Be The Good

Be The Good

How to spread kindness in 2016.

While I wrote an article about New Year's resolution last week, it was, admittedly, a little haphazard and hurried. That being said, I’d like to expound on one of my final resolutions from the last article (Random Acts of Kindness) and send some good vibes into the Internet either by laying out what I believe could be a good strategy for bettering oneself in 2016. Namely, I’d like to discuss how one might make some other-oriented resolutions aimed at kindness.

Help Others, Help Yourself

I think a lot of people are looking critically at themselves in this new year, and I think that’s a great place to start. Obviously, one can’t treat others quite well if they aren’t looking to treat themselves well. I’m sure you’ve already made plans for how you’re going to improve yourself in 2016. I know I have: get good rest, focus on my creative endeavors, make sure I treat my body and mind well. Yet, I think that you can often treat yourself well and maybe even better by focusing on treating others well. That is, by having an exterior focus, one often finds that she has a lot less time to worry, and she finds her troubles minimize in comparison to the good she can do for others. When one focuses their love and devotion outward, one also finds that she receives more love and devotion from those around her. Now, I'm not saying you should simply help others because it will benefit you, but I am saying that the universe usually smiles on those who smile on others. So it's time to get smiling!

Be a Good Listener

I think one of the most powerful ways you can show someone you truly care is by listening. Make time for the people you care about even when, and probably especially because, you're busy. And when you’re with them, put down your cell phone, make good eye contact, and make sure to acknowledge what they’re saying. Make them feel heard and understood (even if you disagree). And what’s more, don’t be afraid to listen or talk to new people. I'm sure there are people in your life that you have passed by and really wanted to know them better. Reach out to them!

They've probably wondered about you, too. Make friends, especially with those working behind a counter. It takes maybe 30 extra seconds to make someone working feel like they’re not just a faceless machine in a store. Chat and ask about their weekend. Ask "how are you" and actually wait for an answer. I often think about my experience lifeguarding and how often people were unfriendly or just completely ignored me. If those same people had smiled at me and sincerely wondered what was going on in my life, I would have had a much better experience.

Ditch the Judgement

Criticism of others usually stems from criticism of the self. I’m speaking from deep, personal experience here. I think one of the beauties of having a POSITIVE other-oriented attitude is that when you start giving other people slack and try to see them in a warmer, brighter light, you’ll probably start to do the same for yourself and start to love yourself more. Besides, you don’t know what other people are really going through, so when you start to judge, it’s important to step back and realize that maybe it’s your own ego talking and not the actions, beliefs, or looks of the person in front of you.

Encourage! Encourage! Encourage!

On the opposite to "don't criticize," it's also importantly to actively support others. Let others know that their ideas, hopes, and dreams are worthwhile. It's so easy to become discouraged in college, especially when everyone's in such close proximity and surrounded by comparison. I guess what I'm trying to say is simple and kind of the thesis of this whole article: be kind. Show love to others by being gentle with and uplifting to them. Let them know that they can and should act on their wildest, most impossible seeming dreams. Be the lift to their sails rather than the last breath of the shattering storm.

I hope these thoughts help you be the good in 2016! Wishing much love, joy, and health to you all!

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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In Real Life, 'Plus Size' Means A Size 16 And Up, Not Just Women Who Are Size 8's With Big Breasts

The media needs to understand this, and give recognition to actual plus-size women.


Recently, a British reality dating TV show called "Love Island" introduced that a plus-sized model would be in the season five lineup of contestants. This decision was made after the show was called out for not having enough diversity in its contestants. However, the internet was quick to point out that this "plus-size model" is not an accurate representation of the plus-size community.

@abidickson01 on

Anna Vakili, plus-size model and "Love Island "Season 5 Contestant Yahoo UK News

It is so frustrating that the media picks and chooses women that are the "ideal" version of plus sized. In the fashion world, plus-size starts at size 8. EIGHT. In real life, plus-size women are women who are size 16 and up. Plunkett Research, a marketing research company, estimated in 2018 that 68% of women in America wear a size 16 to 18. This is a vast difference to what we are being told by the media. Just because a woman is curvy and has big breasts, does NOT mean that they are plus size. Marketing teams for television shows, magazines, and other forms of media need to realize that the industry's idea of plus size is not proportionate to reality.

I am all for inclusion, but I also recognize that in order for inclusion to actually happen, it needs to be accurate.

"Love Island" is not the only culprit of being unrealistic in woman's sizes, and I don't fully blame them for this choice. I think this is a perfect example of the unrealistic expectations that our society puts on women. When the media tells the world that expectations are vastly different from reality, it causes women to internalize that message and compare themselves to these unrealistic standards.

By bringing the truth to the public, it allows women to know that they should not compare themselves and feel bad about themselves. Everyone is beautiful. Picking and choosing the "ideal" woman or the "ideal" plus-size woman is completely deceitful. We as a society need to do better.

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