My name’s Haile (@hailethomas). I’m an 18-year-old wellness and compassion activist and CEO of @thehappyorg, an organization that aims to redefine youth education and empowerment through intersectional wellness initiatives.
When we talk about creating kind communities, we often talk only about communities IRL and we forget about an important space: social media.
With social media, we can sometimes unconsciously get distracted by and caught up in general negativity. With all of this, it can be easy to forget two things: 1) that every online interaction can shape our mindsets, attitudes, and perceptions, and 2) that we have the power to curate our social media environment and choose what influences us.
Owning our power and using social media with intention and awareness allows us to create and be part of truly meaningful and kind communities. Here are my top 5 tips for doing so on Instagram!
1) Follow accounts intentionally and with YOU in mind. Follow accounts that inspire you, connect you to your interests, share positive and empowering messages to shape your mindset, accounts that make you smile, or even challenge your beliefs and introduce you to new people/places/experiences. Using social media intentionally helps keep our usage focused as well. That way every time you open the app, you know youʼll have an experience that will help open your heart and mind or just give you a boost of good feels!
2) Unfollow accounts that donʼt make you feel good. This is pretty straight forward. Donʼt be afraid to remove negative and toxic accounts or people from your feed! Take a moment to think about which accounts aren’t supporting your best self and unfollow them. If you want to take a break from an account without unfollowing them, consider muting them. (To do this, press “…” on the top right of one of their posts and click “Mute”.)
3) Make your account a safe space for yourself and others. I use Instagram’s comment filters because I want to ensure my account is one where positivity and kindness is the standard. The comment filter helps you filter out words and phrases that you find to be negative, derogatory, triggering, or just arenʼt reflective of the energy youʼd like to have on your page.
4) Set a positive example. Be kind and authentic. This is something Iʼve come to discover can truly make our Instagram experience special. Share your story, share your ups and downs, and just be you. It sounds so cliché, but there will always be people out there who can relate to and benefit from your authenticity. And put kindness out, too! Uplift your friends, empathize with strangers, and report bullying when you see it! Itʼs the little ways we look out for ourselves and others that count most.
5) Be aware of how social media is affecting your wellbeing…and take action when needed. Be sure to check in on how social media is affecting you every now and then. If you find social media to sometimes be overwhelming, breaks can act as a form of self-care and rejuvenation. Your wellbeing always comes first, so if you feel like taking a 2-day or 2-month hiatus, try it out! Itʼs absolutely okay to take a break. Here are some tools you can use to balance your time on Instagram.
Your kindness challenge today: Use these tips as helpful reminders that your social media experience is truly what you make of it…and you can make it awesome! And try leaving a surprise kind comment on a friend’s page, you’ll be surprised at the effect your kindness can have on their day.
P.S. Invite a friend to join the challenge: bornthisway.foundation/bekind21.