It feels very generic, throw away, to say ‘be kind’. Recently I’ve seen it adorned on t-shirts, some from independent makers that truly resonate with the words they are printing, the majority on a mass produced high street garment that the buyer has paid £6 for and makes you wonder how the factory worker making a few pence a day felt seeing those words. I digress and will save that rant for another day. #bekind has 5.3M posts on instagram, so clearly it is something we’re aware of, that we’re gravitating towards, that means something to many. Whether it is being kind to others, ourselves, animals, the planet, that phrase floats around on and offline like a daily mantra of bland noise. We say it, we think it, but do we act on it? Perhaps we are, or we are starting to anyway. There was a phrase that seemed to seep into my childhood in the 90s, that I never really questioned or challenged, that ‘nice guys finish last’. I remember the anxiety that phrase imparted, to a shy, contentious young girl, with an inherent gravitation towards ‘being nice’, that my weakness was my instinct to think of others, to empathise, to analyse the consequences before acting. I was going to finish last at life because only those that were selfish and unkind would be strong enough to succeed. So now ‘be kind’ is being paraded around like a badge of honour for the worthy, perhaps because the world can feel so cruel, and at the end of the day, why bother finishing first if you’re there on your own? I’d rather finish last, with my fellow kind hearted humans, I think that would be a better place to be anyway.
by Hannah Glassbrook