Have you guys seen that meme that says: “You can’t make everyone happy. You’re not tacos.”
I love it.
It makes me laugh, partly because I love tacos, and party because I’m not tacos.
I know I can’t make everyone happy. I don’t even try. (That, from a recovering people-pleaser is a big statement, y’all.) And sometimes I make mistakes and sometimes I share stuff that’s important to me but doesn’t resonate for you and sometimes I don’t write anything about a topic that IS important to you and you maybe feel overlooked.
Again. Not tacos.
Recently, someone landed on one of my old blog posts through a Google search.
The post was about a tragedy: a little girl was killed by a dog, and later the neighbors said, “You know, we always suspected him of dog fighting.” It’s horrific. If those neighbors had reported their suspicions, perhaps that little girl would still be alive today.
The gentleman who landed on that post was, I guess, searching for info on how to report suspected dog fighting. (Which, bro, call the cops–dog fighting is illegal, after all–or animal control or your local shelter or the FBI or an anonymous tip line at HSUS, ASPCA, etc. etc. etc.) The post wasn’t about that, though, because… I mean… duh, kind of. You know?
Anyway, I am sorry that someone was perhaps truly, honestly trying to figure out what to do and landed on my post and found that it wasn’t helpful. That’s a bummer. I hope he figured out how to report suspected dog fighting. I really, really do.
His comment said two things. First, which I’m paraphrasing: This is clickbait because you give no information. You just tell a stupid story.
(Which, to be fair, is what I do here… I tell stories… That’s, like, my job. In case anyone else was confused.)
Then, the comment ended with, and this isn’t a paraphrase, this is a quote:
Now, I have a fairly healthy sense of self. I have a general sense of my strengths and a glaring awareness of my weaknesses (I’m a writer who can’t spell. There. I said it.). I’m generally pretty good about taking care of my mental health, not counting stress. I read and listen and watch all sorts of personal and professional development. I get decent sleep. I exercise a bit. I eat well 82 percent of the time. All those things, plus my brain’s chemical makeup, etc. etc. etc. have put me in position where, thankfully, my mental health is fairly solid.
Not everyone’s is. And tossing around “kill yourself” over dumb stuff like being disappointed in a blog post?
Part of me wants to rage at that guy.
Part of me feels immensely sorry for someone whose life is so small that being cruel makes them feel big.
I keep reading online people decrying a lack of civility. It’s not that. It’s not that at all. Because you can be civil and still be an asshole.
What we need isn’t civility.
What we need is compassion.
We are facing a crisis of compassion. So many people seem only to care for themselves and those who are just like them, and somehow being cruel or putting down anyone who’s “other” justifies their existence, their rightness.
I don’t have to be wrong for you to be right.
You don’t have to agree with me or like my work to be kind.
Online forums enable and engender this behavior because you’re not looking at–you’re not seeing–another human. It’s a screen. A cursor. Some keys on a keyboard. Imagine this guy standing in an elevator with me and being disappointed in our conversation and ending it with, “Kill yourself.”
Luckily for all of us here, we have dogs. Dogs bring us love, joy, happiness, and live-in-the-moment inspo. We need that. We all need that–and more of it. I have to imagine if that commenter had a puppy who greeted him happily at the door each day, who licked his face when he felt down, who he could take for a walk when he felt angry, well, he might tell fewer people to kill themselves! Yes, that’s a bit tongue-in-cheek but not much. People who have dogs are happier people, and happy people just don’t tell others to kill themselves.
Today is World Kindness Day. We should all be kind every day, of course, but to honor this day, I want to end this post with a call-to-action:
Do something extra today. Do a random act of kindness. Make an anonymous donation. Brush out a shelter dog. Buy a stranger a cup of coffee. Leave a quarter in the cart at Aldi. Donate old coats to your local homeless shelter. Visit adoptable cats at your local pet store. Even giving strangers authentic, meaningful compliments feels like a random act of kindness. Wait until you see the cashier’s smile when you tell her how much you like her earrings or whatever it is. Give your dog a second walk. Play with your cat’s pouncer toy for an extra couple minutes.
Everything in life takes energy; spend yours doing something kind.
P.S.! Join us tonight on Facebook Live! John and I are going to chat about this, the upcoming holiday gift guide, and a new idea I have to bring a little more positivity to a small corner of the internet. See you at 8 PM (eastern).