In a world where you can be anything, be kind - Zara Bejmyr
I used to be a mindless surfer of the internet and social media. I am less so now, and sometimes I go weeks without opening Instagram or my Quora notifications. That said, today, I am sharing something that came to mind while browsing through Instagram. I am sharing it because it touches on kindness, and since September, SA’s book Random Acts of Kindness has been a manual for me.
Kindness has become so uncommon, and yet as a candle suddenly lit in darkness, a simple word or act of kindness can make a huge difference.
On a popular blog on Instagram, I saw a post of a young girl in tears. While I know she is of course an adult, she looked like a scared teenager. She was crying profusely, and as she spoke her voice was broken up. She had recently relocated to Canada and was having a very depressing experience from the shock of loneliness and change. I felt deeply for her, even as I wondered in my head ‘How are some people so convinced that those who care the most are on social media?’
You know how they say the comment section is where it is happening? I think so too, and I was curious to see just how many viewers cared for this sad lady. Nothing was surprising there, as comments like ‘Take your bags and go to the damn airport’, ‘How can you record yourself crying?’, ‘Take some weed and feel alright’, ‘This one is on her period’, ‘Get a man, everything will change’, ‘Abroad systems are not built for introverts’, and ‘Please let us switch places’ littered the place.
Then I saw this ‘Where in Canada are you?’ and then this ‘Can someone tag her here please?’, and tears welled up in my eyes.
We all have standpoints, lenses through which we view the world, and that is why the more educated I get the less likely it is that I will insist that someone is wrong in how they think. Those comments reflect the background and realities of the writers. Some of us are no better, we judge, but unlike the bolder people, we keep our disapproving thoughts to ourselves (I fall in this category sometimes, thankfully, not most times), driven by the saying ‘if I have nothing good to say, then I will say nothing’. It is a fine mantra, and some would even call this silence kindness in a sense.
But, you see those who can regardless of what they think about a person or situation, take initiative or make the choice to try and do something to help or produce a change, they are the real Gs. Folakemi is more and more like this every day, by choosing and by the grace of God. I implore you to be too.
God forbid that this person here gets on the news tomorrow for having committed suicide. Alas! The comments will be different. It is only then that many will realize that mental resilience differs greatly from one person to another, and even though you may never be pushed to record yourself crying, someone else easily will.
Some people can never be pushed to vent about their marriages, work, friends, in-laws, or local church on social media; it does not mean there is something wrong with those who do. Sure, the cons are obvious and more for the latter, but do not judge people as though everyone was you.
Let people breathe, and you practice kindness.
I recently helped bring about change in a matter that I was unaffected by. I could have just kept quiet, and not drawn unnecessary attention, but I chose to speak up. Immediately after speaking ‘worry’ coursed through my veins as cold water washes down a dehydrated throat. Who sent me? Then I saw my phone beep, a text from one of those affected – ‘Thank you for saying it, love.’ She had not even been one of those on my mind when I chose to speak up. One week later, we got the news that the change would be effected. The word for how I felt, I have still not found.
Be kind with your words and actions. Be kind within your family and without. Be kind to those who share your faith and opinions, and to those who do not. Be kind to children and to the old. Be kind to strangers, and they are mostly not angels from God. The best acts of kindness are the ones where the receivers cannot pay you back.
For more reflection on kindness please click here to read and download the book by SA – Random Acts of Kindness, for free. If you would like to pay for it, we will consider it as donations which will be used to execute a kindness project. You can send an email to email@example.com
You are also invited to join us at the book launch, to be held on World Kindness Day – Monday, November 13, both onsite in Uppsala-Sweden and virtually. A Kindness Run by the Abuja Run Club on Saturday, November 11. You can check them out on Instagram, do a run at your location the same day, and share your pictures.