We do it all the time; hit like on that post on Facebook, send a heart to the tweet that made us smile and double tap that Instagram image that brought us joy. It’s not difficult, nor is it something we overly think about either. But it is something that impacts others in ways that we don’t perhaps always recognise?
Social media has opened us up to a world of connections and friendships that we didn’t have twenty years ago. It allows us to freely express our joy over someone’s amazing news and to have a fulfilling rant over a topic that would usually just bubble over in our minds. How satisfying it is to be able to have immediate gratification in sharing that wonderful news with the world, or finding that others have also experienced a similar #awkward situation that had us reaching for our phones to tell the world about.
Social media has provided us with a method of sharing the good, the bad and the ugly with one another plus the brands and megastars that were previously untouchable. We now have immediate access to them with a few clicks of a button and some of us use it to our advantage while others troll and leave misery in their wake.
How often do you find yourself questioning why someone in a coffee shop is looking at you?
On a similar note, we are often quick, as human beings, to judge ourselves based on what others appear to be “thinking about us”. How often do you find yourself questioning why someone in a coffee shop is looking at you? Your instincts scream that it’s because there is something wrong; you have coffee on your t shirt or cake smeared across your cheek! If we asked, we may find that actually, that’s not true. But most of the time we’ll never know because we don’t ask and people don’t tell.
Recently I visited one of the many tattoo conventions that are held up and down the country annually. These awesome events are the epitome of celebrating art and the body under one roof. No one bats an eyelid at the girl who’s happily laid, bare-breasted having her entire torso inked. Yet, I overheard, witnessed and interjected, at a recent situation on a bus where a well-covered and modestly breastfeeding mother was asked to cover herself up! We have crazy double standards in this world and visiting an event like tattoo-con is a great escape from those who judge for the worst.
Whilst at the tattoo-con, we were sat having lunch and discussing (of all things!) the advantages and disadvantages of Instagram. I was chatting to my brother-in-law all about blogging and the impact of social media whilst explaining that you don’t have to hit the “heart” on Instagram to like a post; you can simply double tap the screen. In between conversational titbits, I noticed a woman wearing the most amazing frock I have seen in a long time! It was a mid-length vintage tea dress, right up my street and looked amazing on her. I commented on this to my sister and knew the lady had seen us both looking over. Most people would have left it at this, potentially leaving the lady feeling uncomfortable or worried about what we were saying about her. But, you know me, I decided not to.
RAK (Random Act of Kindness)
The planner community have doing nice things down to a special art form which goes by the name of RAK (Random Act of Kindness) where you basically give things away for nothing. Sending out the good vibes always results in awesome things coming back in your life. You’ll also know that I love to read about the law of attraction and all that universal stuff (come on, I never shut up about it!). I remember reading in one of the many books I have on the topic about saying out loud how you feel about things. When I read it, I got to thinking that not only is saying it out loud beneficial to me, it’s also super beneficial to the person wearing said item/lovely thing. It benefits me because of said universal intelligence but additionally, makes me feel awesome. To the person it’s beneficial because you might just make their bloody day by saying how lovely said item is!
Because let’s face it – we’re always looking at someone or judging actions or commenting on something. And, like I said earlier, as human beings, we always think of the negative. To be told “wow your dress is amazing” might just be the lift this person needed in what was previously a pretty shitty day? It could be that she was having an awesome day and my comment was just the cherry on top! How could someone not be chuffed by you saying – I love…insert enviable item here….
So that’s just what I did. I tottered up to this lady and apologised for interrupting her coffee stirring (she was stood alone looking uncomfortable because my sister and I were looking at her). I approached, smiled and simply said “I just had to tell you how beautiful that dress is. My sister and I were just admiring it” and with that, what was a concerned and self-conscious look turned into a beaming grin and a pile of thanks.
start “double-tapping people”
On returning to the table my brother-in-law made the jibe that just because we’d been discussing Instagram, didn’t mean I had to start “double-tapping people”. We howled with laughter at my expense– obvs and at his awesome play on words. But his little “dig” at me did make me think that actually, if we did more of that – the world would be a much happier place.
Being willing and able to express how we feel about something through emojis, thumbs up or a double tap across social media should be empowering us to do the exact same thing in real life. To tell someone just how special they are or how pretty they look could have impacts beyond what we see. I’ll call it the butterfly effect of a compliment.
In mental health circles, we use “be nice, always” because you never know just what someone is going through. Saying how much you like a gal’s bag could just be the thing that digs her out of the emotional pit she was, internally, clawing the walls of. You could literally change someone’s life by complementing their shoes.
there is no selfless good deed!
It seems weird, feels a little odd the first time you do it, but, it feels awesome! And, as Phoebe found out in That Episode of Friends, there is no selfless good deed! So, take the awesome feeling and run with it my friend! I strongly recommend giving it a try….Improve the world one double tap at a time…
Tell me your nice stories! I’d love to hear when you’ve paid a compliment or helped someone out for no other reason that to be an awesome person! Shout out on social or drop me a comment! What’s your favourite RAK (Random Act of Kindness) to throw out into the universe?