What Posting Inspirational Quotes Really Says About You

On any given day, my social media feeds are flooded with inspirational quotes, status updates and photos of people’s perfect lives. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good “Believe in Yourself” quote in neat typography over a serene ocean backdrop every now and again, but the incessant, non-stop posting of these affirmations is something I find concerning. Something just doesn’t seem to add up. This generation’s tendency to shout out loud exactly how happy they are and how happy others should be, is something I refer to as “positivity pandemonium”.

You’d think this is all the result of our society becoming happier and happier, however if you look at the statistics this is simply not the case. According to an analysis of over 6.9 million teens and adults, depression is increasingly on the rise. People experiencing symptoms connected to depression such as memory loss, lack of appetite and sleeplessness are double and triple fold from their 1980’s counterparts. The use of antidepressants has also doubled within the last few decades. In addition, another interesting finding from the Human–Computer Institute at Carnegie Mellon shows that passive consumption of Facebook and Instagram feeds correlate with feelings of loneliness and depression.

So what’s really happening behind the scenes? Are people being sincere and actually living according to the quotes and life lessons they eagerly share? Are the highlight reels shared on social media showing the 80% or the 20% of their actual lives? Or do we now have an influx of social media actors – living out online personas that don’t actually match who they really are? In today’s world, it appears we have Instagram life and real life – and they don’t necessarily match. Yes, this is a thing.

In today’s world, it appears we have Instagram life and real life – and they don’t necessarily match.

When I look within my own network at some of the biggest offenders of positivity pandemonium, I observe a major disconnect from their online personas and who they actually are – there is no integrity with what is being posted and how they actually behave in real life. This insincerity is hypocritical and in a sense, manipulative.  I know someone who boasted that the way she gets attention from guys who previously ghosted her is to make her Instagram feed show how much fun she’s having. I’ve been right at the scene of the crime witnessing her stage shots at parties and selfies with celebrities to show how awesome her life is. Her advice to me when I was going through a heartache was to strategically post shots of me with other guys and having a blast with no F***s given so he’d come crawling back (I ended up writing an article on rejection instead). While her Instagram life is FOMO-worthy, in real life, she’s struggled with creating and sustaining meaningful, loving relationships.  We all know that an immediate social comparison can be the byproduct of observing other people’s glamourous lives on social media. But now, this desire to drive FOMO in others is actually an objective -with people posting shots with the intention to spark envy in others. Yes, this is also a thing.

So what’s the harm in someone sharing a positive quote, crafting carefully curated lives or raving about their last ‘magical’ experience? If these attention seeking individuals need to do this for validation, what’s the issue?

First, it creates a distorted sense of reality. In between “Everything happens for a reason” and “Be fearless” lies real life, which is not perfect, Valencia filtered and Facetuned flawless. Life is messy.  Fear is a necessary emotion for survival. Reaching goals are not about magic, it’s about hard work, strategy and the occasional dose of luck and good timing.

In between “Everything happens for a reason” and “Be fearless” lies real life, which is not perfect, Valencia filtered and Facetuned flawless.

Second, the fluff is insincere and inauthentic. There are definitely people out there who have the credibility and the character that backs up the content they post, but for the most part, many self-professed spiritual gurus don’t. Anyone with a mobile device is now an instant publisher and can have influence – merit or no merit. Also, certain posts are shared purely with the intention for validation, fitting in and shaping public perception of one’s personal brand and agenda, and that’s really just a big lie packaged up in Helvetica. These small, everyday habits of presenting a false reality and an inauthentic persona (only to receive validation and bursts of dopamine with every like), reinforces an addictive and unhealthy pattern. Because at the end of the day, no amount of likes and Facebook envy will ever get us what we’re really yearning for: true acceptance, connection and love.

I’m not suggesting that everyone starts posting photos of the mundane and sharing complaints on their Facebook status updates, but I am encouraging that we become more conscious of what and how we consume social media. We are being wired by what we see on a subconscious level whether we like it or not. We also need to question what we are posting, and why. Are our intentions to make people jealous, get back at an ex or escape into a make-believe life? The seemingly harmless behavior of crafting a different online persona is rooted in a greater issue that may be worth examining.

Now I’ll leave you with this, “Dare to be yourself.”


  • Reply January 15, 2016


    Very apt, couldnt have been put any better. I just love your page and your style of writing. Could I please repost with reference to you on ellyeleanor.blogspot.co.uk. Keep writing please don’t stop. Its always a joy to read your articles.

  • Reply January 18, 2016



  • Reply March 16, 2016


    I actually really like this post… very true..

  • Reply April 23, 2016

    Spirit Loveroot

    I think you are a bit off. People don’t quote these things to try and be ale and misrepresent themselves while actually being hypocritical.

    Deep down, people know they are hypocritical and lonely and needing attention and this is why they post these things.

    They.. we are trying to inspire ourselves. We know we are not living up to the quote. Posting te quote, though, helps us live up to the quote.

    Posting the quotes creates a better possibility to live up to it than not.

    Now, to your point, I think social media feeds should be filled with what we desire to be (inspirational posts), but also what we are. Public confessions.

    However, it is unrealistic to expect people to confess in public because we are still too unevolved as a collective species. People who confess weakness, sin, and imperfection risk serious social and physical harm. Perhaps social isolation and ridicule or actual physical threatens and harm.

    So I do not like to judge those who hide their scars until society as a whole welcomes the confession of sins and imperfections and wrongdoings.

    Until that time, posting inspirational quotes is the closest we can be to authentic, sincere and genuine…

  • Reply June 12, 2016


    People in the Internet probably can’t be themselves. They absolutely want to show that are happy or they have a beautiful life… reality is different. Perhaps if people believe this their happiness or else are envying them they will become happy? It is really sad…

  • Reply September 8, 2016

    Tina Nichole

    As a Life Coach, I find that most people truly want to be better than the way they often show up… possibly the quote posting is a way of saying “I wish this is how I was feeling/being/doing/behaving, etc.”… yes, it’s possible there is a never ending need to show a front of a “perfect life” via Social Media, however I think deep down people would love to walk their talk if they could just put aside the fears that come with being vulnerable to being accepted for who they are.

  • Reply September 18, 2016


    Some of us are posting these because we agree with or aspire to these statements, not because we living them.

  • Reply June 12, 2017


    There are definitely some spot on points being made here, however, I feel obligated to mention that I do not feel this assumption that whoever posts only postive things on social media are either hiding their real feelings or pretending to be someone they are not. I am not trying to say you are specifically saying that “all” people do that, but I say this because I wouldn’t want anyone to think that of me. I ussually only post things that are positive to facebook, instagram, twitter(when I had one). The reason for this, however, is that I personally feel that it does no one any good by posting my problems out to the world. I want to uplift people with positive news, encourage people with encouraging words. My life is filled with sadness and heartbreak and struggles and everything in between, but I will not waste any of my time or someone elses by complaining about those issues in my life. With that being said, when my brother pasted away in 2014, I posted a few pictures in rememberance of him and his life. I am still being true to myself, but I am doing so in an appropriate manner that I hope would uplift others.

    I just wanted to share my perspective and views on social media and how I approach the life I live online and IRL.

    Thanks for reading

  • Reply July 6, 2017


    “. . . I observe a major disconnect from their online personas and who they actually are – there is no integrity with what is being posted and how they actually behave in real life. This insincerity is hypocritical and in a sense, manipulative.”

    Nope. As many preceding comments have highlighted, people are posting what they aspire to be. They are trying to focus on the silver lining. I’m glad you included that you don’t want people to post all of the negative aspects of their lives. I was worried for a minute.

    But still. I kind of get what you’re saying, but I think you’ve missed the mark. Most people who post these positive messages are doing it with good intentions. Not just what they aspire to be, but they also want to share a positive belief system with others. Focusing on the positive in life is SO powerful. People need to do this more. Without their intent being questioned.

  • Reply January 19, 2018


    No people need to do it a lot LESS. It’s fucking annoying waking up to their cliched nonsense, effectively telling all and sundry that they don’t “believe” enough or aren’t “reaching for the stars” or that because this bloke in a video that can rockclimb in a fucking wheelshair that we’re all selling ourselves short. It’s tedious, vain and patronising.

    As I actually know some of them personally, I know full well they’re not happy people – so all this striving doesn’t seem to be doing them any good. So god knows why they want to spread their virus to the rest of us.

    If you want to live your life reading “You CAN DO IT” mesages taped to your bathroom mirror then that’s your choice but keep it to yourself. It’s like having the bloody Jehovah’s Witnesses coming out of your phone ever 10 minutes – I’m sure they’re well intentioned too – trying to save our souls and all that. Both are grating as fuck.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: