Common Sayings That Are True Yet Profoundly Irritating
Just Because Something Is True Doesn’t Mean It Feels Good
Lately, I’ve been having a lot of trouble coming up with a new topic to write about. While I started off the month keeping a great track record where I was posting a new story at least once every other day (hell, sometimes even multiple times a day) and have made more on Medium this month than I ever have before, I’m starting to find myself grasping at straws.
When I look to popular Medium writers with crazy followings who post at least one article per day with attention-grabbing headlines and thousands upon thousands of claps, I start to feel myself sinking in my chair a little bit. Is my success on Medium this month to be short-lived? Worst of all, is it going to be due to my sheer lack of any meaningful ideas?
As I scrolled through the Medium profiles of some of my favorite writers in search of even a small glint of inspiration, one particular saying kept popping into my head over and over again: “Stop comparing yourself to others, because you’ll always come up short.”
I can’t even begin to explain how true this statement is.
At the same time, I can’t even begin to describe how infuriating it was to have it repeat in my mind over and over again as I tried to focus on coming up with an idea for a story.
And there it was… inspiration.
I’m not expecting this to be one of my more popular Medium stories. Hell, at this point I’m just trying to get something out. It’s been a few days since I posted anything on Medium and it’s really starting to get me down. I had really been very proud of the momentum I’ve spent the month building and I’ve seen a larger increase in followers, readers, and fans than ever before. It seems I’m starting to run out of steam, though.
“It happens to the best of us”.
There’s another saying that I really just can’t stand.
Yes, it may happen to the best of us. Does that really make it any less irritating when it happens though? No.
Today, I thought I’d take a look at some of the most common sayings that, while unarguably true, infuriate me. Take this as a rant post. I think I need to spend today blowing off a little bit of steam.
For once, I’m going to stop worrying about what possible tags I’ll be placing this story in, how I’ll market it to my audience, or even what headline it will receive. For once, I’m just going to write. I think I need a bit of an off day.
That being said, if you decide to read this story in its entirety, I sincerely hope that you at least get a good laugh out of it. Maybe some of these popular sayings piss you off too. If so, welcome- you’re definitely my type of person.
“It is what it is.”
Alright, let’s start with one of my personal favorites when it comes to sayings that piss me off. Let me start by saying that I’ve been known to throw this little beauty around in my day to day life pretty often when things just aren’t going my way. Don’t we all? So yes, I’m a bit of a hypocrite for including it on this list.
“It is what it is.”
Should I just accept the situation for what it is? Should I just say, “Hey, this sucks. Too bad I can’t do anything about it. It is what it is.”?
I personally think that, while true, this statement needs to stop being what we resort to on the days where we just can’t seem to get a grip on things. Does it just have to be what it is? In a world where we feel out of control so often, should we really just lie flat on our backs and take what’s coming to us?
Yes, it may be what it is. There are some things in life that we simply can’t change. That’s a fact. But still… What if we questioned why something is what it is a little more often? Think about the possibilities of that. If we stopped accepting things simply because they are present and questioned them a bit more, what might we find out about ourselves?
To me, while true, this statement just feels a little bit too much like we’re giving up. Personally, I know that’s why I use this statement so often. I often feel like giving up. If I used this saying a little bit less and tried to take a peek behind the metaphorical curtain a little more often, I wonder if things might start to look up for me a bit.
Yes, it may be “what it is” but does it have to be?
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
The joke’s on you. I don’t make plans. I’m too busy watching Netflix and taking depression naps.
No, but in all seriousness…
While I get where this saying is coming from, I still find it profoundly irritating. Life is a struggle that we all go through. It’s difficult. To be told that my life is basically passing me by while I’m focused on trying to create the best future for myself (i.e. busy making other plans), really pisses me off.
Why is it exactly that all of my efforts to better my life don’t matter? I understand that it’s supposed to be all about “living in the present” and “enjoying every moment for what it is” but there’s also a rational amount of planning and preparing for the future that has to be put into play.
If all I ever did was sit around and enjoy every moment for what it brought, I think I’d really miss out on making the moves that will determine my future. Why can’t there be some sort of balance between the two?
“You have to look through the rain to see the rainbow.”
The pessimist in me really cringes whenever this one gets thrown around.
Yes, it’s true that sometimes you have to go through the bad times to get to something beautiful, I guess. At the same time, I feel like it’s important to address when things just aren’t going our way. Sometimes life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes it feels like there is no metaphorical rainbow waiting for us on the other side of the rain.
I feel like this saying, while true at its core, really minimizes the hopelessness that we all feel from time to time. I think it’s healthy, believe it or not, to just sit and accept when things feel bad. Even if we know that things will get better deep down, that doesn’t eliminate the fact that we feel the way that we feel in the present.
As important as it is to always try to pull ourselves up from the pits of despair when life isn’t going our way, it is equally important to allow ourselves to feel our emotions. While it’s important to remember that there is always a bright side to things, we do ourselves a disservice when we try to run from the bad feelings, burying them deep down within ourselves and pretending like they aren’t there.
“Sing like no one is listening. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody is watching.”
This common saying brings out a certain kind of rage in me due to the fact that every time I hear it I tend to associate it with “Live. Laugh. Love.” merch and romantic comedies, my least favorite movie genre. While you could argue that that’s just my own bias talking, I think there’s a bit more to it than that.
Sing like no one is listening.
Ah, yes, but what if they are?
Love like you’ve never been hurt.
But I have. Should I really just throw caution to the wind and dive in headfirst? Seems like a good way to, oh, I don’t know, get hurt again?
Dance like nobody is watching.
Yet again, what if they are? They’re not gonna appreciate what they’re about to see.
I can appreciate what this common saying is trying to bring out in people. At the root of it, this saying is all about forcing yourself to do things that scare you, to live fearlessly in a world where this is so much to fear. I can get behind that.
What I don’t like about this saying is the fact that it seems to suggest that we should simply ignore all of the things that have ever harmed us in the past. That’s just unrealistic. We’re human, after all. We all possess a fight-or-flight response and this important evolutionary component of our psyche (while irritating at times) is there to protect us.
If something scares us, makes us uncomfortable, or puts us in some degree of distress, who says we should necessarily have to confront it head-on all of the time? These things take time, dude. Stop pushing me.
I’ll sing when I’m good and ready. I’ll love when I feel prepared to do so. I’ll dance when I feel like it.
What’s the rush?
“Everything happens for a reason.”
Finally, we have this little gem. I’m willing to bet you’ve used this saying at some point in your life and heard it nearly as many times as you’ve said it. I know I have. If I had a penny for every time I heard this saying, I wouldn’t be worried about my Medium income, that’s for sure.
So why does this one piss me off?
Here’s the thing. Yes, everything does happen for a reason. I firmly believe that. Every bad thing that has ever happened to me in my life ended up building me as a person, informing the way I approach similar situations in the future, and made me who I am. That being said, I feel like this saying suggests that we shouldn’t question the reason behind the things that happen to us. Rather, we should just accept them because there’s probably a good reason behind them.
I’d also argue that this isn’t a saying that should necessarily be applied to every bad life situation- particularly traumatic ones that affect a person for the rest of their lives. If there’s a reason underlying every bad thing that happens in the world, does that suggest that we should simply accept everything that happens to us? Are we not allowed to question it? Are we not allowed to feel rage? Are we not allowed to ram our fists into the sky and scream, “Why me?”?
Although everything may happen for a reason, I think it’s against human nature to simply accept that. We’re endlessly inquisitive beings. We’re highly curious about the world around us. Rather than just saying that everything happens for a reason and leaving it at that, why not dig a little deeper? Why not set out on a search for the meaning behind any given action?
Everything happens for a reason.
Yeah, okay. I’m not content to just keep it at that, though.
If you’ve made it this far, I hope this story inspired a smile in you, brought forth a chuckle, or maybe even made you think about the way we use common sayings without really thinking them through. I needed a bit of a break today and this is about the best that I could possibly muster. Sue me.
It is what it is.