Four simple, four-letter words. Yet it is a foreign concept to so many. I sat in awe as I watched the events unfold this past weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. I sat in awe because I refuse to become numb to the hate and violence. I refuse to “get used to” seeing headlines about people killing people over the color of their skin, or their background, or their sexuality, or just because. The hate hits me to the core every time. Every time, I wonder how people are able to act this way.
We’re all familiar with Nelson Mandela’s quote, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” This quote reminds me that I’ve #neverbeenso grateful. Grateful that I grew up in a home where ‘hate’ was called a ‘strong word’ and love was taught. Amongst many other things, my childhood was full of learning how to do the dishes, learning to play sports, learning how to take care of a dog and most importantly, learning to be kind. As I grew up, I surrounded myself with people who also learned that same important value. And when I came across someone who didn’t, my mind was able to make the decision that this person didn’t need to be in my life. I think this is why seeing these acts of violence is so hard, even now that they’re becoming more and more prevalent.
When things like this happen, its hard not to feel helpless, hard not to feel so small that you’re unable to make an impact. However, I’m inspired by seeing society band together on social media to share uplifting words or small gestures and show that we won’t give in to the hate. In particular, Dani of Dazey L.A., gave me serious feels this week; I had been wanting to share her awesome tees and this is perfect timing! I’ve looked up to her for some time now because she’s such a killer girl boss, her tees PUNCH you with positivity, and shes the ultimate advocate for women supporting women, but this week she gave me one more reason. She declined a ticket to Magic and handled her frustration with recent events by doing what she does best and throwing together a last minute photoshoot. She created signs with positive sayings and paired them with her positive tees and turned it into something beautiful. She didn’t write an angry political post or act out violently, she did something that’s true to her and brought people joy through a time of sadness (check her out to see her shoots & the other amazing girl bosses she collabs with). This got me thinking that the small things do matter and they’re worth doing if it just makes one person smile (reminder: yourself counts as one person).
So I made a list of tiny things you can do IRL or via the web that are guaranteed to bring a smile to someone’s face:
Share an uplifting quote
Cook dinner for your spouse or roommate
Give a shout out to one of your favorite bloggers or local shops
Watch something heartfelt (Parenthood, Netflix just released Atypical and I kind of love it, Fundamentals of Caring)
Buy coffee for a stranger
Share a discount code
Call your mom or dad or grandma or grandpa or someone really special
Grab a few gift cards and hand them out to friends, coworkers, fellow bloggers, strangers
Send someone flowers
Give someone a compliment (they’re free!)
Wear a positive statement tee, so that people know your vibe without even having to have a conversation
Hug someone you love
Tell your best friend they’re doing great
We may not be able to save the world and stop all the violence, but we sure as hell can show it that we aren’t going to stop living just because of a few assholes. As always, thank you all for taking the time to read my rambles – you just put a smile on my face.
Photography: Mattie Riley Photography