The Internet changed the world. Its reach makes everyone a virtual neighbor, brings knowledge in a simple Google search, helps artists raise money for their films, lets you reestablish long-lost friendships and so much more.
It can be used for good. For connections. For change. For research. For open-minded thinking.
I’ve been active on social media since 2009, and man, has it evolved into something almost unrecognizable. What used to be “social” has turned into “antisocial.” What used to be a community of support, friendship, sharing our lives and lessons has turned into a breeding ground of hostility and hate.
It’s all too easy to spew venom and click “send” in a moment of frustration.
Here comes the Hate Train… all aboard!
I’m tired of watching the train wrecks, the bitterness, jealousy and small-minded quibbles of politics, religion and sexual orientation. People claim we have freedom of speech, but we don’t. We’re only “free” to speak our minds if we’re expressing the viewpoints shared by the haters.
I want to see kindness. I want to turn back the clock to 2009. Hell, let’s turn it back to Kindergarten. What happened to all those lessons we learned as children?
Treat others as you want to be treated.
Love thy enemies.
If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
Have your friends’ backs.
Hang in there, Baby.
OK, so that last one really dates me. Yes, it involves a kitten. Google it.
How about instead of running away from the Internet and deleting our Twitter accounts in defeat, we take the Internet back?
Stick with me. I’ve got a plan…
June 1st was National Dare Day. Oh yeah, these are the fun facts you can learn on the Internet. For the month of June, I’m going to dare you to do something every single day that’s positive, either for your friends, your family or for yourself.
On my laptop, I have a quote that reads…
It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.
I’m daring you to join me in #30DaringDays. At the end of the 30 days, I hope we all learn something about society, about paying it forward, about the power of positivity, and about ourselves. I also hope to learn about you and bring the social back into social media.
Every day I’ll post a new dare here and share it online. Ready?
June 1st: It’s National DARE Day. I dare you to… #30DaringDays
June 2nd: I dare you to do something nice for someone who needs it. #30DaringDays
June 3rd: I dare you to acknowledge how much you’ve evolved. If you haven’t, take one scary baby step toward evolution. #30DaringDays
June 4th: I dare you to admit to your children (or anyone) when you’re wrong… and apologize. They learn by your example. #30DaringDays
June 5th: I dare you to be kind to someone who has not been kind to you. #30DaringDays
June 6th: I dare you to say only positive things to and about people today. #30DaringDays
June 7th: I dare you to thank a teacher/mentor for having a positive impact on your life, even if it was small. #30DaringDays
June 8th: I dare you to stand up for yourself and stop letting a toxic person hurt you. #30DaringDays
Note: This is extremely difficult when said toxic person is a narcissist and persistently tries to pull you back in. Just keep reminding yourself you deserve to be treated with respect ALL the time, not just when they’re desperate to keep you under their control. The book Psychopath Free opened my eyes to identifying the toxic people in my life.
June 9th: I dare you to start a new project or do something you’ve been putting off. #30DaringDays
June 10th: I dare you to truly be present for the next person you spend time with and not look at your cell phone. Respect the offline connection. Remember when that was all we had… and all we needed? #30DaringDays
June 11th: I dare you to make a list of things you like about yourself, then look in the mirror and say, “I love you.” #30DaringDays
June 12th: I dare you to pick someone you despise, or someone with opposing views, and imagine what it’s like to be them. Think like them. What was their childhood like? What goodness is within them? Walk in their shoes. Try to empathize. #30DaringDays
June 13th: Ask someone, “What can I do to make your life a little easier today? #30DaringDays
June 14th: I dare you to do something nice for an elderly person. Give up your seat. Carry their bags. Hold open a door. Talk with them. Listen. Each year an estimated 500,000 older people are abused, neglected or exploited in the U.S. Do your part to show respect, support and love. #30DaringDays
One of the most beautiful stories I’ve heard of selflessly helping the elderly is that of the men who inspired the film If We Left. Learn more about the talent behind the project and help Miles Maker get this remarkable story to the screen… I dare you.
June 15th: I dare you to change. If you’re paralyzed by the misery you feel today, you’ll be miserable tomorrow. How’s that working for you? It’s not. Something needs to shift. What one little thing can you change today that ignites a new possibility for your life?
June 16th: I dare you to write down your dream job and take one step toward making it happen every day. Right now, someone is enjoying the job you would be great at. Why shouldn’t it be you? #30DaringDays
June 17th: I dare you to not complain about your life, misfortunes or frustrations for one day. When you focus on the cup being half full instead of half empty, you’ll soon see it overflow. #30DaringDays
June 18th: I dare you to not jump to conclusions. In today’s fast-paced world of instant news, instant messaging, and instant gratification, resist the urge to instantly declare an opinion as fact. Be patient. Gather information. Keep an open mind. Nothing is ever as it appears. Give people the patience you would want given you if you were the one being judged.
June 19th: I dare you to accept that things aren’t always going to happen the way you planned. Breathe. Readjust. Change your perspective and path. Often a different way is a better way. #30DaringDays
As Clint Eastwood said in Heartbreak Ridge, “You improvise. You adapt. You overcome.”
June 20th: I dare you to stand up for someone today. We see people disrespect and bully others all too often, both online and off. Don’t tolerate hate. Do something about it. Take a stand. You might literally save someone’s life. #30DaringDays
June 21st: I dare you to handwrite a letter to someone. Sure, it takes longer than shooting off an email, but isn’t that the point? Show the person you care enough to choose paper, pick up a pen, select each word knowing you can’t easily hit the backspace, buy a stamp, and physically take that message of friendship to the mailbox. Make your communications more meaningful. You’ll bring joy to someone who was only expecting yet another bill in their mailbox. #30DaringDays
June 22nd: I dare you to introduce two people you think would get along, either personally or professionally. Pay attention to people’s needs and likes and try to make a connection. It’s how communities are built. #30DaringDays
June 23rd: I dare you to be patient. Things don’t change in an instant, nor do opinions. More importantly, some things we have zero control over. Venting can feel good, but patience is healthier. #30DaringDays
June 24th: I dare you to put a coin in an expired meter, pay the toll for the car behind you, give a generous tip to a stressed waitperson or any other act of kindness you can think of. A small, kind gesture could achieve more than you realize. #30DaringDays
Note: Apparently putting a coin in someone else’s meter is illegal *scratches head.* I guess our lawmakers are clueless as to what kindness is. Meh.
June 25th: I dare you to stand up and make yourself heard. If something has been bothering you or someone has been mistreating you or someone else, speak up. If you don’t stand up, who will? #30DaringDays
June 26th: I dare you to think of three things you’re grateful for every night before you go to bed. Every time you want to bitch about something, focus on a blessing you already have. It’s all about perspective. #30DaringDays
June 27th: I dare you to find someone from your past and reconnect. Don’t assume they won’t remember you or aren’t thinking about you. Take the risk. Reach out. They might need the comfort of an old friend. #30DaringDays
June 28th: I dare you to finish the sentence, “I am…” How we define ourselves is telling but also limiting. Who ARE you? How do you want people to perceive you? If you aren’t being true to who you are, readjust. Live as you are, as you hope to be, and the world will see you that way. #30DaringDays
June 29th: I dare you to stay true to your beliefs, even if they’re unpopular. Bravery starts with the choice to not let being liked rule your life. The cool kids aren’t so cool. Neither are the blind followers. Take the road less traveled. Be a leader. #30DaringDays
June 30th: I dare you to make amends for the wrongs you have done. Ask for forgiveness, but accept it may not be granted. Above all, if you are truly sorry, find a way to forgive yourself. You can’t control someone else’s feelings, but you DO have the power to feel compassion and love for yourself and move forward.
You deserve happiness and peace. #30DaringDays
As I post this final dare of my 30-day challenge, my hope is we’ve all learned a little something about ourselves, about humanity, about tolerance and acceptance, not just of other people but also of our own faults.
Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. Let’s take the road less traveled, the road the Hate Train never travels, and choose positivity and compassion.