All this talk of life without limits and "you can be anyone you chose to be" can be damaging for those whose limits are not lack of self confidence or intellectual ability.
Who writes and talks about those who can barely leave their home?
Who exhorts them to be the best that they can be?
How do we draw the marginalised into the world of positive psychology without further side-lining them?
Not just the elderly, although they are a decent proportion of this cohort
What about those managing persistent pain or chronic mental illness?
Or cancer, or Parkinson's disease or one of the many other almost neurological disorders you've never heard of until someone you know or love is diagnosed?
And the brave determined souls whose lives are eaten up by phobias, social and otherwise?
Yes, you can be anything you want to be, as long as you have none of the above
Of course we should approach life with a positive 'can do' mindset.
But the overwhelming almost daily messages from the media, from gurus, even politicians, that all we need to do is believe we can do something in order to achieve it is alienating for those for whom life is a struggle.
And yes, we should always kick back against these burdens, for they are something we must carry, like it or not. We should also carry them as lightly as possible, see the positive wherever we can, and allow others to help us. Approaching life, any life, with a sense of humour and an appreciation for what you can do is what makes it worthwhile.
My favourite quote on this subject is not from one of the great philosophers or renowned thinkers, it is from, of all people the Australian singer songwriter Missy Higgins. The lyrics of her song "Everyone's waiting" include the phrase "Remember this ain't for you it's for them".
Everyday, and especially on bad days let this be your anthem. Are you reading this from a wheelchair? From a hospital bed? From your own bed? Skin disease? Heart disease? Alcoholism? Obesity?
It's not about you...it's about them. Do something today to make one other person on the planet feel good. You are part of the fabric of their life, you need to give back. You might be the reason they get up in the morning...to shower you, to help you attach your prosthetic leg, to ease cystic fibrosis from your lungs.
You may never attend a Tony Robinson feelgood seminar but you belong to an army of amazing but ordinary humans who allow themselves every day to be helped, to be nurtured and in turn you are doing it "for them".... You are the hub, the centre of a world where caring and needing constantly answer each other's call....because when we strip it all back, when there is nothing else left, that is all that's left...the need we have, and the care we take of each other .
Wow, what a brilliant article. Just the other day my cousin and I were talking about how often people say 'You can do anything if you put your mind to it'. Her father had polio and my sister has cerebral palsy. Wheelchairs for both and no amount of deciding to get up and walk without assistance would change that. However, both of these people have inspired others with their positive attitudes and making the most of what they can do. I am so glad you also mentioned the limitations which are not obvious by looking at someone. I look forward to reading your next article.