For the Record, It’s Not Easy (nor should it be)
I have a request to make. Not sure who to send this to, so I’m letting the whole interwebs know (and by interwebs I mean the small handful of wonderful humans who read my blog – thank you humans I love you.)
Let’s stop using the word “easy” like it’s a synonym for “good.”
- “Here’s the easy way to get healthy”
- “Here’s the easy way to lose weight.”
- “Here’s the easy way to train for a race.”
- “Here’s the easy solution to parenting.”
- “Here’s the easy way to recover… to find happiness… to build a business… to start a blog… to do something meaningful.”
None of this should be easy so PLEASE and yes I just wrote in all caps because I’m not kidding, really please let’s stop trying to sell this idea that anything meaningful or important should be easy.
It’s become such part of our vocabulary that I don’t think we realize that all of these things are inherently rewarding and joyful precisely because they’re so freaking hard to do. If running, if relationships, if work, if having children, if simply being happy was easy then it wouldn’t be so fulfilling.
I’m no where close to being a mom, but even I get mad when I see anyone talking about anything parenting related by using the word “easy.” As a former kid, I know I didn’t make ANYTHING easy for my mom. Even if I was a relatively “good kid” being responsible for a human’s life will and should never be easy.
Here’s what should be easy:
- Washing your hair
- Watching TV
- Brushing your teeth
- Putting on your shoes
You know, basic stuff that really doesn’t need complication, thought or effort. But all of these things don’t make you proud, or feel accomplished. That’s because they were really easy to do.
So when we talk about things that are hard, let’s give them the respect they deserve and instead of trying to sell them as “easy” let’s say “worth it.” Let’s (especially women, because I see and do this myself) stop brushing off the things we worked so hard for.
Case in point, when people acknowledge my work I’m so quick to try and brush it off “oh it’s just fun, oh it’s not that hard.” But if you think about it, that’s an insult to not only my own time and effort but to the person making the compliment. It’s saying “if you can’t do it as easily as I can there’s something wrong with you.” Instead, I should be saying “thank you, it’s really rewarding.”
Maybe it’s not that obvious, but think about it in the context of health and fitness. So many women are sharing their health journeys on social media (which I think is fantastic) however by “making it look easy” or ascribing it to anything other than a crap ton of blood sweat and tears we’re doing everyone a disservice.
Maybe making a healthy breakfast part of your routine feels easy after years of doing it, but for someone who’s lucky to grab a pop tart on their way to class every morning let’s not tell her it’s easy. Let’s say “it will get easIER…” “it takes time to adjust…” “don’t beat yourself up if you fail a couple times first…” “it’s really worth it…” but not “it’s so easy,” because it probably isn’t for most of us.
Let’s stop using “she makes it look easy” like a compliment or an ideal. “Making it look easy” whatever “it” might be not only sets us up to feel crappy, but also discounts the enormous sacrifices we make in our lives to achieve making something incredibly difficult look easy.
I’m guilty of this myself. I’ve been training as a barista for a couple months and I’ve definitely told our head barista she makes it look easy. What I was really trying to say is “boy this shit is harder than I thought and you’re really good at.” Telling her she makes it look easy was meant as a compliment, but discounts all the hundreds of hours she’s spent learning about the coffee industry and practicing her craft.
She’s an incredible teacher and I’m grateful she never told me it would be easy. She never brushed off or discounted her own expertise. She graciously smiles as I pour some of the ugliest latte art man kind has ever seen. But you know what? It’s really exciting when I can pour a half decent tulip.
What I’m asking now, of you and certainly of myself, is to be more conscious how we use this word “easy.” I think about the most inspiring books, blogs and leaders and it’s not because they made anything look effortless. They showed what their messy lives looked like and explained thoughtfully why the mess was worth it.
So here’s to setting the record straight my friends, none of this (blogging, finding my own version of healthy, staying active, building strong relationships… life) is easy, nor should it be, because it’s too damn meaningful.
I’m linking up with Running with Spoons for Thinking Out Loud Thursday.
- What’s something that’s HARD that you love doing?