On The Little Things, CMHA & Being Nice....
Last week I was scrolling through Facebook and saw this article describing some pretty out of control backlash directed at Jillian Harris (who happens to be an absolute favourite of mine for keeping it real and being an inspiration as a blogger and business woman). I read this article and watched the video clips absolutely astonished. I mean, I know that she's no stranger to the online scrutiny that comes with a certain level of success but I couldn't get over how cruel and unnecessary these comments were.
I could write an entire post dedicated to that incident specifically but the main message I wanted to connect to is that none of us have a clue about how our words and actions, even the small ones, can affect someone else's life. These commenters attacked her, her mothering skills, her business and her character. And many of these comments were long winded and so insanely cruel. It would have taken quite a bit of time for someone to write those comments - that's a lot of time for someone to spend trying to attack someone else that they don't even know. The whole ordeal only further reinforced my beliefs that some people are far too comfortable with staying anonymously cruel on the internet without having to face any of the repercussions that someone would face if they spoke those words out loud and inspired today's post....
That same week I finished 13 Reasons Why on Netflix and it too just brought up the messages of how our words and actions can affect those in our lives without even realizing. I've seen lots of articles about this show and whether you enjoyed it or not, and despite any criticisms, I think we can all agree that it's doing a great job of bringing the difficult conversation of mental wellness in teens to the forefront right now. If you haven't watched the show I would encourage you to do so (although be warned, it's not an easy watch and could be triggering on the subjects of rape and suicide); it gives great insight into how actions that might seem small to you can be earth shattering to someone else.
In the same week when I saw the amazing Blake Loates share that she was starting up her "We All Believe In You" portrait sessions and reminded me that this week is Canadian Mental Health Week, I thought it would be the perfect time for a little reminder. We have no idea what anyone else is going through. Not our acquaintances and co-workers, certainly not people we follow online and quite often, not even the full extent of what our friends and family are going through. Our actions and our words have power and carry more weight than most of us realize. I'm fortunate that I was brought up by a mother who understands the importance of mental health care. Growing up we'd have conversations often about taking care of our own mental health, as well as being aware and respectful of other people's mental health. Just the other week we were talking about how different it would be if everyone spoke to one another and treated one another as though they knew the struggles they were going through. Because we all go through struggles, and we could all use a little extra kindness and understanding. Life is hard enough as it is, without having to deal with cruelties or unkindness thrown your way.
So with the start of Canadian Mental Health Week I thought this would be a good time for a few reminders:
Be kind and smile - these small gestures can make a huge difference
Don't be a nasty troll online or IRL - it's not a good look and the damage you might do could be more than you'd ever know
Take care of yourself and your mental health - take breaks, whatever that means to you - run a bath, go for a run, meditate, read a book, but every day do something that's good for your mental health
Before you speak or type think, do you need to say what you're about to - or if it's unkind, maybe it's best you leave it be. *Hot tip - when there's something that's made me mad and I want to respond but know I shouldn't, I write it out; just the process of releasing my anger in that way makes a big difference. Give it a try*
If you suspect that someone in your life isn't doing well, reach out! Ask them how they are, or hey, just ask them out for coffee. Often people with depression might be hesitant to make plans but just reaching out and being consistent with letting them know you're there can make a huge difference.
Lastly, if you are feeling mentally unwell- depressed, confused or unsure - seek help. There are resources available if you need help and there's no shame in taking it.
Take care of yourself and be kind to one another <3 and if you feel so inclined, #GetLoud for Canadian Mental Health - click HERE for info on how you can help