Slogans and catch phrases have been an ever-present part of self-help and motivational speaking and media tools, and I cannot argue with the benefits of helping oneself. Self-empowerment is important, especially when a person is facing a serious illness like hepatitis C, or any other for that matter. My beef is with the proliferation of fluff posing as meaningful or useful counsel. Trust me, I am not the judge of all things hep C, but I do believe that for many, and even most people, a slogan or catch-phrase and a cute picture are not sustaining supports. Am I just being a grumpy old man? I will let you be the judge of that.
Not Always an Easy Fix
I wish that things were so easily solved as it is sometimes portrayed. I attended my first session of this type of thing quite unknowingly years ago. As it turned out it was part of a very large and financially successful pyramid scheme. The catch phrases were flying in that session, oh my they pulled out all the stops in working the crowd up with all sorts of motivational tricks. Having felt duped into attending, and because of my education in critical thinking, I was at first amused. My amusement turned into contempt as the evening wore on because I felt like some, not all, of the audience was being conned. They were, as it turned out, and that bothers me to this day.
My next experience in motivational fever was at a three-day event that was meant to excite and motivate people to become entrepreneurs. The slogans flew around the rooms, with things like “dare to be great” and the like. It was tough to take, and the frenzy of the crowd was a bit scary at times to be honest, and over a meal at the end, my fellow diners were all making grand plans. I often wondered what happened a week after, or a month later when the excitement wore off. I suspect some may have carried on with their dreams, and some may have been inspired, but to be honest, the evidence that this kind of thing has any lasting benefit is dubious.
Okay, you may think I am negative and should be more positive in my outlook, and I get it. The truth is that I am as optimistic as the next person, and maybe even more despite my beliefs about whether motivational slogans and cute photos or images will solve serious medical or social inequity issues that many people living with hep C are dealing with. I wish it were as simple as that. I really do.
There are complex issues for most of us, and although I enjoy a cute picture as much as anyone it is not going to keep me from facing chronic disease or pain head on day in and out. I enjoy humor and things that distract me from the everyday problems I face with my own health, and I support anyone who seeks to develop ways to help them through the difficulties one can endure with a chronic condition. A positive attitude is good for our health, without question. My beef is with the notion that a good attitude can be easily achieved if you are dealing with social determinants of health such as poverty and other barriers like addiction and stigma, which are not uncommon in our community. A slogan or buzzword or twenty will not put a roof over your head or food on your table.