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think before you speak

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think before you speak

Jennie O'Dell

We live in such a fast-paced world and I feel like it moves even faster each day. We're always on a "deadline", we feel rushed, and we move quickly. Sometimes it's hard to stop for a second and actually think about what we're doing. But when we do have that second, we're spending it on our phones, on social media; interpreting other people's opinions, reacting, and forming our own opinions. We respond, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly. Either way, the majority of the time, it is negative or hurtful, and we didn't even really mean it. How did we get here?

Let's throw it back for a second.
 

While I was growing up, social media was in its prime rise. If you didn't have a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you weren't "in". Then came along Snapchat, and God forbid I don't keep my streak alive or post what I did last weekend on my story. Every time I'd walk to my next class in high school, 95% of the people I passed in the hallways were on their phones; tweeting, commenting, taking a screen shot, flipping through someone's Snapchat story, etc. It was routine. We all became so engrained and intrigued by how everyone else was living and by what everyone else was doing. Whether we liked what we were seeing or not, we were automatically forming opinions.

High school is hard sometimes. People, for the most part, are judgmental. They don't even know why they're talking about how "Sarah's hair looks like shit" or how "Danny and Megan hooked up last weekend". Who the hell actually cares? And who the hell actually deserves to talk about someone else like that? These are really juvenile examples, but they connect to my main point (I promise). High school is a time period where we're trying to figure out who we want to be and what we want to represent us. It's a hundred times harder to do this when people are beating each other down.

This isn't just in high school. This in every aspect of life.
Everyday.
Not just high schoolers. Small children. Adults. Elderly.
This happens every second of everyday.
 

There's a lot of pressure; a lot of expectations and ideologies for how we're all supposed to act, look, and what we believe in. And people will judge you if you do differently, look differently, or believe differently. And, again, why? We claim that we're constantly drained of our energy from work, school, life in general, etc., but we actually take the time out of our day to be, well, in complete honesty, assholes to each other.

The harsh things that can come out of our mouths are felt by an actual person. Yet, no one seems to care before they say these things? Your words do have power. Are the words really worth the hurt it causes another person?

let's take this concept to a different aspect.
 

A couple weeks ago, Jennie (co-owner of beyourself), and I were talking about the creation of this blog post. We were throwing all of these things out about what we've noticed about this topic and how incredibly "normal" this all is. We also were reflecting on an issue that was brought on by social media. Dennis Quaid's movie, "A Dog's Purpose" became an overnight monstrosity because of a video released on the internet. The video entailed a dog being forced under water, supposedly on the set of the movie.

Dennis Quaid, being the amazing and confrontational human he is (Sorry, I absolutely adore him), spoke on the Today Show about how the video was "spliced, edited, and manipulated". Yet, people of the social media world took the video and shot out awful words and even a boycott of the movie altogether. They made all of these immediate assumptions and opinions over one video that one person posted.

Seems a bit ignorant. maybe confirm your information is correct before you speak it on a public platform.
 

We've all become so quick to assume or to form a feeling that we don't even think about why we're assuming or feeling a certain way. We're constantly perceiving information, sometimes letting it stick a little too well or not at all.
We all constantly feel so under attack that we attack each other. And for what? We're all in this world together right now, and it's rough. It's impossible to grow and be better while we're all stepping on each other and bringing one another down.

Our co-owner, Jennie, always tells her 5 year old, Georgie, that "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it all". Are we forgetting that this is a concept so basic that it should already be engrained into our minds? I get defending yourself. I hope that everyone does- I do! I'll defend myself and other people if it is right. We're all wrong sometimes, so admit it and move on. Open your mind to the possibility of other opinions and ideas. There's not always one correct way to do something and I think that is one of our biggest struggles to understand.

There's too much of the black and white- we need more grey. We need more understanding- more compromise. We need to understand the consequences of what we're thinking of saying before we actually say it.

I'm not writing this as a saint, nor am I claiming that I don't make the mistakes I just wrote about. I'm not claiming that I don't automatically assume or become defensive because sometimes I'm so in the heat of the moment that I don't think before I speak.
My whole purpose of writing this is to just remind us all that those extra seconds we get everyday to do whatever we do, can be used to think instead of speak; can be used to float above the situation and actually realize the consequences.

Regardless of our consequences as a country right now, I believe we are, more than ever, on a strong path to complete acceptance and love. Hate is not a trend, love is, and it will continue to be. If we can understand that every voice matters, if we can understand that disagreeing is okay, and is a part of life, I think we can change the world.

Please keep being yourself. Please keep opening your mind. Please remember that everyone is different. Please remember to understand that everyone has differences. Please understand that the voice you're given has the power to produce powerful words. But most importantly, please remember to think about the powerful words you want to say before you speak them. You never know just how powerful they can be.

- Taylor, Jennie