The first few times I saw “FML” at the end of a tweet or facebook post, I naively thought there must be some other meaning. I looked into it, and have now accepted that people that I know are actually saying “f*** my life”– and not just under their breath in a moment of frustration, but publicly in print. This is a sad and twisted state of affairs. In case it’s not obvious why, here are my top four reasons why you shouldn’t resort to this particular hashtag or similar statements:
1. Your Life is Your Creation
We each have the responsibility and the gift of creating our experience in every moment. There are spiritual and scientific principles increasingly showing how much our intention changes what happens in the physical world (The Secret, Consciousness and Water, Power of Intention etc.).
Even though we don’t have control over everything that happens around us (thankfully), we can always decide how we are going to react to what happens. I have had some challenging experiences lately. One in which a person in my world was disrespectful and violated some pretty basic agreements. This was the kind of situation that could have been very destructive. I could have: gone into a crazed revenge and involved other people, ruined their reputation, felt depressed, held on to a very bitter resentment. I felt all of these possibilities, and that our media thrives on characters seemingly justified in acting out that drama.
I chose to react differently. I took time to feel my feelings in my own heart, and made space for the wisest part of myself to point me in the right direction. I said what needed to be said, severed ties that needed to be, and kept it to myself. Things have turned out fine, with no one else getting hurt, no more drama created, and I am at peace with it. This has taught me more about taking responsibility for my reactions than anything previously in my life. Here’s a good practice: when you find yourself in a situation where you would be “fully justified” in lashing out in response, getting vengeance, throwing a pity party and saying “FML”, DON’T. Choose differently. It is the most powerful feeling.
2. When You Curse, You Are Cursed
Want to really f*** up your life? Just remind yourself and everyone how terrible it is. That’ll take care of it. I see this in so many forms: “This week sucks. My day can go to hell, fml.” You think it sucked before? Just wait now for how sucky it can get now with your energy going towards making it worse. It’s pretty amazing. You are a powerful being, in either direction you choose to point it towards.
3. Be Thankful for Your Privilege
I was going to take a screenshot of the #fmls that show up in a twitter search. But I’d have to block off the names and it’s too much work right now, and would require me looking at it longer. Go do a search for yourself. People f*** their lives over very small things. “I have finals. #fml” or” I’ve never been kissed under mistletoe #fml” or “I was gonna go workout, but I decided to eat a cheeseburger instead #fml”. Imagine someone with real problems (like hunger, homelessness, abusive relationships) reading this stuff. Feel sufficiently embarrassed and give thanks that you can go to school, have freedom with your body, and eat when you want.
4. People Don’t Like Whiners
Well, maybe “misery likes company” but it’s certainly not the kind of company you want when you’re down. When I’m upset, I don’t want self-pitying people who support my cursings. I want vibrant, alive, strong people who remind me who I am. Public whining and self-cursing is a turn-off. F***ing your life online because you don’t have a partner? Well that’s a sure way to turn off anyone who might be interested. I’ve never thought “wow, that guy f***ing his life is so hot”. What’s hot to me is when people face challenges and find a way to work with Life, not against it.
Thus ends my tirade for today. I realize that the stories on the fml site are really funny, and that the meaning of the acronym isn’t at the forefront of consciousness when it’s used, and that I’m totally uncool for making a big deal out of it. Three little letters may seem trivial. They are not. They represent a culture of cursing, and a myth of powerlessness, that perpetuates apathy and gets us nowhere. Need to say f*** you to something? (Being an 8 I often do). Say it to that sense of victimhood, not to your life. Love your life!
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I am a coach, facilitator and program director in Denver, Colorado. I bring a high-performance mindset from 18 years leading in global corporations, startups, non-profits and Higher Ed. I’ve also honed skills in emotional intelligence and practical spirituality through training with ICF, Shadow Work®, Insights Discovery and motherhood. If you’re ready to do powerful inner work, and also get tangible results in your external environment, please follow my blog and reach out to talk about coaching!