Over the last twenty years (I'm sure this goes beyond that time, but I've only been alive for twenty of them), I have noticed that when something happens, as a society we tend to be much more reactive than we are proactive. This has been particularly prominent over the last few months, such as with the deaths of Caroline Flack and George Floyd. With Caroline, everyone was tweeting about being kind, then after a few days reverted back to shaming people for how they look/the way they act. With George, everyone was jumping on the 'Black Lives Matter' movement and within a week or so stopped showing any support. This needs to stop. As a society, we have become accustomed to having a reaction. I propose that instead of this, we start taking action...
People love a trend. Mental health awareness week/month you best bet the world and his dog are on Twitter and Instagram saying how important it is to talk about how you're feeling and to check on your friends and family. You also best bet that once that's over the same people will be back on Instagram and Twitter slagging people off and spreading hate for no reason other than the fact they have nothing better to do. This is why I may be noticeably silent on mental health matters when they're trending because I have spent all of my five years of blogging talking about mental health, the impact my own mental health issues have had on me, and in general just trying to spread awareness of mental health and trying to make a change. This is me being proactive, yet there are other people out there who only want to talk about these issues while they are a 'trend' and are just in it for the retweets and likes. I find this so incredibly infuriating that I can't even put it into words.
There was also the Black Lives Matter 'trend' after the death of George Floyd (which was founded in 2013). For some reason, many people seemed to think this was the first death in this way when in reality this has been going on for centuries. Fair enough if you started speaking out about this then and continued to try and share information, but if you are one of those people who just jumped on the hashtag because it was trending, ask yourself why. Why did you jump on the hashtag then? Why didn't you continue to share information afterwards? If you just posted a black square on Instagram and did nothing else, why? Did you do it to show solidarity and to take the time to actually educate yourself on this matter? Or did you just do it because you saw it as a chance to join a 'trend' and to make it look like you were doing more than you actually did? This is people's lives we are talking about and just because you may never have experienced racism or racial prejudice, doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. Just because you have never left your house fearing for your life because of the colour of your skin, doesn't mean nobody else has. If you jumped on this hashtag to pretend you care, but still continue to go about your life having learnt nothing, ask yourself why you even bothered jumping on this 'trend' in the first place.
Of course, these are just two examples out of many I have encountered over the years and I think it just goes to show how reactive we are as a society, instead of being proactive. I guess for the majority of us, as we are not necessarily experiencing something that might be trending, it's easier to just jump on the hype and feel as though that's your job done for the time being. This is why it's incredibly infuriating for those of us who are going through whatever is 'trending' as we are suddenly seeing all of these people jumping on a hashtag and looking as though they care; when in reality they will have probably forgotten all about it by the morning. But despite these people, hopefully, seeing what it is others are going through, they still don't seem to realise how much actually needs to be done and think that jumping on a 'trend' or 'hashtag' is enough. Well, being reactive isn't good enough anymore and to be honest, I don't think it was ever good enough to start with. It's not enough for us to just be reactive anymore - we need to start being proactive.
To be proactive means to take action by causing change and not only reacting to change when it happens. This means taking the time to educate yourself on things that may be going on in the world that don't necessarily directly affect you but may be affecting those around you, or a part of the world's population. Just because something doesn't affect you, doesn't mean that you can't help be a part of the change and help do something about it. And it's not about asking you to be suddenly clued up on everything that is wrong with the world and to be the driving force being that change. You could start off by looking at the things that are directly affecting you, maybe educate yourself on them a little bit, and start pushing for change by talking about it online and offline, signing petitions, creating petitions, donating to charities, going on marches, emailing your local MP, amongst many other things. You could then branch off onto things that may be affecting the people around you, or even something that you may have seen or heard about in the news or online and take the time to really educate yourself on that thing (or things) and do the same as I mentioned above.
I'm sure we would all much rather be a part of the change to help make the world a better place, rather than sit back and take a laissez-faire attitude to everything. Personally, I would rather be the former than the latter. What about you? Is there something you are already trying to push for change? Are you currently trying to educate yourself on a certain topic before trying to push for change? Or is there a topic you are currently not educated on or trying to push for change but are now going to start looking into? Let me know in the comments below.
Let's stop being reactive and start being proactive.
Love Beth xx