Mark Thomas: On Kindness
Mark Thomas opened up to us about the importance of treating others with kindness and respect. Here’s what it means to him:
I grew up in a very small, closed-minded town. My life changed completely when my best friend committed suicide. Kids picked on him just for being different, and one day he couldn’t take it anymore. I was devastated, and of course so was his family. To make matters worse, his little brother passed away four months later. It seemed like life couldn’t get any more miserable.
Feeling completely alone in the world, I became close with his family. They were compassionate and understood my pain when nobody else did. Searching for an outlet, I started going live on YouNow to talk about what I was going through at the time. It helped me work through some of my darker emotions, and I think it also spoke to kids out there who were dealing with similar losses and heartbreaks.
As I started to build a social media following, the kids at my school made fun of me. Like I said, this was a closed-minded town. The more they made fun of me, the more I knew I had to do something for all the kids out there who are bullied and hurting on a regular basis. At times I thought about how it would be easier to just stop posting--then maybe they’d leave me alone at school--but I kept going because I had a goal in mind: to be a comfort to others, and help get their mind off of whatever it is they’re struggling with.
People are mean for two reasons. 1.They’re afraid of what they don’t understand, and don’t know how else to cope. 2. They’re jealous. They see something they want but believe they won’t ever have it, and that makes them mad, so they lash out by putting that person down.
Here’s how you can help:
If you see someone getting picked on, speak up. Say something. If you’re afraid to say something to their face, it’s okay to go to a guidance counselor or student council member. Talk to anybody who is being harassed and let them know they’re not alone. If you have friends dealing with depression or coping with a major loss, make it your mission to be a comfort to them. Watch movies with them, tell them jokes, make sure they don’t have to be alone, stuck in the black hole of their own thoughts. This will make a huge difference in their healing process.
Thank you for taking the time to hear my story. With your help, people can feel loved and empowered.
Visit https://becauseofyou.org/ for more information on how you can make a difference.