If You Can’t Be Nice, Be Kind

Social media has done something to people. Yes, it’s connected us and made it possible for families, thousands of miles apart easier for them to stay connected. It has birthed the ability for strangers to help strangers across the globe. It has made things that used to seem insurmountable, possible with the click of a button.

Social media has also made the hurting able to spread their hurt to others. It has provided a megaphone for people that have hateful ideas, and it has given easy access to people that were otherwise fairly well protected. People feel like they personally know their favorite celebrities, producers and writers.

I sometimes go to the place of no return. The comment section, of literally anything on the internet and see things I would’ve never seen 10 years ago. People giving unsolicited advice to people they don’t know because they dared to do something they enjoyed. People hurting other people for the sake of hurting people that they don’t know. People getting upset that something written or shared doesn’t fit their life circumstances exactly.

The last two are probably the most hurtful and harmful. It’s easy to think that people that are on the other end of the keyboard are just mean people. If you’re on the one leaving mean comments, I assume it’s easy to think the people reading it aren’t real people or they’ll know you’re “just joking.”

Here’s the thing, people don’t know. People don’t know what is in the other person’s head when they’re typing out something hateful. People don’t know what’s in the person’s head that is reading the hateful message. I have noticed so many terrible things said on writers’ articles and posts. It’s sad to me because we writers are typically very sensitive people. This is why many of us can write and relate to many. We write so our words can reach someone and help them through a tough time. We write so people know they aren’t alone.

Writers also get a lot of crap because our post or article doesn’t fit everyone. “well you wrote about dads, what about moms?” or “you said teen years were hard, what about the toddler years?” One thing I’ve learned over the years is everything isn’t for everyone. Like jock straps. I’m a woman, I don’t need a jock strap. Does that mean that the maker was purposely excluding me? No. It means they saw a need specifically for men and they created a product to address the need.

Let’s try to remember when we are reading other people’s words, or when we are viewing something, or listening to something that doesn’t fit what we are specifically going through, does not mean that the person is purposely excluding people like you. We are all doing our very best to get through the thing called life, so if you can’t be nice, be kind.

Sometimes kindness is choosing not to say anything at all. Sometimes kindness is pointing out something you did agree with or liked about something. Sometimes kindness is simply giving yourself some time to reflect before commenting or speaking. Sometimes kindness is just walking away.

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