I see a meme in the wild. It’s about having much higher standards for yourself than you do for other people and how this is the key to true happiness.
“That’s solid advice,” I say and then I catch myself. Is it? Is it solid advice? Or is simply an echo of the way that I’m personally broken?
Because the reality is that I have a history of being an absolute doormat while being a workhorse. I’ve devoted many years and considerable energy to recovering from people pleasing. And look, it’s an uncomfortable reality, but one major aspect of my people pleasing in the past (not sure if it was cause, effect, or simple correlation) was that I had wildly different double standards for me and for others. And yeah… the direction was that I was much harder on myself than I was on other people. I let other people get away with practically anything and had very little self-compassion for myself when it came to even the smallest human mistakes.
Thinking over all of that, the meme that felt so good in the moment now feels utterly suspect.
And it’s far from the first time that’s happened to me. Where I’ve had a meme hit in an emotionally satisfying way. Because it’s so relatable. And I find myself reflexively saying, “That’s solid advice…” only to realize upon further reflection that it might not be. And the reason that I feel like it’s great is because it validates something maladaptive about me that I don’t feel like changing. Perhaps part of me is looking for permission to continue doing something that’s hurting me, others, or both.
It feels so good when something is relatable. It makes you feel so much less alone. Like your quirks aren’t a sign that you’re defective — because other people share them, too — thus, the initial post by someone else and all the likes and shares.
But while it feels good when something is relatable, is it always good? Or are there times when memes simply give us the permission not to do the work to change and grow?