push yourself harder and look for more and more motivation from all the people who you see as successful. Over time, you are competing with complete strangers and trying to do too many things at once. That's when the exhaustion sets in and you can end up doing nothing because the feeling of failure has set in and you start to believe that if you cannot be best at everything then you are good at nothing.
So, how do we overcome this motivational burnout?
Embrace ALL Emotions: Instead of constantly seeking motivation and positivity, acknowledge your emotions, both positive and negative. It's crucial to give yourself permission to feel what you're feeling. Self-reflection is an important skill to keep yourself mentally fit.
Avoid Constant Highs: Life is full of ups and downs, and it's normal to experience both. Continually chasing highs can lead to burnout. Recognize that not every moment needs to be a peak, and it's okay to have moments that aren't filled with enthusiasm.
Pressure to Succeed: Feeling pressured to excel in every aspect of life can be exhausting. Understand that it's NOT possible to be the best at everything. The fear of failure can lead to inaction, so it's essential to let go of this pressure.
Accept Your Humanity: Sometimes, we need to step away from the relentless pursuit of motivation and self-improvement. Allow yourself to be human, to have off days, and to make mistakes. Overcoming failure rather than avoiding failure should be part of your success story.
Normalize Negative Emotions: Encourage a more open and accepting environment where people can share their struggles without judgment by sharing your struggles. Note that this is not the same as constantly complaining about your life but more about how you are dealing with the issues. It's essential to understand that everyone faces challenges, and it's okay to express vulnerability.
Focus on Emotional Responses: Rather than fixating on changing external circumstances, focus on how you emotionally respond to them. You have more control over your emotional reactions than the circumstances themselves.
Healthy Goals: Avoid setting unrealistic expectations. Recognize that life is a marathon, not a sprint. Setting healthy goals can prevent burnout by reducing the pressure to constantly achieve everything in the shortest possible time. Again this is not the same as compromising or reducing your expectations. Instead, look at breaking down your goals and focusing on progress instead of perfection.
Mental Fitness: Approach challenging times as a form of training for resilience. Just as you would train physically in a gym, train your emotions and behaviour for mental fitness too. Embrace the challenges as opportunities to strengthen your adaptability and resilience.
Accept, Reflect & Resolve: In order to live a life that does not depend on constant external motivation and validation, learn to accept situations as they are rather than as you want them to be, reflect on the role you are playing in the situation and finally find a way to resolve it rather than dismiss it and move on. The goal should be to resolve the situation internally with yourself before moving on.
Remember, you're not alone in experiencing fatigue, burnout or struggling with challenges. No matter how great someone's life looks to you on the outside, they are facing and trying to overcome their challenges too. Instead of letting other's success make you feel like a failure, allow yourself to be inspired and motivated by the sheer breadth and depth of what we can and have achieved as humans.
Until Next Time,
Kanchan 'embracing all emotions' Kulkarni