Wednesday, 19 February 2020

In a world where you can be anything, be kind


A few weeks ago I started to write a post about women pitting themselves against each other purely based on their looks. I only wrote a couple of paragraphs and then I decided not to continue. This year I wanted to ensure that all the heavy feelings which I feel I get off my chest as soon as possible to stop it building up inside me. I can be hot headed and I am trying to be less reactive and let myself thoroughly think about my actions, so I have no regrets. I think this an approach we need to undertake as an online community. If you have any source of social media, you have to be responsible for what you write. When I first got Twitter, Facebook and Instagram way over 10 years ago now, the internet was a very different place. From my perspective, it was a more positive place; however there was a lot less responsibility in what we wrote. In that aspect I think we have moved forward. Where we haven't made any progress is the nastiness that people choose to write online.

In the light of Caroline Flack's death it has taken a bigger toll on me than I ever expected. I was on a galentines night out with my work friends when we all woke up to the news. We were literally all floored and in these short few days later I am struggling to process just exactly how she must have been feeling. I just cannot fathom how we can allow this to happen time and time again. You don't have to have liked or even known Caroline to accept that some kind of change has to happen and fast. It will be a few weeks of sorrow and tributes and then the media will be finding someone else to circle on a daily basis stopping someone from being able to leave their own front doors.

We now live in a society of cancel culture, and I feel as though it has become such a toxic place to be involved with. When I first started blogging back in 2013, the internet was such a different place as to where we are now. I can't remember everyday seeing on my timeline, someone slagging another person off not even a celebrity but a standard Joe Blogs who has said something slightly controversial. People tend to jump on the bandwagon and set fuel to the fire and within an hour a whole hate campaign can be started against someone, this usually stems from a tabloid story which has provided a completely biased and unjustified point of view. I used to buy gossip magazines and then one day I thought as a forward-thinking female why would I ever want to be involved and be contributing to a culture of picking at another woman's flaws and putting them in the worst dressed category. These small changes and distancing yourself from this type of source can be really refreshing for your thoughts. I recently realised that I had been following lots of people on Twitter who consistently have something to say about any bit of gossip that might arise. It has been noticed and talked about quite frequently about how toxic the blogging community has become, and this is what saddens me the most. I started blogging to meet friends, and be involved in discussions about things with people who shared similar interests. It's very much okay to unfollow anyone who you feel may be spreading consistent hate or is ultimately having an effect on your mental health.

This for me all stems down to just being a little bit kinder. In my every day job role I see on a daily basis the effects of online bullying and the harrowing realities of teenagers attempting and committing suicide as they have no way of coping. When I started high school nearly 15 years ago now, social media was just emerging and I feel that within my social group it was used as a way to interact with my friends. However, apps didn't exist and you couldn't just get on it with a click as we do now. We had top ups on our phones and to use the internet it cost, it provided you with a break away from the online world. Now, this doesn't happen. We don't give ourselves breaks from social media, and we have all fallen down a rabbit hole. The rise of memes in the Twitter world has taken online bullying to another level. I am not acting innocent in any way saying I haven't had a private little giggle on the group text with my best friends about something relatable. Imagine though everyday constantly being tagged in something negative about yourself and having to block users consistently, it must become draining. When you are in the limelight there is to a degree as expectation that you are going to be featured in the media, but I really don't think I would have the strength to constantly battle the negativity which is found daily online.

I was thinking in depth as to what I could do to contribute to this change which is so necessary within society. I can't imagine how it must feel to spend your day being a keyboard warrior or consistently trolling someone. We need a forward movement in spreading a little more kindness, as things have to change we can't allow ourselves to continue like this. I feel helpless to some degree as to what I can do to help. Deep down I take pride in knowing that I do not spend my days spreading hate. On Instagram, I wrote a post about how lucky I feel to be surrounded by a group of girls who cheerlead me on in all I do and how grateful I am. I often show my appreciation to these girls as they have helped me through a lot. Imagine having no one to talk to, and all you read everyday is how people want you to die. No matter how strong you are, this will start to chip away at you and there is no doubt that your thoughts and feelings will start to alter. I am a very sensitive person and I myself have experienced people publicly staring and pointing at me due to my looks. I don't know when or where my strong-minded resilience to block out these people came from, but boy am I glad it did. I literally do not let anyone's negative thoughts or words to process in my brain. I literally let it in one ear, and straight out the other. There is no doubts this took time, but I normally just tell myself what sad lives they must lead, and I am sure they are fighting some demons of their own.

I am just so sad that it has taken yet another person's death for us to think about the absolute need for change. We choose how we use our social media platforms and we choose whether we choose to be kind or not. We are presented with these life choices and we choose whether to spread hate or comment on a trolling feed, or whether we share someone's achievement and champion on a campaign for change for women. This the opportunity for us all to make some changes if we need to, if you have said things in the past which you regret look forward with a new perspective and strive to change. We all make wrong choices at some point, but its ensuring we don't make those choices again is where the progress happens.

In a world where you can be anything, be kind. This quote has resonated with me and had been swirling around my brain. I have been thinking about my impact on how the words I say can affect others. I think this is where we need to place the emphasis on the impact of our actions. I promise being kind and sharing a bit of love can make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. We can use our kindness to help those who need it most, who may need a glimmer of hope in their lives. We have a choice about what choose to share and do online and let's all choose to be kind. Get rid of negativity from your timeline, and spread some positivity.

If you are struggling or going through a hard time, or you know so someone who is, I know it's so easy for everyone say to just reach out. I really think that is somewhere you can start so I will leave a few numbers and websites of charities who you may feel can help you.

Mind - 03001233393 / https://www.mind.org.uk/
Samaritans - 116123 / https://www.samaritans.org/

Lucy
xoxo




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