In your lifetime you’ve probably been told to “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” This lesson is a good one but unfortunately not everyone uses it in their everyday life. The problem with us as humans is that we don’t know how to be kind. We all assume you have to constantly be ready to help anyone at the drop of a hat or follow people around asking if they need anything. These are acts of kindness but not necessarily the definition of kindness. We can and should help others as much as possible but we need to look within ourselves and ask “How do I, as an individual act in order to be a “Kind person.” or “What does it mean to be kind?”
This year I met someone at my summer job who has completely altered the way I look at life and how I treat people. The kindness he puts out into the world is absolutely mind blowing. You may not think meeting a nice person is something to be mind blown by, but I think the opposite. Genuine kindness can be hard to come across these days and I was absolutely floored after getting to know this person. What makes this individual so different from everyone else? Well, his acts are something that take a conscious effort 1.He will never make fun of anyone regardless of how much others do. This is a characteristic I didn’t possess for a very long time and struggle with to this day. The ability to push back against what seems like the most common opinion about someone. Not only to push back but to defend and rationalize discussion about any person or situation. 2 He never condones or follows any acts of bullying or aggression towards others. This takes a strong and confident individual. Standing up for what you believe in is hard enough on its own, but acting quickly and effectively to prevent a toxic situation from becoming worse is even harder. 3.He says a genuine “Hi” or “Hello” to everyone he passes. This may seem silly or unimportant but hearing a genuine greeting from someone you know and care about can make all the difference in your day. It costs nothing to have a genuine interaction with another human being, so why don’t we do it more often? Most importantly, he is an outwardly kind person to everyone he meets. This is important to me because it makes me feel like its okay to be who I am in front of this person. I don’t have to put on an act or bash someone to get laughs because thats not what they’re looking for. These types of people are looking for genuine conversation and interaction. Not the small talk and the gossip that small minds blow out of proportion. Now, It’s important to recognize and take after people like this because not only are these people hard to find but they are the most amazing people to be around. Getting to the point… We all need to be people like this! We should all learn to be outwardly kind and use our voices to uplift others instead of bringing them down. Give people the feeling of comfort when they talk to you! Stand up for yourself and others when people are being shallow or closed minded! Be someone that you’d like to meet. For myself, I met someone who is incredibly special and gives nothing but positive energy and kind words to everyone he meets. I now use this person as motivation and inspiration to stand up to acts of bullying and aggression, say a genuine “Hello” to everyone I walk by and even just have a more genuine, caring and positive interaction with someone. Overall just be kind to everyone because you owe that to yourself and to the world. Once we all find our “kind person” to be inspired by, we can take action to make ourselves more of a ‘kind person’ and maybe one day become that person for someone else.
“Stories are necessary, but they’re not as magical as they seem, says writer Sisonke Msimang. In this funny and thoughtful talk, Msimang questions our emphasis on storytelling and spotlights the decline of facts. During a critical time when listening has been confused for action, Msimang asks us to switch off our phones, step away from our screens and step out into the real world to create a plan for justice.” -quote from TED talk discription
Having anxiety, depression, low self esteem, any mental illness or even if you’re just having a tough time can make it extremely hard to see the light in the future or even the light in that day. Here are some tips and strategies you can take to actively beat your worst days and relax your mind for even just a short period of time. Life can be extremely stressful and we all need to take a step back sometimes!:)
Ending it all is not an option. We all have days, weeks, months and even years where we feel at our worst and we don’t feel like we are accomplishing anything. Some of us feel as though the only resort is to end it all but my biggest piece of advice I can give is to think “Ending my life is not an option.” Wether you believe it, agree with it, think its valid or not, live by those words. Because although it can be extremely hard to see, there is light beyond what your feeling and life beyond what struggles you’re facing and you need to tell yourself that suicide is not the answer no matter how easy or good of an option it may seem like.
Write and walk! Get yourself a pen and paper or a journal and just write for a while! You can write about why you’re feeling the way you are or even relive a really good day that you had and why you are grateful for that day. Write about whatever your mind wants to let out. If you choose to write about why you’re feeling sad or what triggered you on that specific day, after writing it out, throw it in the garbage then go for a nice walk! Walk around, listen to some music or even just listen to the sound of the world and just take some time to yourself. Sometimes in stressful situations we forget to stop and breathe for a minute which will cause a lot more stress. It’s always a good idea to get some fresh air.
Netflix and chill? Sounds great! No, not the Netflix and chill you’re thinking of! Sometimes you just need to chill out and watch your favourite TV show or old movie. I personally like to have a hot bath (add a nice bath bomb or bubble bath!) and set up my computer in the bathroom and relax while watching some old Disney shows (those always bring up my mood!) Or a favourite childhood movie. This should take your mind off whatever’s going on around you and give you some time to just relax and lay low for a while.
Do some art therapy! A lot of people find drawing, painting or even just colouring extremely therapeutic. If you already have art supplies, Great! But if not, you can find colouring books and pencil crayons for under 5 dollars at a local dollar store. Draw anything you want, quote paintings, dogs, a skyline, anything your heart desires. This will give you something to put all your focus into. Having your mind very focussed on your art will relieve your brain for a while from all of its stress.
Talk to a trusted friend. Sometimes on our worst days we don’t feel like talking to anyone but isolating yourself for a long period of time can become extremely counterproductive. Meet up with a friend or family member (or even just give them a phone call) and tell them how you’re feeling! They may not be able to help you directly, but talking about how you feel will feel a lot better than keeping it all to yourself.
Take a really deep breath. Sometimes what you really need is a big deep breath! When something is making you sad or stressed out it’s extremely easy to work yourself up and bring more and more stress upon yourself by thinking of every little thing that’s wrong in your life. But do yourself a favour and just take a few deep breaths and try to make your body and mind relax. It’s a lot more effective than you think!
Disclaimer: There are just a few personal tips that I find helpful on some of my harder days. In no way am I saying these tips/strategies are a cure for mental illness. These are just a few strategies you can use in the moment to calm yourself down in a stressful situation or time. If you are or think you might be suffering from mental illness, there are endless methods of help out there for you. Like I said before, these are strategies for relieving current stress, although some people might be helped long term by these, not everyone will. Seeking professional help is crucial to recovery and know that you are not alone!
Thank you for reading!
Don’t forget to smile today!!
Having a good and healthy self esteem is crucial for living a happy life! Here are some articles and videos that I think are worth looking at if you’re looking to build on or improve your self esteem!
I first discovered the get real movement when we watched a video in class called “To my Grade 7 Self.” This video featured members of the get real team sharing advice with their younger self. This video had a big impact on me because it showed me that being mean to others to be accepted is something you will always regret. As a child I thought it was important to do anything an everything to be accepted, even if that meant being mean to others and not being myself. Through watching this video I realized that I needed to change and be the kind, generous and tolerant person that I was before I was overcome by social pressure. Later on that same year The Get REAL Movement did a presentation at my school for all of the students. Right off the bat i found them so relatable and easy to listen to. They told real stories about experiences they’ve gone through and how it shaped them into who they are today. Throughout my school years the team did a presentation for us every pink day and every year I became more and more of a fan of what they stand for and who they are as people. Standing up against bullying has such a positive contribution to society and I truly believe that the TDSB, Canada and the world have changed because of the efforts and actions of The Get Real Team. Check out their website and youtube videos for more info!