Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Change is such hard work"

(Quote: Billie Crystal. Yep, weird source, I know)

While surfing the web I discovered a picture posted by someone on, a social news forum, where people share whatever they want to share with other. This particular picture really hit me (I'm sorry I don't have the name of the creator):

Now, you might look at the picture and think nothing special about it, and that’s ok. Perhaps I’m just deluded and overgeneralising a bit, but I think everyone can, at least to some degree, recognise the feelings this picture conveys. The feeling of wanting to do something, but not finding the motivation to do it. “I really should get up off this couch and do some sit-ups” or “I should probably work on that assignment”, all the way to “I should get out of bed” and even “I should do something with my life”. But somehow, the little motivation spark plug in our brain isn’t firing, and thus you just carry on with what you were doing.

I think a lot of people can look at this picture and think “Get over yourself. Just get off your arse and do something with your life! Quit whining and just DO it! Everyone has days like that, but they get over it and so should you!” In fact (and to my naïve surprise) that was the general feedback the picture got from the other users on Only a very few people showed the creator of the picture any sympathy.

Well, I for one can identify with the picture, and I guess that’s why it hit me so hard. I recognise the hopeless feeling of wanting to do something, but failing to muster the motivation and consequently carrying on in the same repetitive pattern; a sort of vicious circle. Now, as I said, the sentiment this picture communicates can be extrapolated to failing to muster motivation for doing the dishes, but such a feeling might also lead to depression. I’m not depressed, thankfully. But I think we can all agree on that everyone has days or periods where everything feels difficult and downright dismal. Most of us eventually find a way out of this vicious circle of misery, but for others it might be much harder.

My issue is with the people who try their best to help by saying aforementioned “Get up and do something!” Having experience periods or milder and more severe hopelessness myself, my point is that this sort of “support” helps very little. The very quintessence of the problem is that the person cannot seem to turn things around and do something about their life (or the dishes…). Therefore “just do it” only leads to walking in circles:

“I can’t do anything”
“How about you Just DO it?!”
Well, that helped… Like ringing the doorbell when no one’s home.

On the other hand, I completely see where the “consolers” are coming from. It’s easy once you have gotten out of a hopeless situation, to stand on the other side of the (metaphorical) mountain and go: “You just got to get over it and do this and do that! Easy peasy lemon squeezy!” You might even give them the exact same advice you followed or tell them to do whatever you did. I’ve done so several times myself, but I’m not sure whether it helps directly. I think the revelation has to come from within yourself. It's YOU who are down in the dumps and it's YOU who need to get out. You know you have before, but it might be difficult and even  irrelevant what helped the previous time. It might help talking to someone, writing it down, or you might like getting advice or just a “push” in the right direction from other people, or you might just climb that mountain yourself. Whatever you did, remember no one did it for you. Support is always good, but YOU took those necessary steps. YOU got out of the couch and YOU turned things around. Thus: You are awesome. So if you’re struggling a bit at times, you know there is a way out. The important thing is to not give up.

As a conclusion I would like to share with you a clip which I stumbled upon while writing this very blogpost. It is a beautiful video which is made by a guy called Luke Rudkowski for a website called The website isn't that pertinent to what I've been talking about, but the video is a poignant reminder of locked-away interpersonal social nature. I thoroughly recommend you watch it. 

Much love.
(NB! If you have any comments whatsoever, whether you disagree or agree with me, feel free to leave a comment!)


  1. i don't know if i agree with everything you've said.
    that can be the most demoralising thing - something that's dragging you down, and causing you stress, and you're told it's nothing and that you should just get over it? that's not ok. that'll do more damage. people need to be told that someone understands, that they're not alone in what they're going through, that someone empathises.
    feeling alone in your situation is one of the worst parts of anything. if there are people to understand, those that have perhaps even been through what you're going through, you can use them for inspiration to get through.
    in short, you can't do it alone. and you shouldn't have to

  2. Thanks for your comment :)
    I realise I may have strayed somewhat and made my point not as clear as I intended.
    The point of this post is that I don't think it's cool for people to tell other people to "just get over it" if they're feeling down. Regarding the point you're making about loneliness, I completely agree. Of course you should rely on your friends for support and inspiration, but at the end of the day it's you who make the changes. People can inspire you and spur you on, but no one can do the motivational FOR you. So I did not mean that people should necessarily do it alone, but doing it on your own - as an individual :)

  3. Agreed
    I think i just wanted to clarify the difference between doing it on your own, and doing it alone
    Enjoying the blogs by the way :)

  4. There's someone I know who I'm sure can really help you, because He's really helped me a lot. It's Jesus Christ. Maybe you've heard some things about Him, or you know a lot about Him, or maybe nothing at all. But a long time ago I trusted Him to forgive me for every wrong thing I've done, and since then, He has defeated apathy in my life.

    I'm not talking about anything superficial or imaginary, I really love Jesus. Last week, I did an excellent experiment on what it was like working without Jesus, and then what it was like working with Him.

    I have a job in the local nursing home, and last week I had to get up at 5:00 twice in a row (for the first time in my life) and go to work. The first day, I didn't think about Jesus much at all and I tried to do my work all on my own efforts. I was determined to be efficient, and I motivated myself with all sorts of things--everything I could think of. But by the end of the day I was apathetic, inefficient, clumsy, and tired nearly to tears.

    That evening, I knew I would be doing just as much work the next day and I said to Jesus, "I can't endure that twice in a row. I'll never make it. How could I possibly endure it?" So I decided this--and I wrote it down: "I'm going to make the love I have for Jesus the purpose of all my actions. I shall not forget about Him for a moment, and I'll let Him move me in whatever I do."

    And that was what I did.

    Every dish I had to wash, I washed for Jesus, and I didn't just think, "I'll wash this dish for Jesus," I felt it. And there wasn't one moment that day when I felt tired. I was cheerful, energetic, and motivated. And I talked to Jesus all the time. It was amazing.

    That's my experience, at least, and it's happened to me quite often with school and such, when I just do what I do for Jesus. It works for me, but don't think it won't work for you. I'm sure it will work for you if you decide to know Jesus. I think it's the only thing that can really defeat apathy because I'm always trying other things when I forget about Jesus, and they never work even close to as well.