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Kindness isn't some weird hippy, utopia-vision notion - it's a reflection of our inner world - and according to conversations on social media our inner world is in chaos.
Why can't people be nice to each other? My heart aches with the nastiness which fuels the social media platforms that we all inhabit. Even the simplest observations about the world can get us called an "idiot", and worse by complete strangers. Social media emboldens us to say things we might not say in person, but it's now actually coming off line with celebrities inciting violence against protesters or refugees. What sort of person encourages others to run people over and think it's a joke?
How disconnected have we become from one another that it's okay to dehumanise people by calling them "dole bludgers", "scum", "sluts" or "illegal" refugees being "processed" as if they were some sort of cheese. Dehumanising has had a long history, particularly when it comes to war, "rats", "cockroaches" and "animals" are common insults to justify mass slaughter of human beings. There are plenty of articles on this, such as this one from The Conversation and this from Open Democracy, so this field of study is not new.
I have built a very successful teaching career, and my strength lies in showing others the good that I see in them. In a 20+ year career I've only ever met four students (out of at least 20,000) who I would suggest were sociopaths or psychopaths (who all had severe traumatic childhoods). However, a quick scroll on social media platforms and that rate of sociopathy increases exponentially. I'd like to believe in the goodness of everyone, but that's not what we are seeing online and increasingly offline. Our words have power, but our words are nasty. I'm not immune to this, I've been known to call certain politicians "idiots" too, so I know it's a work in progress. But my concern is that of connection and spirituality.
How far from our connection to ourselves, each other and the world have we become when we become so unkind behind the safety of a computer screen, that we normalise it and do it without thinking? Ultimately, I think it is because we find it hard to be kind to ourselves. And that's where it begins.
Kindness isn't some weird hippy, utopia-vision notion - it's a reflection of our inner world - and according to conversations on social media, our inner world is in chaos. We are being so nasty to others because society is a reflection of ourselves. I feel enormous grief about the state of the world and I have to work very hard and consciously to find the good in it. Which is why I started Feed The Love - so I don't go completely mad with all the negativity which floods our feeds, news and general conversation. But perhaps what's underlying this nastiness are massive amounts of unresolved grief?
Perhaps, underneath it, we are all just little children who want to be heard, want to be valued and the instant gratification of social media, gives us that ego hit - enough for us to stay on it longer, to troll more, to argue with complete strangers about issues that most of us have no power over. I think we are disassociating from ourselves and externalising our inner problems and spreading that sh*t all over everyone else so everyone can feel our self-hate and grief and we don't have to take responsibility for our own inner turmoil. Social media externalises our being-ness so we are "out there" and not housed solidly and completely in our own bodies.
Humans have always had problems, but I think one solution is inner. They are solutions of self-responsibility and care, connection to self, others and the environment, of self-nurturing and self-love. If we can love OURSELVES in a genuine, soul-driven way, imagine the possibilities of a world where LOVE reigned, not grief, not sadness, not ego. Imagine a world where people listened to each other, where words and actions were with loving kindness and everybody took responsibility for their own childhood wounds and traumas. We need to start imagining the world we want to leave behind and that means taking responsibility for our own sh*t and being kind. A kind world? It starts with me. It starts with you. It starts with us.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2019
p.s. For the next seven days, my Facebook and Instagram will have daily kindness reminders. Please follow in the links below to see them.
I think we are disassociating from ourselves and externalising our inner problems and spreading that sh*t all over everyone else so everyone can feel the self-hate and grief and we don't have to take responsibility for our own inner turmoil.
All images, videos, products and texts Copyright ©Alyssa Curtayne 2014-2018