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...With A Grain Of Salt

Katie doesn’t have any experience with this topic—that’s why she’s opening up to all of you in hopes of learning more!

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The best things in life are on the other side of fear.

OR

The grass is always greener on the other side.

In retrospect of almost a year of writings, I have noticed yet another trend in myself. I am drawn to cliche sayings. I think it's fascinating that there are so many wise sayings floating in the world and we just toss them around because it's sort of applicable in the moment. Or saying one of these cliche lines gets us out of having to come up with something on our own.

I was recently talking to a friend about another, "when one door closes another one opens." My friend was referencing this quote after hearing some not-so-great news. Maybe this collection of cliche sayings helps us feel better when we need encouragement.

There are many reasons to use these cliche's or "old wives tales" or whatever you call them but I think they also come across as quick fixes.

I like having digestible pieces of information when I'm in the dance studio. These quick, relatable "food for thought" statements help students make connections to the material they're learning in the classroom so they can use it in the world...aka, teaching.

Ok, so they're teachings. Or even prophecies? Don't people who study prophecies and teachings study and analyze for years and years? In high school, one of my favorite things in school was watching Mrs. Suggs analyze poems, plays, and essays. She had the ability to break down these old age pieces of work and make them fun and relatable to those in the room. What I remember most was how long it would take us to go over some of the analyzations. And not in a bad way, either. The conversation and discussion that needed to happen sometimes would have us discussing 1 short story for two weeks. Because these were complex stories with multifaceted meanings and purpose, we needed to take our time and maybe even circle back to the beginning two or three times to fully understand the scope of what was being offered on the page and between the lines.

It's safe to say life is complex with multifaceted meanings and purpose. So throwing one of these cliche sayings out with no context or followup is a little irresponsible. It's like putting a bandaid on a broken ankle. Actually, it's like someone saying "Ow!" And we immediately hand them a bandaid without even really knowing the problem. I'm not saying we can't use them but let's just not resort to any easy way out. Like English class, let's take the time to fully understand and hear, or not hear, what these cliche's have to say.

I don't want to break down every cliche in the world, nor do you want to read that. Let's just look at, "The greatest things in life are on the other side of fear." Sounds great and encouraging doesn't it? This was told to me when my husband and I uprooted our whole life and moved to a new town across the country where we didn't know a single person. And now we're well over a year into that and I can feel that statement being lived out almost every day. When things get hard I say, "ok, am I on 'the other side' yet?" And when things are great..."Ah, 'the other side' is nice." But then I read that sentence again. It's cyclical. I don't have one fear - I have many. And I'm going to have to face all of them at some point in order to achieve greatness.

If there is one thing dance teaches you, it's that you NEVER "make it." You always strive for a better version of yourself. I will never be on the other side of my fear.

The other thing this sentence does, or doesn't do rather, is suggest time. It isn't, "The greatest things in life are on the other side of fear, but only if you go through the fear in a week." It doesn't have a limit. I put a lot of pressure on myself when it comes to time. I'm generally one of the first ones to arrive and have probably calculated your arrival based on where you live, if you hit traffic, etc. I also had a timeline for my life, too - 5 year, 10 year, and 15 year plans. I think it's good to have a roadmap of what you want in life but you can't hold to the timeline too tightly. If you grip too tightly, you'll think of yourself as a failure because you didn't meet your timeline goals. And I guarantee you won't meet some of them. Then, if you already think you're a failure, you might be too fearful to try again. And if you sit in fear, you're never on the other side of it, and so on and so forth.

Another thing you learn in dance is gripped muscles can't feel. If you want a good stretch and actually make progress, you have to relax your muscles and breathe through the stretch.

Maybe you already thought of these cliche's in this way. And maybe you don't see it this way at all. Maybe you think I misuse these cliche's and you see a different perspective in them. Maybe you just think I overanalyze things.

All of that aside, I think what I'm getting at is this: When things get hard, scary, tricky, uneasy, rocky, etc. don't just treat the symptoms. Think, sit, and then go through it. Don't run after validation just because you need to feel better in that moment.

And let's also not take the easy way out by offering these wise words with little care behind them. What if we filtered what we said like we filter our pictures? I know I need to practice that.

I say all of this as someone who literally has the cliche, "When one door closes, another one opens" tattooed on her body (in a cool way, of course!) So maybe take all of what I say with a grain of salt ;)

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