Time's up for toxic positivity and hustle culture
If you want to speak about empowerment, self-confidence, radical self-love, you better start acknowledging:
- How we have taken these ideas and distilled it into a caricature of self-reliance. I'm all for reclaiming our inner power, but that won't happen if the entire conversation is focused on how I am entirely responsible for this process - we need to take time to acknowledge that our coping mechanisms are also the result of living in this society. Not everything can be fixed with willpower alone.
- How we conveniently sweep privilege to the side...and then go around telling everyone that if you could do it, they can do it too. I needed to be in a specific situation to be able to do this - I needed time (a lot of it), space (a considerable amount) and money. It wasn't a lot of money by upper middle class standards, but enough that I know this was not 100% accessible. I saved hundreds of dollars because I had my library card, but that pales in comparison to the amount I've spent on courses and therapy. Recognize that it might take longer or it might be harder for people who have more immediate concerns, like making enough money for rent and food.
- Stop telling people that if things aren't going their way, it's because they are not trying hard enough. Yes, I have always been in the way of my success, and hearing that doesn't motivate me. There are other ways to have this conversation. It's time to lead with empathy and compassion.
- Stop saying that ALL of your success was due to your hard work. There's more to it than waking up at 4 am and being buried in your work. Those who aren't "living their best lives" are already working hard - give them another story, because this one is outdated. There's a combination of mindset, energy, emotions, and strategy behind "hard work". Stop ignoring that we all have a different starting line.
- So you've made it. Then what? How are you wielding that power for more than your own gain?