One Smile, One Kind Word, One Compliment

It’s been 8 years since I overcame the mental trauma I underwent in school. I was the favorite victim of all the bullies in my class. They ensured I got my daily dose of ridicule which mainly stemmed from the way I walked, talked, and dressed. It always went to that limit where I would go back home crying and bawling in a puddle of my tears because I felt that I was unworthy of being human. 

However, I always got back home to an aura of positivity brought about by my parents and brother which cut through the negativity I put up with all day long. In my case they always ensured I felt safe and loved. They never tried to change me and always loved me for who I was. 

That was the exact moment when I understood the true meaning of “Family.” Because by definition the word only associates the people who are bound to us by blood, but in actuality it takes into consideration all of the people who accept and love us despite all our flaws. 

Not all of us are fortunate enough to have a strong backbone of supporters. We are plagued with people who readily criticize our every move and it always boils down to the fact that not all our peers are well-wishers and some can be wishful haters, i.e. our adversaries. Yet somehow it ends up being the people who are kind and who are willing to radiate this positivity to every austere part of our society so as to bring about a generation of gentle and more accommodating citizens. 

I’ve learned from the years of criticism and tyranny that it just takes one second to tear down a person’s self-esteem. There came a point where I yielded to that very same judgemental mindset and added onto the unending chain of criticism. I became the tyrant. The saying, “Monkey see, monkey do” translated into a way of living for me. I was oppressed,  and I thought by using the same tactics which were used on me, I would finally achieve some sense of contentment. Yet, all it achieved was making me feel worse about myself. It took me quite some time to break free from those shackles and to unlearn all that I had been routed to. I went on a journey of self-introspection and came out a better person with the help and support of my ‘Family.’

Through it, I realized that in one second I could save a life, too. Being on both ends of the spectrum, it gave me a better understanding on how it feels to be bullied and how it is to bully. 

So I thought that instead of criticizing someone’s self-expression, why not compliment them on their courage to be brave in a fault-finding society? Just one smile, one kind word, one compliment is all it takes to help a person feel better about themselves so that they take their next step with a little more pride. 

Therefore, it’s my humble request to whomsoever is reading this, to understand that we are all going through a lot, and sometimes it’s difficult for us to keep our head above the turbulent water, but all we need is that one smile, one kind word, one compliment, which can go a long way in helping people mentally and doesn’t require much of an effort. 

I hope we can be brave together and strengthen the foundations of mutual respect and admiration for one another. 

Be kind. Be human. 

Rahul Rangan

Rahul Rangan, 21, born in Pune, India is currently pursuing his Final year in Medicine from KIMS, Karad. He is a self produced artist with his music focused on tackling social issues and propagating kindness. He is the head of a mental health organisation, “GrayMatter” which aims to provide a safe space for people to freely talk about their problems without any judgement. He is interested in music, classical dance and art. He has penned over 500 songs and created three albums by orchestrating music for his lyrics. He loves writing, practicing yoga, and jamming to Lady Gaga in his free time. You can learn more about him via his website : https://rahulrangan.com

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