My sister in law sent me a text a couple of months ago and used the phrase ‘if you see something, say something’ and that really stuck with me. I’d never really heard that phrase used in such a context. Anxiety has always taught me that nobody really wants my opinion, my compliments aren’t valuable nor are they wanted, and it’s better that I just keep my mouth shut than put myself out on a limb and reach out to someone.
I’m saying…. to heck with that.
When you reach out to another person, your ego is on the line. That’s why it’s easier to sit silently and let words go unsaid. Rejection is a lot bigger and a lot more all encompassing than being turned down for a date. Rejection in friendships hurt. Reaching out and getting little in return is an anxiety suffers nightmare, which is why when folks lose touch (a natural part of life) people like me tend to never reach out again after an incident of being shut out. Personally, my nightmare is passive aggressive behavior. Something I have worked on, at length, in the last 8 months is ridding that behavior from my life. I’m certainly not perfect, but I find it to be infinitely more productive to mean exactly what I say and to not lay out a code and hope others find some sort of inference in my shade. [If you are reading this and thinking ‘well, this whole post is micro-aggression’, you’re wrong. I am speaking strictly to my own intentions with words and my own behavior.]
But seriously, why are we silent when we have something to say that could brighten someone’s day? A genuine smile and a compliment to your cashier at the grocery store, a comment on a picture of an old friend, reaching out to someone and asking how life is, these are all easy things. For me, now, it’s less about what response I get in return and more about knowing that I made the effort to put positivity out there. I didn’t let words hang in the air and go unsaid out of fear of rejection. Learning to navigate life since addressing my struggles with anxiety has been all about casting fear out and letting kindness and love in.
Human interaction is difficult. Heck, guys. Being a person in this world is hard. It’s not easy taking on the task of different personalities, someone’s deeply felt hurt, and coming out on the positive side. In my mind, the best thing we can all do is continually extend kindness to one another. Granted, in so many cases, some folks are just deeply nasty and maybe don’t deserve it, but it’s not about them. It’s about you. It’s about how soundly you can sleep at night knowing that you projected kindness and positivity as much as possible that day. The sooner we all stop giving people the interaction they ‘deserve’ and start giving them the interaction that is best for our own mental and emotional well being, we will plainly see how positivity shapes things.
In the spirit of full disclosure, for the entirety of writing this, anxiety has told me that I am a joke, a fraud, a liar. That I am not truly a kind person because I have a sarcastic personality and I struggle with various issues including my own pride. That people will roll their eyes and talk about how fake I am and I shouldn’t even post this blog. That is okay. Every single day is a struggle, every interaction will not always be positive, and that’s just part of life. Nothing is perfect. But, I feel like there’s at least one person reading this who agrees that they feel uplifted when someone simply offers them kindness.
So, today, if you see something, say something. If you’re scrolling through your social media feeds and a friend looks beautiful, tell them. If their child made you smile, tell them. If you miss someone, say it. If you love someone, say it. There’s no good reason in this world to hold onto those words today or any other day.
Happy Sunday, everybody.