Friday, April 20, 2012
Why I Don't like Motivational Speakers
I really don't like motivational speakers because, when I see one of them dancing about the lectern and spouting trite adages with a silly grin, I hear one of two things, and these are really the only two messages they can possibly give me; one is that they obviously have no idea what I've been through or they wouldn't be up there smiling and dancing in mockery of me, or two, the alternative, which is that they do know what I'm going through, they have had it even tougher than I have, and look at how much better they are than me, as they have beat their demon and I am being consumed by mine.
I have learned that when I tell someone my story or even discuss a small part of it, if they tell me something vapid and pithy like, "Life is like a box of chocolates..." I just roll my eyes and shake my head. They obviously have no idea. Once again I feel alone and misunderstood. That is mere sympathy and it is very condescending. Not unlike when someone says, "I must have a brain injury too, I'd forget my head if it wasn't attached." I don't hold it against them, they're just trying to say something nice. If however, I share something and they shake their head and say something like, "Wow, that's nasty!" I feel much better for having shared, because they obviously have heard me and appreciate what I'm going through.
I also don't mean to say that what the motivational speakers are saying is nonsense, far from it! Only that it doesn't help for someone else to tell me to be strong, because that message needs to come from within.
This is my motivational message: Recovering from brain injury is tough, it is often without reward, and frequently you are alone and unappreciated. When I hear THAT acknowledgement from someone else, I feel better. That renews my strength to carry on.