The Lost Art of Kindness
An Open Letter to all the Human Beings Out There. No specific age, no specific gender, no specific race, no specific sexual orientation, no specific religion, no specific socioeconomic status. No, just…humans. There’s an epidemic in our culture these days and it is really disheartening.
Most of it is unwarranted and unprovoked. Most of it hides behind a cloak of anonymity in the social networking universe which has engulfed our generation. Some humans are hurt repeatedly for years without even being able to recognize their attacker if they passed them on the street. I am not talking about a specific hate crime here. I am talking about a crime we are all both subjected to and part of at the same time. I am talking about human-on-human crime. As a race, we humans have this uncanny ability to be mean. Plain and simple…meanness is our epidemic, and people are suffering every day.
Human-on-human crime has not been swept under the rug. Certain pains have been categorized with others and activist groups have been formed in hopes to bring to light the damage and emotional pain being committed by humans, to humans. The most recent organization to come to my attention is The Kind Campaign, which is an internationally recognized movement, documentary and school program based upon the powerful belief in kindness that brings awareness and healing to the negative and lasting effects of girl-against-girl crime. The Kind Campaign, along with other organizations, have made major strides to shed light on how bad things have truly gotten behind the keys of a message board as well as on the streets and in the classrooms across America.
In my opinion, at the bottom of all of these crimes, regardless of their different wrapping, is this: humans can be superiorly mean. Humans can be downright cruel. For years my mother would try to make me feel better and tell me the girls who tormented me in middle school were “jealous” and “insecure” and that was why they victimized me in the lunch room. I love my mother, but she was wrong. Sometimes this meanness has nothing to do with their insecurities or lives…sometimes, people are just mean. Much like coldblooded murder, there can very well be coldblooded meanness. Unprovoked, unwarranted meanness.
Now, when I attended middle and high school, things were different. There was no real anonymity. I knew which girls wanted to see me cry. I sat next to them in class. They would sign their names, first and last, on their mean notes to me in-between periods. These days it’s different. Like most diseases, human-on-human crime over time has become stronger and has mutated into something we know exists, but are still not sure how to fight successfully.
It’s scary nowadays. This world of anonymity has brought with it no sense of accountability for words being said. So, in turn, the words get sharper and more pointed, and they pierce the victim deeper.
There are some people who would rather die at the age of 13 than live their life. How sad is that? They want to die before they even have really begun to live. This is how mean humans have become. Kids with bedtimes and babysitters are having real suicidal thoughts when this is supposed to be the most carefree time of their lives. Instead of their parents seeing them grow up into young adults, some are cutting their children down from the rope they find their child hanging from in their bedroom closet.
Regardless of the target group, human-on-human crime in general needs to stop. It is causing irrevocable destruction to lives and mental well-beings. And for what? What pleasure do we get out of hurting another person? I am no saint. I have been a victim, yes, but I have been on the other side of the hurtful whisper as well – I have hurt people I simply can’t live without- but I have done more good than bad in this life, and I make an honest effort to try to do good every day.
My middle school days are far behind me. I have wonderful friends and a ridiculously close family. However, just recently, I have once again become a target of someone’s unwarranted meanness. Unlike most attacks these days, I know who my attacker is. I once considered him a good friend.
I turned 27 this year and I found myself in a really bad space. While everyone around me wanted to celebrate my life on my birthday, I found myself, for the first time ever, wondering if the world would be a better place without me. I find myself coming across his internet bashings and wondering why I am still dealing with this as I am closing-in on my 30’s. I find myself wondering if the world would be a better place without the humans who purposely do harm to other humans. The answer is no, the world would not be a better place without these people. It would be a better place, though, if those people were a little bit nicer.
On average, as a species, we get a measly 79 years on this planet. If we are lucky. Do you realize how short that is in the scheme of things? And though our time here is limited, we have the ability to inflict pain and damage. Wouldn’t you want to “inflict” empowerment instead?
Battling human-on-human crime with kindness is an uphill battle. We may be just as far in as we will ever be out. I am sure that even as I am writing this there are people still being hurt by words, people crying themselves to sleep, people hating on this letter. I believe that as much as we are the problem, we can also be the solution. Meanness is an epidemic and it is unraveling the chances of us living a supremely fulfilled life.
I ask that you share this open letter if you are going to make a conscious effort each day to be a little bit nicer. Share this open letter if you will make an honest effort to do something as simple as just “shaking it off” when the barista in the morning messes up your morning coffee. Share this open letter if instead of using the internet to hurt someone, you will use it to empower people and share the beautiful things in your life.
Life is short – spend your time here wisely. And just be nice to people.