Each week, I say to myself, my co-workers, my husband and anyone who will listen, “I need something good to write about.” So often it is hard to find good in the media, but because I truly believe that there is good in the world, I want to write about it.
This week it’s a little difficult to find. During the course of the week, two celebrities have taken their own lives. These deaths have sparked discussions about mental health and the importance of checking on your friends. Social media has been flooded with shocked reactions and messages of hope to others struggling. As much as I love social media, I believe that it has isolated us as much as it has connected us. I have more than 1,000 “friends” on Facebook, but only a handful that I actually talk to on a regular basis.
As much as I enjoy the use of social media to keep up with people from all phases of my life, I fear that it causes some of us to forget that life is complex and that problems cannot be solved by mere strokes on a keyboard.
Real life is messy and requires real reactions to real problems. Life on social media can be whatever a person chooses to make it. Problems can be hidden by the perfect selfie and busyness makes us seem important both in our own eyes and in the eyes of those many “friends” on the other side of the screen.
As has been shown time and again, sometimes the people who seem to have it all together, actually don’t. Be a person who is willing to go beyond the screen. Instead of texting or messaging, actually call someone. Drop a card in the mail. Look up from your device and smile as you make eye contact. You may never know what a simple, intentional act of kindness may do for a person.
I need to take my own advice. As connected to others by social media, I am also isolated. This is because most of the time, I simply watch what’s unfolding on the screen and don’t take any action. Although connected, many are still struggling. While things may seem like they are going well, the truth of the matter may be vastly different.
Let’s be intentionally kind, purposefully aware, and acutely responsive to the people we love.
Dr. Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People put it this way, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”
I think the world would be immensely different if every person realized that he or she is someone’s priority.
Live intentionally. Let them know.
Also, I still want to meet you and to hear your stories: firstname.lastname@example.org
Weekly columnist. Feature Writer.