By Guest Contributor Gregory Ramey, PhD, Child Psychologist and Dayton Daily News Columnist   |   July 16th, 2016

false inspirational quotesDr. Gregory Ramey never sugar coats it. He has kindly allowed the Ohio Family Law Blog to repost many of his articles pertinent to our readership since 2007. So, you may ask, why post this one? Well, the answer is simple. I agree 100% with him! Another example of him being spot-on in my mind. Life is tough and it doesn’t come with training-wheels or rose colored glasses.

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Inspirational quotes, intended to motivate or encourage, are often nothing more than psychological gibberish masquerading as profound truths. They sound nice, but mean nothing.

  • “If you dream it, you can do it.” I love Mickey Mouse, but this assertion by Walt Disney is silly. Dreams accomplish nothing. Disney’s achievements were built upon talent, persistence and hard work.
  • “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment,” proclaimed Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of my favorite writers. There are lots of these “be yourself” quotes around, all of them misleading and juvenile. What does it mean to be yourself? There are times we are selfish, mean and narcissistic. Living is all about trying to contain our negative sides and live in a loving and moral manner. Can you imagine a world where everyone just acted on the way they felt in the moment and rationalized their behavior by proclaiming that they were “being themselves?”
  • “You can have anything you want, if you want it badly enough,” remarked President Lincoln. Classroom teachers like to put posters like this in their classrooms, and it drives me crazy. I get the intent. Let’s encourage students’ self-confidence. However, adults know that hard work alone is not enough. Talent is essential, and not everyone is equally gifted with intelligence or creativity.
  • “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” I don’t know who said this, but it sets the wrong expectations for our kids about life as an adult. I really love my job, most of the time. However, there are parts of it that are frustrating, boring and exhausting. Let’s not tell our kids that work is always fun.
  • “If you judge people, you have no time to love them,” remarked Mother Teresa, who is currently being considered for sainthood in the Catholic Church. With all due respect to a potential saint, this is terrible advice. There is nothing wrong with proclaiming people’s behavior as wrong, immoral or stupid. Just because someone thinks that something is correct doesn’t make it so. We need to judge more, not less.
  • “That which does not kill us makes us strong,” wrote German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. This guy never spent a day in my office. Lots of bad things happen to kids that leave them hurt and vulnerable, not strong.
  • “The fact is that people are good…” was a fundamental tenet of psychologist Abraham Maslow. Anyone who has read a few chapters of history from any time period knows that statement to be rather ridiculous.

Gregory Ramey, Ph.D., is a child psychologist and vice president for outpatient services at the Children’s Medical Center of Dayton.  For more of his columns, join Dr. Ramey on Facebook at www.facebook.com/drgregramey. Dr. Ramey has been a guest contributor to the Ohio Family Blog since 2007.

[Reprinted by permission from the January 24, 2016, edition of the Dayton Daily News, “7 False Inspirational Quotes” Gregory Ramey, PhD]

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Guest Contributor Gregory Ramey, PhD, Child Psychologist and Dayton Daily News ColumnistAbout The Author: Guest Contributor Gregory Ramey, PhD, Child Psychologist and Dayton Daily News Columnist
Gregory Ramey, PhD, is a nationally recognized child psychologist and columnist who has worked at Dayton Children’s Hospital since 1979. In addition to his weekly column in the Dayton Daily News about effective parenting, Ramey has conducted more than 200 workshops and has recently been quoted in articles in Redbook, Parenting, Ladies Home Journal as well as columns distributed by the New York Times Wire Service.

7 False Inspirational Quotes…

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