A couple of weeks ago in this column I was talking about common sayings, expressions and idioms but I didn’t get a chance to mention one of my all time favourites which just came to light, once again, for me this past week. You see, I was reading through one of the more recent copies of “Canada’s National Magazine”, Maclean’s, and by the time I had finished reading it I was practically Googling the best choices in anti-depressants and contemplating a call to a Mental Health practitioner because of all of the Gloom and Doom the magazine was spouting. But upon closer inspection I realized that they were just “Making Mountains out of Molehills”. By the way, speaking of Mental Health, if you live in this corner of the world, trying to get in to see someone about your mental health issues can be downright depressing, but I digress.
It’s fairly self-explanatory but making a mountain out of a molehill is an idiom referring to over-reactive, histrionic behaviour where a person makes too much of a minor issue and this particular idiom has been used for centuries.
Take the March 5th Maclean’s cover headline warning, “YOU’RE ABOUT TO GET BURNED…Canada looks exactly like the U.S. before its devastating housing crash—maybe even worse. Why it’s officially time to panic!!!”
OMG, I said. Where’ll we hide? What do we do? Chicken Little is sounding the alarm again! Run, run, run for your lives!!
And upon first blush it seemed that the writers had done their homework and researched their facts but upon further review many of their overwrought statements were overblown and, in the end, not fully factual either. In fact, there were many letters to the editor in a couple of Maclean’s issues later, including one from the President of the Canadian Bankers Association, Terry Campbell, stated that there are several differences between the Canadian and U.S. mortgage markets and he refuted that Canada was even close to a meltdown.
I think Maclean’s and similar newsmagazines are just telling the “Chicken Littles” in us all exactly what we want to hear. It appears that we want the best of any particular situation but we expect the worst.
For instance, take the recent May-like weather conditions that we have been experiencing throughout this past month. While I was out and about and mingling with others in the Post Office or uptown I would comment on how great our weather has been and my comments were more-often-than-not met with, “We’ll probably pay for it later, won’t we?”
Why? Who says? Why can’t we just take a great day today and let tomorrow bring what tomorrow will bring? Always with the negative waves, eh? But we humans love to ride the “Complain Train”, too, don’t we?
And, yes, you’re right, there’s enough negativity about negativity in this article that is could be labeled as positively negative. Or something. But, in the end, my point it this: examine every event, obstacle, challenge, mistake…on its own merits and do your best to not “make a mountain out of a molehill”.
An Angel says, 'Never borrow from the future. If you worry about what may happen tomorrow and it doesn't happen, you have worried in vain. Even if it does happen, you have to worry twice.'
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