How we can help those who are not ok

Authenticity in our message

You may have heard people say the phrase ‘It’s ok to be not ok’. This is very much true and there is a great focus on trying to understand and to empathise with people going through difficulties in their lives. I fully support this and hope that through my actions this is visible. What I don’t get is people who say these kind of phrases but don’t live it out in their actions. It is all well and good posting online that ‘I have an open door house and that anyone can come to me with problems’ when you know full well that they are gossipers and untrustworthy, or are spiteful and vindictive in how they speak of some others they know.

How we speak of others and how we speak to them directly makes a difference to how they feel about themselves. Many a time I have been affected by someone ‘saying WHAT they think’ rather than ‘thinking BEFORE they speak’. These little steps of filtering out the unnecessary can do a great deal to try and help those who outwardly may look like they are coping, but inwardly may be struggling or not coping as well as you think.

It is time to speak out

It is time to speak out

Sticks and stones will hurt my bones, but words can also hurt me

I know some people who are very cruel in how they speak of some other people who have difficulties or are going through hard times, and rather than be supportive and be the nice person they think they are to the outside world, they are adding fuel to the problem by acting in this way. Surely in 2019, we can try and get everyone who claims to be a decent person to not use derogatory phrases about others. I have heard people make comments running others down about the fact that someone has a faith, that someone has a stutter, have some kind of health condition, or are overweight, or are going through depression, or not as active socially as they’ve been before, or are spending more time doing a different activity. All these are not valid reasons to knock someone or to speak poorly of them! Bullying is still bullying, even if the victim doesn’t hear it directly.

Martin Luther King Jnr spoke about this

Martin Luther King Jnr spoke about this

Part of our past may not be who we are now

The time of ‘joking’ about someone else behind their back or being plain nasty away about them from their ears is something that has no place nowadays. I am not saying that in younger, more immature times, that I haven’t been involved with these things, but in retrospect, I see that I was displaying a weakness and an immaturity by thinking or sharing some of those. It is not something that I want to be a part of nowadays and will now actively try to move further away from that mindset. I am hopeful that we as a supposed civilised society can move away from those days and that people can actually be nicer and more complimentary or not bother commenting if they can’t be nice about it.

People are going to have a moan about other people at times. People are going to be cheesed off about how others are or react. Surely, we can try and be the better person and rise above that. By taking a lead in how we hold ourselves, we can play a small part in making life better for those around us. I have already learnt that objecting to derogatory language may cause you to lose people along the way, but if trimming some people who don’t have the same values as you occurs then it could be a good thing for you and who you are yourself.

Objection!

I once objected to someone at work once who was referring to another colleague who wasn’t very tall as a ‘poisoned dwarf’. I stated at the time that I didn’t think that was very nice and that it was not appropriate language in a professional environment. She then didn’t speak to me for a couple of months. She objected to me picking up on her abusive behaviour and even asked ‘Who are you to say what I can’t say? She didn’t hear me!’ as if that makes it all ok. She is one of those people who didn’t like that she had been exposed as being derogatory and unprofessional despite her at other times claiming to be and wanting to be thought of as a kind, caring person. Our actions are often louder than our words.

Bishop Desmond Tutu has spoken on this

Bishop Desmond Tutu has spoken on this

What are we going to do about helping those who are not ok?

By not standing for unacceptable or unhelpful language, we raise our heads above the parapet and can come into the firing line ourselves. I think that this is a noble way of being a kinder person and to try and make a difference in the world wherever we can. I am wary when I see people’s comments and shared posts about ‘It’s ok to be not ok’, but see how inclusive they are in other aspects of their life. Do they approach the person standing on their own in a crowd? How are they seen by others outside of their friendships? Do they make efforts to open up events to all? Do they make eye contact with others they don’t know? Do they look at accessibility and actively seek to remove barriers to participation?

It is ok to be not ok, but it is also not ok to sideline those who are not ok.

Inclusivity is such an important thing and such a massive opportunity for all of us in the world today. We have so much more to do, but it all starts with inward reflection as to how we can stop behaviours we are not proud of ourselves, and to be more inclusive and open to being available should people need us. It isn’t going to be easy, but we should at least try our best, if not for us, then for those who are not ok.

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