Zombie-scrolling and heart pangs

You are worthy, you are enough

To share your story is to heal

Own your voice, own your power

Your heart is your compass 

We’ve all zombie-scrolled through social media and stopped at inspirational quotes like these when they hit a tender spot. You take in their message and nod with hopeful resolve to be that exemplary self you see in the Mirror of Memes. Maybe you’ve even saved a few to a folder labeled Self-Care. But, open that folder in a few months and you’re likely to read a litany of unfulfilled longings.

How do I know this? Because I did it this morning. I’ve been saving memes for months and when I opened the folder expecting to be inspired, instead I was distressed. They weren’t there just as happy notes; I saved them to propel me upward into action. Each one was now a reminder of all that I hadn’t accomplished or the woman I hadn’t yet become.

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The problem with memes

Memes are intriguing until you contemplate them more deeply. They tend to tell you the what, but not the how of accomplishing their content, leaving you thirsty for more, but never quenching the thirst. I wish more memes would promote that niggling feeling it leaves you with 30 minutes after reading them. Sort of like the morning after that New Year’s Eve party.

Ask deeper questions of the heart

People who know me will tell you that I cut to the deep stuff pretty quickly—that’s where the real juice of inspiration, hope, and joy lie in wait for us all.

So the next time you run across an inspirational meme that catches your eye, stop and think more deeply for a moment, what pang in your heart did you just feel that made you pause with it? 

It’s not the quote alone that made you stop. It’s the exploration of the answers that is the real juice behind it. It’s that desire to grow into something more, something better, more settled, or just different from where you are now that gave you pause. Thinking deeply about that fleeting little heart-pang might mean change, and change gives us the willies. We’re human after all. Memes give us permission to skip the willies and scroll to the next good-feeling thing.

Here’s what I mean by addressing that heart-pang more deeply:

You are worthy, you are enough (How do I discover my worthiness? Being enough sounds limiting? I want to be more than enough!)

To share your story is to heal (I’m afraid to share my story; to myself and especially to others. Where do I begin? How can it possibly have a happy ending?)

Own your voice, own your power (How do I own, much less develop a voice when I’ve been powerless all my life? This must be for other people, not me.)

Your heart is your compass (How do I trust my heart when it is so shattered? I have been wandering this way and that. My heart can’t be trusted… can it?)

Yep, that’s the deeper stuff. And it’s good stuff to consider. I won’t save these memes anymore. I don’t mind the willies, change is good if productive. “Touch it once” is an adage we live by that applies from everything to taking off your shoes to sorting email. I will spend my time on ideas while they’re hot, action items when they arrive, and fun when it presents itself. It may not make the most inspirational meme, but it works for this woman starting out a new year.

Now, when you find yourself zombie-scrolling and stop on a meme that speaks to you, consider something new. Forward that meme after you reflect on it, add a some of your own deep thoughts to the post. Start a more vulnerable conversation that will take others beyond the usual likes, or comments of, “Amen!” or “Needed to hear this today.” You might just give somebody the willies in the most wonderful way.

Sam UhlComment