I hate the “it gets better” mentality

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I saw a tweet the other day that my bestie Emma had replied to. It was a tweet that reminded everyone to look at where they were four years ago, compared to now and to appreciate how much better life always gets. I’ve linked below in case you didn’t see it on your timeline (although the bloody thing was literally everywhere for me!)

On first glance, I thought how lovely that was. What a great way to spread positive thinking, to assess how lucky you are and to feel grateful for all the steps you’ve taken… I even started writing out my own response, but after seeing my pal Emma’s reply to this, I took a second look.

Because what Emma highlighted is that actually, the situation that she was currently in? Well, it wasn’t as good as it had been four years ago.

She shared that message to spread some awareness about the fact that things can roller-coaster in life, that there’s no shame in not being in a much better place and that stuff like this, is the stuff that people hide from their social media.

This really got me thinking, that actually, the “it gets better” mentality can be damaging when it’s used this way. This mentality of ‘things will always improve’ can in my personal opinion, can equate to guilt, shame or feelings of low-worth if you realise that actually, things aren’t that great at the moment.

Thinking about my own personal situation, things are indeed a lot better than they have been, but it has certainly not been an easy ride. I wouldn’t be able to objectively look at my life now, compare it to how I felt 4-years ago… and firmly declare that ”things got better”.

Because, yep, things got better. They also got worse. Then they got better again.

My eating disorder? Well, that went away and my behaviours improved so much. But my OCD? That’s back with a vengeance and has been a constant battle for me.

My job? Well, four years ago I was happy as larry being a student. Now? I’m in a job I’m not sure about and feel kinda weird over.

My relationships? I was HAPPY BACK THEN. I’m even happier now, but hindsight tells me that you’re always going to remember good bits. My diary tells a whole different story about my relationship four years ago.

Now, I’m not saying that shitty things don’t improve with time and that things are permanent, but what I am trying to do is to beat away telling everyone that “it gets better” all the time, and instead I’m advocating a “life is hard, but you will manage it” mentality.

You don’t have to feel like a failure just because things aren’t going your way right at this moment. Sure, things will get better… and then they will get worse, and then better again.

So let’s stop beating ourselves up over life being out of our control at times. Sometimes, if we look back over the years that have passed- some will indeed be better than others. Yes, the problems and issues you’re dealing with now may be temporary, but life? Well, it’s a roller-coaster that we’re all riding.

Rach

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