Kindness is the Key

You know what I think is awesome?

That everyone in this world is different.

We all have different lives, hobbies, opinions, and something unique and beautiful to bring to the world. I mean, how boring would the world be if everybody had the exact same viewpoints? Pretty darn boring, if you ask me.

However- with all of the strong differences of opinion being thrown in our faces daily by way of social media, it seems many people just aren’t up to dealing with that. Anyone who thinks differently is automatically “wrong.” Many people aren’t up to conversing rationally about anything anymore.

It seems every single day there’s a fresh debate going on, whether it’s spurred from a TV star (Duck Dynasty, anyone?) or even in the smaller realm of people debating the health and validity of a diet trend on Twitter.

While I’m all up for healthy debate and learning, it seems like many social media debates turn into more than that. They turn into an all-out war. Attacks are thrown left and right, people’s inherent lifestyles are thrown into question, and nothing good comes from it. Nothing. (Unless you want to count knowing the right people to “Hide from your Newsfeed.”)  Nobody here is trying to “educate” anyone, people are simply validating their own beliefs in any way they can. At the expense of kindness.

I came across an excellent quote recently that really was apropos in these situations:

A mistake made by many people with great convictions is that they will let nothing stand in the way of their views, not even kindness.
-Bryant H. McGill

I thought that was pretty profound!

Being kind to others even when they may not be  kind people themselves is one of the best ways to live a happier life. Because why would you let someone’s self-inflicted bitterness and negative thought process affect you?

The beautiful thing is you don’t have to. I love that.

No, I’m not a 100% perfect saint without nary a mean thought ever, but I really do consciously try to be kind and try to see things from others’ point of view. And when I started being kinder to myself, I was able to see the goodness of others more, too. I was able to see the beauty in those that couldn’t see it in themselves, I was able to brush off others’ negativity and not let it affect me as much. When you are confident in your own skin, you can really set yourself free of a lot of feelings that will absolutely hinder you.

That mindset has definitely helped me avoid some major incidents that otherwise would have happened. I’ve typed out MANY tweets, blog posts, FB statuses, etc. that I ended up deleting because I knew someone would take it the wrong way and someone had the potential to get upset about it.

Why am I so careful you ask? Well, I have to be honest and say I learned my lesson the hard way.

I’ll tell you this little story-

So, if you keep up with the fitness world at all you know that there is a HUGE subset of extremely popular Instagram “famous” accounts with thousands of followers.  While many of them generally do preach good information about health and fitness, sometimes there are things that make you go “hmm…”  For example, one time a specific person posted a video of a bizarre exercise that honestly, I thought was a horrible example to fitness beginners as it had great potential for injury. Clearly I could care less what someone chooses to do in their personal workouts, but if it’s something that other people will try to emulate, I’ll look at it more critically. Pretty much everything this person had posted before was so awesome- so this really confused me! What’s more, many people were commenting things like “lets try this!” and tagging their friends. It just really frustrated me in that moment that thousands of people would think this was something they should be doing just because this Instagram “famous” person did it, not realizing the dangers of it.

Now, I would NEVER comment on a post itself, or even mention a name, but still, I took to my own twitter and posted something about it, basically just saying “(insert description of exercise here)…..NO NO NO”  Not too harmless, I thought. I let out my frustration a bit and went along with my day. I figured surely, it was nothing worse than what I see other people say all the time. Also, my tweet didn’t even have anyone’s name attached! But still.. SOMEHOW people connected the two. And one of her followers even found me on twitter, called me out, then proceeded to tag the original video poster to my tweet.


Naturally, she wasn’t pleased. Also, other followers of hers took it upon themselves to attack me, called me an ugly hater and this and that. I ended up feeling really crummy about it because I should have just let it go! It really bothered me that I ended up hurting someone’s feelings in the process. Even though I still stand to my original opinion that it was kind of an unnecessary and possibly dangerous exercise, I should have kept my mouth shut about it. I definitely at least could have been kinder about the whole ordeal. I realize now it’s just not my place. No matter how much I want to say something about things like that.

Now I just consider it a lesson well-learned. I’m glad I learned it earlier rather than later! In this social media obsessed world, where ONE tweet can get you fired (Hello, Justine Sacco!), it’s so important to be smart about what you say. And if kindness is your main goal, it’s always easy.

Let’s think- how many times have we posted things on FB, “subtweeted,” and said things behind peoples’ backs that weren’t so kind?

Even if its something you’re sure the person will never see, why waste one second saying anything that has the potential to be misinterpreted, come out wrong, or potentially hurt someone’s feelings? It’s just not worth it. And it doesn’t make you look cool or elitist. It just makes you look shallow.

Have you seen Youtube comment threads lately?

Adding to that, I honestly miss the days before comment sections on the internet existed. When people could feel free to post an article, blog, youtube video, without any negativity blasted their way. Nowadays, I feel a lot of people, especially our teenagers and children are going to grow up in a world where any sort of unique opinion or individuality is shot down. That they won’t be able to realize that the people that say horrible things to them behind a keyboard are actually extremely unhappy with their own lives. 

Speaking of this issue, I ran across an amazingly inspiring woman named Lizzie Velasquez recently that dealt with that very thing. If you’re having a bad day right now and want to feel better, I guarantee watching the video below will brighten it. And it may just change your perspective on the world a little bit.

Let kindness define your every being. Let positivity radiate through you. Find ways to help, not hurt others. These are the things we should be teaching our youth and young women to focus on, not about what the number on the scale says. Not about what the latest trash reality TV housewife is doing.

Because you don’t have to be skinny, rich, conventionally beautiful, have the “perfect” body, or any of those things to be a kind, compassionate person who can make an impact on the world.


[image source]

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  • Reply sdorsay (itrainthereforeieat) January 9, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    This is great! And I think you are absolutely right — kindness is key in real life as well as on social media! It’s easy to forget that the internet = forever, and whatever you put online can be seen by anyone around the world. Take Justine Sacco, who you mentioned, that poor woman who made a terrible decision to tweet that horrible line to her 200 something followers — and within the hour she had the whole world after her. Anyway, I’ll definitely be watching that video!

    • Reply janinecdemichele January 9, 2014 at 9:06 pm

      Yes! I can’t imagine what that must be like. Awful. And please watch the video- it really was amazing! She has others, too. Definitely worth watching 🙂

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