We’ve all felt the urge to speak ill of others at one time or another. Sometimes we do it to feel better about ourselves. Sometimes we do it to fit in. Sometimes we do it out of frustration and anger. Sometimes we mean it and sometimes we don’t. But it’s still dangerous, for both ourselves and for others. It poisons the air with negativity that gets harder and harder to breathe. People won’t want to be around us and soon we won’t want to be around ourselves. It never does make us feel better, but makes others feel worse. It never does help us fit in, because what goes around comes around. Don’t kick someone down in efforts to give yourself a lift up. You’ll only find yourself further at the bottom somewhere else.
It’s said that our language was born out of our need to gossip. But why have we made it so normal? We tear people down instead of lifting them up. We judge people instead of accepting them. People become afraid to be themselves, become obsessed with reaching perfection, become ruthless towards anyone who poses a threat to their fragile sense of security. And sadly, the cycle continues. Let’s use our words kindly. Let’s give people a hand. Let’s accept everyone for who they are. Let’s celebrate our differences. Imagine what we could do by spreading love instead of hate. How much better the world would be – even yours.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be? I would change its heart. And we can. Keep an open mind. Give people benefit of the doubt. Be kind to people without expecting anything in return. Stand up for people without a voice. Listen to people who need it. Speak to people who are lonely. Love more. Hate less. That’s how we can save the world from being swallowed up in darkness.
To heal a wound, we have to stop touching it. To move on from the past, we have to stop reliving it. It will take time, willpower, forgiveness, courage and compassion. But it will get better, as long as we keep ourselves moving forwards and looking forwards. That’s the direction we should be heading.
If you were to give yourself advice, how different would it be to the advice you’d give a friend in a similar situation? We often tend to be harsher on ourselves, less forgiving and sympathetic, with higher expectations and levels of criticism. We don’t always give ourselves advice, but give ourselves lectures. But we deserve some compassion, love and understanding from ourselves. We’re not perfect. We make mistakes. And that’s ok. If we learn and grow, there’s no unwritten rule saying we should punish ourselves. We have to take care of ourselves. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
If you can lessen someone’s burden, you will make a difference. If you can listen to someone’s troubles, you will make a difference. If you can wipe away someone’s tears, you will make a difference. If you can forgive someone’s mistake, you will make a difference. If you can ease the pain of a broken heart, you will make a difference. No matter how small or simple, our actions are significant. If the world can breathe a little better because you lived, it can make all the difference – if not to the whole wide world, then at least someone’s whole world.
You deserve to be treated with kindness and compassion. You deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. You deserve to be told the truth. You deserve to be cared for and attended to, but you also deserve your freedom and independence. You deserve to be appreciated and loved. You deserve to be who you are. Don’t let others treat you differently. Everyone deserves a second chance, but those who manipulate you, abuse you, ignore you, judge you or try to change you are not worth your time, your care, your love or your tears. Don’t waste it on them, but give your gift of kindness to someone who reciprocates.
You’re a pretty powerful person. It might not always feel like it. But we have the power to change in our hands. We might not be able to change the whole world with acts of kindness, strength and persistence, but we can change the world for one person. Instead of stamping our mark on the whole world, let’s leave imprints on people’s hearts and minds. And those tiny threads that bind us together will ultimately change the world. You’re a pretty powerful person, so don’t underestimate it.
Every time you touch another soul, let them take a piece of you with them. Every time you wipe a tear, listen attentively, lend a hand, shout encouragement, thank politely, stand up for someone and so on, you establish, reinforce and restore the cycle of kindness. You can brighten up someone’s day. You can be that one good thing in someone’s otherwise horrible day. And that makes all the difference. Kindness is a currency we can abundantly share and never run out of, that we all possess and all can use. And someone else will pass it on. Don’t be afraid to give it away. One day someone will pass it back to you at a time when you need it most, because someone else didn’t let the cycle break.
Imagine your fear is a friend – a paranoid, anxious and fearful friend. How could you treat them? Would you feed the fear? Would you calm the fear? Would you ignore the fear? Sometimes it’s a combination of all kinds. But what they all have in common is compassion; we would want the best for our friend. And we should extend that same courtesy to ourselves. Sometimes we have to show ourselves a little compassion, accept that we’ve set ourselves certain limits and try to move past them. Fear is a friend we should be comfortable chatting with. Fear will always be with us, so why not treat it as a friend and let it travel this journey with you? Don’t fight it, confide in it. Don’t hate it, embrace it. Fear is a friend who’s misunderstood.