With 2016 coming to an end, more and more of my Facebook friends have been posting articles about their New Year’s resolutions and guides for to living better lives, but the piece that immediately captured my attention was one I didn’t expect to pop up on my feed. “Hate To Break It To You But You Are The Reason Your Life Sucks So Much,” by Becca Martin has been one of the most shared editorial posts among my friends.
In the Thought Catalog article, Martin stresses the point that you, the reader, are the reason your life sucks and that happiness is the end-all-be-all in life.
You are the reason you are unhappy, you are the reason you’re stuck in a rut and your relationships are poor and you’re constantly criticizing others and looking for more. That’s all on you.
Although I agree that some people can be their own worst enemies and need to take responsibility for their problems, Martin’s all encompassing “you” statements about unhappiness are a load of generalist, ableist bullsh*t that need to be left behind in 2016.
The idea of happiness as the ultimate marker of a successful life may seem ideal but unfortunately, some people lack the serotonin to feel that emotion. The concept of being positive and believing in oneself sounds fine and dandy, but it can’t cure all.
When you struggle with mental illness, positivity can only do so much. When you say, “If you want your life to get better then start living like it. Start doing something positive in the right direction and don’t stop until you get there, then keep going,” you only strengthen the stigmas around mental health.
Stop doing things that don’t fulfill you, stop blaming others for your problems and stop thinking life owes you something because it doesn’t. If you want your life to get better then start living like it. Start doing something positive in the right direction and don’t stop until you get there, then keep going.
Whether intentional or not, your article is saying that doing something positive and monumental will pull someone out of their “slump” regardless of the situation that they’re facing. You’re telling those with mental illnesses that the reason why they’re hurting or the reason why they feel inadequate is because they’re not doing enough to make their lives better. And most of all, you’re telling those who may have been abused, molested, raped, or otherwise traumatized that they are the reason they end up in sh*tty relationships/situations.
While you may believe you’re pushing people to be better versions of themselves, your victim blaming statements and the pushing of your ableist beliefs are also crippling those who struggle with forces that they can’t physically or emotionally control.
I have a feeling you didn’t write this article to bring people down, but writing this article with the general “you” was a stupid move. Those with mental illness or those who struggle with various disorders beyond their control are a part of the general public, and I think you need to keep that in mind the next time you tell someone that they’re the sole reason their life sucks.