As the world grows angrier and angrier, and people fight over the smallest of things, this is a reminder that we all need. We don't know what anyone is going through, and it doesn't take an effort to simply be kind.
We live in a world where hate seems to be the norm. People say they hate other people, whether it's celebrities, neighbors, or politicians. It's not unusual to see post after post on social media that details how much a person hates something or someone. And the more I see it, the more I wonder why the focus is on the hate. That's why this quote stands out to me.
Instead of saying "I hate someone," why not direct your energy towards love? Instead of dwelling on that part of a person you don't like, is it possible to find something that you do? If not, wouldn't it be more beneficial to shift your focus to the positive?
How much better would we be as a nation if we eliminated the word "hate" from our vocabulary? Oftentimes, we use it to explain our feelings for someone or something we disagree with when we don't actually hate. When you say you hate, you're saying you're repelled by, you're revolted by, you regard the object of your hate with disgust, and you shudder at, or recoil from that person or thing. Is that the type of emotion we should allow to consume us so much that it's all we talk about?
An article in Everyday Health illuminates the destructive power of hate. saying "the more you feed it, the stronger it becomes." Hate has the power to take over your life, to become the main focus of your existence. I know because I've seen it. I've watched it destroy lives which is why I don't talk about the things I hate. (I'm not saying I've never done it before, but it's a habit I've made an effort to break.) I talk about the things I love, the people I love, and the places I love. I may not like something someone does, but do I hate them? No. Because I refuse to allow someone's actions , beliefs, or personality to control my emotions.
And when you think about it, we only know a part of the celebrity or politician we see that we claim to hate. That person might have beliefs that don't align with yours, but does that make them deserving of your hate? They could be a wonderful father, brother, sister, or mother. They could donate their time or money to charities you know nothing about. They could honestly want what's best for this world. We don't know their hearts, and we can't step inside their minds. So what's wrong with giving people the benefit of the doubt? (I'm not talking about truly evil people that only seek to destroy lives like serial killers and the like.) And if that's not possible, wouldn't it be better to spend less time talking about how much you hate them and more time focusing on the things and people you love?
I spend a lot of time on social media, and throughout the past week, I've noticed a very disturbing trend—people telling people to go kill themselves. I've seen it before, but it was every now and again, which still doesn't make it acceptable, but this week, it's been on several different social media sites repeatedly. What is wrong with people that makes them think saying something like this is okay? Why on earth would someone instruct another human being to kill themselves? It doesn't matter if you don't like a person's political leaning, their religion, sexual orientation, or skin color, it is NEVER okay to tell someone to end their own lives.
You don't know what that person is going through, if they're suffering from depression, if they just lost a loved one, a job, or their home. Telling them to kill themselves might be the catalyst to push them over their edge. If you're thinking no one should give anyone that much power over them, it's not a matter of power. In a moment of despair, a person can think the world might be better off without them or they just want the pain to end.
Unfortunately, I've been up close and personal with the aftereffects of suicide, and it is devastating to the family and friends left behind. You might not think your words should or will affect someone, but wouldn't it be better to just not say them?
Growing up, I don't remember a time ever hearing people telling one another to go kill themselves. Maybe it was because we didn't have the anonymity of the internet and computer screens to hide behind. What we said, we usually said to one another's face or over the phone, and we knew the chances of having to see that person again were fairly high. With the internet, someone can blast out a comment and leave the site without looking back, never knowing how their words might change another person's life.
Is it really so difficult to treat people with dignity and respect? Because I have to say, I don't go through my everyday life looking to hurt people. It's not hard for me to be nice to people because I don't know what kind of day they are having or how they might be hurting.
In the words of Thumper:
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