Today started off as a normal Sunday for me.
I woke up, read my devotional, retrieved email, and checked social media. I was scrolling through my feed, glossing over most of what I saw until I noticed one particular post.
A singer that I like shared mean comments people made about her weight after a concert she’d just played. They even went so far as to include pictures to reiterate what they were talking about.
I cringed internally, debating whether or not I should share her post with my take on it. After a few minutes, I wrote a brief quip and posted it to my timeline. I told her I didn’t understand why people decided to say something mean, that I like what she’s doing in the music industry, and that I think she’s beautiful exactly as she is. Then I closed out of my social media accounts and continued on with my day.
But those mean comments stuck with me.
And I know that’s because I’ve been through similar things, albeit on a much smaller scale. I’ve had people say mean and unflattering things about my weight, my hair, and outfits I’ve worn and it’s made me feel bad, upset, and even angry. Worst of all, it’s made me feel insecure at times, too.
As a young woman, body confidence can be tough. Some days, I wake up and I feel great–my hair looks good, my skin is clear, and I’m wearing an outfit I really love. Others, I style and re-style my hair over and over, but it doesn’t look the way I want it to; or my face is breaking out and I’m focusing on all the zits and redness I see; or I put on an outfit from my closet and it’s too big here or too tight there, and I don’t feel great at all. And I don’t want to go outside and face the world.
Especially when the world wants to be mean. I honestly don’t understand why some people feel the need to make mean comments that they know will hurt someone else, whether that’s face to face or from behind a screen. We’re all human. We all struggle with confidence and certain insecurities. We all have days where these things might not bother us as much and days where they’re all we can think about. We all have feelings.
And if we know that there’s a particular insecurity we struggle with–like weight, for example–then why would we look at someone else and criticize them or pick them apart? Why would we say or do something that we know might ruin someone else’s day?
I’m not sure if you can answer this question either, reader, but here’s something I am sure of: a little kindness never hurts. Treating other people with respect is cool. Being nice–genuinely nice–is vastly underrated. And being mindful of other people’s feelings? That’s super important.
If you know saying it will hurt someone–because you’ve been there and you know how it feels–then don’t say it. If you don’t think your parents or friends would be proud of you for doing it–then don’t do it. The world is mean and dark enough. Let’s be the love and the light.
Let’s judge less and show more empathy. Let’s talk less and listen more. Let’s stop bullying and start cheering for one another. Let’s spread kindness, not rudeness.
Most of all, let’s think about the gravity of our words and actions.