Be Kind

Be Kind

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I've never understood why it is that some people choose to hurt others. As a child, one of my closest friends was relentlessly bullied. Years later, she is still  broken. I often wonder what became of her tormentors. Are they remorseful? Are they aware of the lasting impact they've had?  Or do they enjoy knowing that she still carries the pain of her childhood with her?

One day my daughter will come home from school, tears in her eyes; broken. I wish I would be able to truthfully tell her that it gets better. I can't. Once upon a time I believed in the decency and kindness of people. I still do, only now it's been marred by the reality that some people choose to hurt others just because they can.

A lifetime of experiences and a recent revelation by Forbes have taught me that one simple fact--because they can.  Because they can do it without fear of repercussion. Because they can do it without a conscience. Because this is what our society has become. A mean girl, hiding behind her keyboard, causing others misery because she can.

So no, I do not believe that Get Off My Internets should have been included on Forbes' list of best websites for women. In fact, it troubles me greatly that it was. What does this say about us as women if a site created for the sole purpose of tearing down other women is considered enlightening and inspiring?

I understand freedom of speech as well as anyone. What I don't understand is actively seeking someone out to cause them misery.  Somewhere along the way our definition of freedom has become so convoluted and distorted that we truly believe we can behave any way we choose without fear of consequences.

The true irony is that if half of the people who "participate" in this site applied just a shred of their dedication to doing something positive or constructive the world would be just a little bit more beautiful. It only takes one. One single person to change a life or leave an impact. In the end, we are the one's who decide whether that impact is positive or negative.

Stop tearing others down and be the one who makes a difference.

Because I know soon or later someone will choose to end their life as a result of this. And I pray in my heart that those involved will be able to live with themselves.

Plato said if far more eloquently than I ever could, "be kind, for everyone you know is fighting a hard battle."


12 comments :

  1. Beautifully written Reese! I have to confess I wasn't always the nicest kid growing up, I was sometimes mean just because I thought I was untouchable and could be. I was also fighting my own demons growing up. After finding true peace and a sense of purpose. Really once I got through and over my own mountains did I take a step back and even though years later, I think about the way I must have made some people feel. It still sometimes bothers me. I am and have always been a very blunt person. Except now or since adulthood I use it to only lift people up help them see there is a light in any darkness we face. While yes sometimes what I say you may not want to hear but it will always be the truth and come from love never from hate or wanting to tear into someone. Thank you for sharing Reese.~ Leah~

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    1. Thanks Leah!

      As children we don't necessarily have the strongest moral compass. It says a lot that as an adult you regret how you behaved in your more youthful days. That sense of regret and determination to be a more positive person as an adult is exactly why you are a good person. We should learn from our mistakes, not continue to make the same one's because we are in the position to do so.

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment!

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  2. This is really disheartening. You wrote this so well. Yes, it is shameful that they cAN get away with this, and are even rewarded for it. It's really amazing to me, that after this entire last year of anti-bullying campaigns and the attention that all of that has gotten, an organization such as Forbes would actually REWARD a site for being just that - a bully. The story about the mother who was accused of faking the story about her son's death really hit close to my heart. I cannot even imagine if a group attacked me and told me that I was lying about my daughter's death.
    I don't get it either. Why mean people are so mean. How different this world would be if we could just be nice. And mind our own damn business.

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    1. Hi Kat,

      First, let me express my condolences on the loss of your daughter Kathryn. I read her story a while back and was completely shaken to my core. You are so absolutely amazing for having had the strength to continue on.

      I very much agree with you that it's extremely disheartening that Forbes is essentially rewarding a site that takes pleasure in another's pain. As a child I remember how everyone spoke of the solidarity amongst women, that we were banning together to fight "the man," but lately all I see is petty foolishness. How do we expect anyone to take us seriously if we're to busy pulling on each others hair to make any progress?

      This whole situation is just so incredibly sad.

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  3. It's very sad that so many people simply choose to not be kind. And I feel that the "anonymity" provided by the internet makes a lot more people who probably wouldn't be brave enough to bully people face to face feel confident of being able to be mean without ever getting in trouble for it. Not good.

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    1. Very true Rachel. People know they can get away with "trash talking" online because no one will ever find out who they are. It's actually a bit hypocritical if you think about it. These bloggers are brave enough to bare their souls online and yet these anonymous commenters aren't even brave enough to reveal who they are. How sad...

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  4. This is so beautifully written. Unfortunately, I'm afraid the internet is only making this problem worse. As a teacher, I try to instil these truths in my students. I can only pray that my little "lectures" make a difference in their lives.

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    1. Thank you, I agree that the internet has made things worse. It's almost as if it's slowly desensitizing us. I can imagine you see a dark side as well being a teacher. Hats off to you for even taking the time to attempt to lecture your kids. Even if your lecture affects one child's life I'd say it's well worth it.

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  5. Very well said. I haven't seen this site but I've seen enough to agree with you: "This whole situation is just so incredibly sad." It really does take only one person to make a difference, start a change, cause someone to think before they act.

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    1. Thank you Stephanie. You're better off not visiting the site. It's just sad.

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  6. People definitely hide behind that Freedom of Speech amendment too much. But it stops being freedom of speech when you start infringing on someone else's happiness and well-being. I'm tired of seeing people tear other people down too. It's getting out of control and ridiculous. We see it on these reality shows, at schools, church... It's like no place is sacred or free from bullies and rudeness.

    I'm praying so hard for our generation and the future generations to come because they are going to have to deal with so much more evils and negatives that we didn't have to worry too much about growing up and that our parents probably didn't even know existed. Our world needs help and it seems half of us are too busy to care or help change it.

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    1. Exactly! I've talked to my parents about their experiences growing up, and of course they had their own troubles. They would have to run home from school some days because there were race riots; it was a dangerous time. However, they even said they would never want to have to go through what this generation is going through. It's just sicking how terrible people can be to one another.

      My biggest goal in life is to instill the importance of being kind in my daughter. I want her to have an understanding of basic common decency. So many of these kids today are lacking that. Just the other day I saw a child cussing out his mother in Target. He was only about 10 years old. Scary...

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