15 “Motivational” Sayings That Are Actually Annoying AF

I think we can all agree that, even if we don’t do it, it’s better to act positive than negative. Positivity is supposed to breed good things, and all of that. In an effort to avoid being a total Debbie Downer, a lot of people resort to cliche phrases that sound uplifting but are actually, well… kind of negative. Or to put it more bluntly, there are some “motivational” sayings that are just annoying AF. I mean, let’s be real, who else gets sick of seeing pretty landscapes covered up by inspirational words that have been used so many times they’ve basically lost their meaning? I can’t be the only one.

It really feels like everyone posts inspirational quotes all over their social media, especially the below examples. Some are great, but some are veiled put downs, while others are so repeated that, even if they have a good message, they elicit an eye roll. And some are meant to be positive, but end up being pretty negative. It’s a no win. While everyone probably intends to use these quotes and sayings for empowerment and to uplift themselves, they can also be a huge root of what’s keeping you down to begin with.

I promise I’m not being contrary for the sake of being contrary, but if I see another freaking tattoo on someone without some real careful examination about what these phrases actually mean, I might start being mean on the internet. According to the holy book of Destiny’s Child: “you know I’m not gonna diss you on the internet/cause my momma taught me better than that.” I am, however, going to take apart these phrases so you can really see how annoying they really are:

1) Here’s proof that healthy food is just as easy and delicious as unhealthy foods. 

eye roll

This is usually followed by a “simple” recipe that is only simple if you know how to cook, if you have time to cook, and if you have the money to spend on the items needed. This phrase is like fitness bullying – it’s basically saying “if I can do it, you can,” and that’s not always true. Everyone’s lives are different! Plus, I love me some kale, but it is NOT as good as ice cream. It’s just not!


2) My dream is to _______.

Dreams are cool. Want to know what makes your life worth living? Living those dreams. Saying something is a dream and keeping it at that always puts it out of reach and speaks more towards your imaginative life than the life you’re currently living. Even if your dream is to travel all around the world and you’re broke as hell, it’s better to say that you’re saving to travel – and really save up and work towards that goal – and not to say that your dream is to travel. Dreams do nothing.


3) Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

No, it’s not. It’s annoying af. I dare anyone to graciously handle a copy-cat. They suck the most. Why would you put yourself down like that? So we all should be thrilled as hell that someone wants to come in and steal out thunder and misrepresent something you hold dear? NO!


4) Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.

So the only people who have a good life are those who are irresponsible and plan nothing? What you’re invested in isn’t life? Life is only what happens in surprising moments that happen on the side? Um, false.


5) Live for the nights you won’t remember with the friends you’ll never forget.

How about don’t black out? That’s bad for you. How about don’t have friends that enable shitty behavior? Let’s consider that.


6) Live every day like it’s your last.

If I lived every day like it was my last, I would not stop drinking milkshakes. This is impractical. How could anyone be expected to truly live out every day as if it were their last? Who’s okay with living in the murky reality of their own mortality? I’d rather not have that weigh one me every day, thanks.


7) What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

What doesn’t kill you doesn’t kill you. Period. This whole business about awful things being secretly good for you are tired as hell and make no sense. It can make someone feel guilty for feeling sad, and that’s lame, because your emotions are valid.


8) It’s better to burn out than to fade away.

So, it’s better to implode than to modestly fade out of something? Cool. Glad to know we all value danger and theatrics over being boring – god forbid.


9) God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle.

God is a relative term and sometimes it’s okay to say no. You don’t have to task everything god throws your way. Feeling responsible to do and be everything makes a lot of people lose their minds.


10) You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.

Way to diss everyone’s ex in one fell swoop. So, anyone who isn’t our spouse is some weird pit stop on the way to *~true happiness~* then? Gross. How insulting. We all can learn things from different relationships or hook ups, not everything has to be oriented towards finding One True Love and not everyone who comes before The One is a mistake.


11) Your dress should be tight enough to show that you’re a woman, but loose enough to show that you’re a lady.

Get out of here with that sexist, body policing, slut shaming nonsense. How awful. Why would you say that?


12) Act like a woman, think like a man, work like a boss.

Spoilers: these all can be the same person. Aspirational traits don’t all belong to one gender.


13) Today is a gift, that’s why they call it the present.

Today isn’t a fun bonus. Today is today. It’s not exceptional beyond how any other day is exceptional. Please, by all means, live in the moment and appreciate everything for the whole glory of what it is, but there’s something about this phrase that rubs me in all the wrong ways.


14) You have as many hours in the day as Beyonce.

Um, okay… and do we also have as much money and resources as Beyonce too? If we should stop comparing ourselves to each other because we all bring something unique to the table and we aren’t all the same… why are we comparing ourselves to Beyonce? She’s Beyonce. She is above and beyond and a goddess. Of course, we all have the same hours in the day, but why should we get down on ourselves because we aren’t Beyonce? Let Beyonce be Beyonce. Mind your own and keep working. You don’t have the wealth, resources, staff, talent, or genius at the same level that Beyonce does.


15) Everything happens for a reason.

Shut up and leave right now. What kind of dismissive, negative thought is this to have in the face of something truly awful. We’re all just supposed to band aid it over and be okay with it because this is all part of some greater plan or something? Let people be sad or enraged if something bad happens. Washing everything over with some “everything happens for a reason” bullshit is not cool.


What are some cliches that you hate? Do you see anything negative about these positive quotes? Which ones did I forget to include? Let us know in the comments!

You can follow the author, Aliee Chan, on Twitter.


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