Most of us use our social media platforms to show the world the parts of our lives that make us feel good. Our curated Instagram feeds can be a beautiful escape from the reality of trying to navigate our way through a global pandemic and cope with the constant influx of devastating new stories. But we often forget that behind every smiling portrait, OOTD, feel-good reel, or couple selfie that pops up on our Instagram timeline, there is a story. A story that shields the viewer from any loss, pain, heartache, anxiety, or exhaustion the person may be experiencing.
Now, more than ever, we must cultivate an attitude of non-judgment and compassion toward others, because we just never know what people are really going through.
Here are some simple ways to be kinder and more understanding:
1. Become Aware of Your Thoughts
Start to watch out for the judgmental voice in your head and make sure to stop it in its tracks when it begins to talk. Remind yourself that there is always more going on behind the scenes that you know nothing about. Intentionally replace the judgmental thought with a compassionate and loving thought.
2. Check In
If a friend is acting a little off or posting online in an uncharacteristic way, then reach out and check if they’re OK before you pass judgment. The likelihood is that feelings of pain/anger/frustration are driving the shift in their behavior.
3. Don’t Take It Personally
If a friend hasn’t returned your call or replied to your WhatsApp message, just be patient and remember not to take it personally. Many people are feeling overwhelmed right now and need some extra space to reset, gather their thoughts, and prioritize self-care.
4. Spread Kindness
I encourage you all to commit to just five minutes a day of sending little messages of gratitude and love to the people in your life. You might send a text to a friend, deliver a bunch of flowers to a family member, or DM an acquaintance who has inspired you in some way… whatever way you choose, just spread some love every day. You could completely transform someone’s day, week, or month just by this small gesture of kindness. You really never know who desperately needs to hear that compliment or feel that love from you.
When you’re feeling a little down, insecure, or anxious, you are far quicker to judge others or perceive things in a negative light. To have an abundance of love and compassion for others, you must first show that love to yourself. Prioritize healing your own pain, building your self-esteem, and showing yourself all the things you wish to give to others: love, respect, non-judgment, compassion, forgiveness, and kindness.