Normally on my way to work I try to listen to a podcast or an audiobook to try and start the day by learning something new. This morning I was listening to radio, which is unusual as I normally try and avoid the news as it’s never good. The main topic of discussion was the forthcoming General Election. One of the points that was being made was about the number of MPs that are not standing for re-election due to the abuse that they are now receiving. There have also been an increasing number of racist incidents at football matches, including the recent England game in Bulgaria, and players being abused and threatened through social media. Society seems to be moving backwards rather than forwards.
It seems to me that the one thing the world needs more of in these turbulent times is kindness. The country is divided, people are divided, and racism and hatred seem to be rearing their ugly heads. Whilst I don’t think that social media is to blame for all that is wrong in the world and can be used in a positive way, there is the perception from some that they can say whatever they want from behind their tablet and that it doesn’t have any consequences. This couldn’t be further from the truth and I’m sure that they would view it differently if they were on the other end of the abuse.
There was a recent incident with Gareth Thomas, the former Welsh rugby player, where the tabloid press should have considered the consequences before acting. They printed a story revealing that Thomas had HIV before Thomas had been able to break the news to his parents and family. As you can imagine this caused a great deal of heartache and pain for those concerned but the press tried to justify their actions rather than admitting they might have got it wrong. Whether or not you think the story is in the public interest it seems hard to justify why you would disregard the feelings of others just to sell a few more newspapers. The lack of thought for others seems to be becoming more prevalent and is one of the things that seems to be causing some of the current divides as discussion and compromise seem to be put to one side.
We are not born to hate other people, that is learnt. Babies and small children treat everyone the same as they haven’t been conditioned to negatively react to people’s differences. When you make judgement on someone else, you have no idea what they are going through, how they are feeling or how they will react. No matter how well we currently behave we can all try to be more kind to others. You have no idea what someone else is going through, they could be dealing with a family problem, they could have lost a loved one, they could be dealing with a health issue or they might have a mental illness.
You wouldn’t be able to tell from just looking at someone so try not to judge people based on what you can see. There is so much more to people than what is projected outwardly. It is the inside where the pain is often held and in the case of mental illness, it is much easier to put on a front and say everything is ok than trying to explain the things that are going on in your head. As someone who battles with his mental health, there are days when things people say affect me far more than they should or would on another day. From the outside, no one would know what was going through my head, whether I was up or down, self-conscious, self-confident, happy or depressed.
We are going through a turbulent period and given the pending election it isn’t a great leap to see things getting even more fractious over the next few months, especially on social media as the battle lines are drawn between the different sides. We need to look after each other and look after ourselves. Kindness needs to start with looking after yourself as you can’t pour from an empty cup. This is the most important kindness that you can show. It isn’t selfish to look after yourself or to put your needs first as if you don’t you might not be healthy enough to be able to help anyone else.
Please try to be more kind to everyone you come across. We all need to show more understanding, whether we agree with other people’s opinions or not and stop spreading the hate that is tearing a hole in society. We all have our own problems to deal with so why would you want to add to someone else’s problems?
Let’s all make the world a better place. If we all make one person feel better, then we can start a ripple of kindness and the effects will soon spread. It doesn’t cost anything to be kind to someone and can make all the difference to them. A kind word can make someone’s day, a smile can make someone smile back and a selfless act can change the world.
Who’s with me? Let’s change the world for the better
Higher, further, faster, kinder