We Blame Society Yet We Are Society

Every 18 minutes in America, someone commits suicide. Someone makes the choice to end their life, the life that God gave them every 18 minutes. In the time it takes you to wake up and get ready for the day, someone has died. In the time it takes you to drive to work or school, someone else has died. In one day, 85 people, boys and girls, men and women of all ages, all races, all religions, all walks of life, commits suicide. It’s become a sad epidemic that is only notably mentioned when it’s a celebrity or a rare instance when it makes the news. People make the promise to be better, to not be mean to others, to not judge others but no one sticks to that promise. Society says every life is valuable but the only lives society seems to value are the famous, the pretty, the rich, the popular. 

It’s sad when a 17 year old girl kills herself because her parents don’t approve of her choices. It’s sad when a 15 year old boy decides to end his life because it’s better than dealing with the kids at school who call him a faggot. It’s sad when a veteran kills themselves after surviving a war but they can’t survive the war in their mind because they don’t have proper help. It’s sad how we, as a society, don’t see the value of someone’s life until they’re gone. We constantly say, “Oh it would’ve gotten better. They should have fought harder, they should have tried harder. They should have told someone. Don’t they know they were loved? Suicide is selfish. What about all the people who will miss them?”

You know what is selfish? Making people feel like the only option they have to escape their daily torment is ending their lives. And do they know they were loved? I don’t know. How many times have you stopped to tell someone that God loves them and that you love them? How many times have you stopped and sat with someone and just listened to them? How many times have you told someone that they’re worthy? How many times have you told someone that, while I know it doesn’t seem like it right now, it will get better and you have to hold on that hope and faith that it will get better? How many times have we told someone that we are always there for them whenever they need us, no matter the time or day? Unfortunately, not often enough. We are too caught up in our lives, our own struggles and joys, to even pay attention to those who may be hurting around us.

We say we’ll be better, that we’ll watch our words and this only lasts until the media circus around the most recent suicide dies down and then we’re back to our old ways until the next one. We have to end the cycle and it starts with us. We live in a world full of judgement. We call that girl wearing a bikini a ho but the girl who doesn’t want to show her body a prude. You take pictures with a guy and you’re a slut but you take pictures with one of your girlfriends and you’re a lesbian. The girl who raises her hand in class to answer all the questions does so because the only way she will get to college is to do well in school yet you call her a teacher’s pet. The boy who always falls asleep in fourth period you call him lazy but he was up till midnight working to keep his family off the streets. The boy who dresses well you call him gay but the boy who wears whatever he can find at the thrift store because that’s all his family can afford is trashy. We make fun of the tall girl, the short girl. The girl who is skinny no matter what she eats and the girl who can’t lose weight no matter how much she diets. We make fun of those guys who are “too muscular” but lifting is what makes them feel good and we tease the guys who can’t get muscle because heaven forbid we date a guy who doesn’t have a six-pack. We make fun of those who are smart for being “nerdy’ and those who are athletic are just being “dumb jocks whose glory days will end the day they graduate high school.” Those kids who have braces and glasses and acne we call ugly yet they can’t choose how they look. We ridicule people for things they have no control over. We make fun of those girls who put tons of selfies on Instagram because 100 likes is the only way she feels validated. We let our self-worth become defined by followers and likes and anyone who has “less” than us aren’t as cool as us. We body shame and slut shame and shame people for their families and backgrounds and choices and yet we wonder why we live in a world where it seems like no one loves themselves.

WE BLAME SOCIETY YET WE ARE SOCIETY AND THE ONLY WAY TO CHANGE SOCIETY IS TO CHANGE OURSELVES. It is up to US to end this cycle. Every day we have a choice. We have the choice to go out and put something positive in the world or something negative. We have the choice to be nice or be mean, to judge someone or accept them, even though you don’t agree with their personal choices. We have the choice to hate someone or love them. We have the choice to let people know how much we appreciate them and how much we really do care about them. We have the choice to just listen to someone talk because sometimes that is what people really need. Someone to listen and then hug them when they’re done. The world needs more love, more positivity, more acceptance, more God. Can you imagine what it would be like if God told people, “I’m not gonna love you. I’m not gonna love because you don’t wear designer clothes. You’re too smart, too athletic, too skinny, too fat. You aren’t modest enough and you are too prudish. You don’t have a large enough social media following and you’ve made some pretty terrible choices. You’re gay, you’re straight and I’m just deciding that you’re not going to get my love for no other reason than these.”

Do you hear how ridiculous that sounds? Every single time we make those mean comments to someone, that is exactly what we are telling them. We are telling them that their personal choices and some things that they can’t even control are the basis for whether or not they get our love. Mark 12:31 says, “Love your neighbor as yourself, there is no greater commandment than these.” We don’t want people making fun of us right? We don’t want people judging us off our looks and circumstances which we can’t control right? So why are we continuously doing the things we wouldn’t want done to us to others? We need to love everyone just like we love ourselves and it is because Jesus loves us that we can love others and ourselves.

We must be the change we wish to see in the world. Sure we can talk and talk and talk about how much we want to change the world but we need to ACT. We need to be the kind of people this world needs and it’s up to us to show everyone what love is really like. You don’t have to agree with every single thing a person does, we don’t need to compromise convictions to be compassionate. What we need is to unconditionally love everyone like God loves us. Compliment someone genuinely. Let someone know that they aren’t alone. Sit with someone and listen to what they have to say. Be compassionate. Be loving. Be kind. Always. You never know what kind of battles someone is fighting.

You are worthy. You are loved. You are fierce. You are strong. You are brave. You are beautiful. You are enough just as you are. You don’t need to change a thing. God made you the way you are for a reason. Never forget that. God loves you and I love you.

kb.

28 thoughts on “We Blame Society Yet We Are Society

  1. Michel H. says:

    Great Job with this post. Keep up the good work – you never know when something you say, do, or write makes a difference in someone else’s life. If it gives someone a reason to hang in there for one more day – you have made a difference. Keep going.

    Like

  2. Sarah @ Seriously, Sarah? says:

    I do really agree with everything that you’ve said about being kind, not judging other people, and that everyone has worth. A single kind act towards someone can have a greater impact than we can imagine. People have done something kind to or for me during a time that I was depressed and it gave me hope and joy.
    However, I do have a problem with your post because it is built around an entirely false premise. I understand the heart behind it, and your desire to be encouraging. It’s just that suicide and bullying are VERY important topics. I know you started out with suicide statistics to tug on everyone’s heartstrings, but bullying does not lead to suicide. And telling everyone to be kind does not stop bullying. Bullying is a learned behavior, which can be unlearned, once it is identified. But, peer pressure to “do the right thing, because everyone is fighting a great battle” is not going to stop bullies. Housewives everywhere are against bullying, but it isn’t worth a damn.
    Ninety percent of suicides are from untreated mental illnesses (per the National Alliance on Mental Illness). Bullying can cause depression, and if the wrong person is bullied, I don’t doubt that it can trigger suicidal thoughts and actions. However, bullying causes situational depression, which is not a mental illness. I’m not saying that bullying is ok or that anyone should suffer from situational depression. It is misleading and irresponsible to write that people commit suicide every 18 minutes and then follow it up with an encouraging pep-talk about being nice. A platitude, a verse of scripture, or a quotation that sounds encouraging never saved anyone’s life. Lives are saved when someone has a relationship with a person who is exhibiting signs of mental illness and suicidal thoughts and gets that person the appropriate care.
    You have a platform here. People are reading. I hate to see you wasting it on things that sound good and mean nothing. People will read this and forget it. Give them specific statistics that are meaningful, give them YOUR personal story, and give them specific steps that they can take. People will remember that. They won’t remember a pep-talk.
    You did hit the nail on the head with veterans who have PTSD committing suicide because they’re either given an insane cocktail of medications that are known to have paradoxical effects of increasing suicidal thoughts and anxiety or worse (SSRIs, Klonopin, and an anti-psychotic).
    Making medical treatment available for the mentally ill that does not diminish their dignity, reducing the stigma surrounding admitting to suicidal thoughts, so that people can ask for help, and really listening to the people in your life to hear them if they are making cries for help because they are sick with mental illness or suicidal thoughts are the ways to prevent suicide. On a large scale, it’s about reforming mental health treatment and on a smaller scale, it’s about relationships.
    I don’t mean to insult you in any way, and I thought about sending an email, but I think that this comment needs to be available for other readers to view. Use your heart for change to write about specific steps you’ve taken to combat bullying, how you’ve worked with the mentally ill, or how a suicide has affected you. People connect with and remember those posts.

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    • Plaidfuzz says:

      I guess I can comment with authority, in your mind, because I, myself, have attempted suicide! Depression and suicide cannot be distilled into statistics that you have googled and condescendingly posted here. This world needs a little more kindness, not rudeness and self-righteousness. Katie, thank you for your sweet post and I am sorry that you have experienced the bullying of someone who feels the need to assert their superiority on the topic.

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      • Sarah @ Seriously, Sarah? says:

        I didn’t realize that you had a monopoly on suicide attempts. I have been there, too. So yes, I have a vested interest in disseminating information, too.
        There was nothing rude or self righteous about my post. I was simply encouraging Katie to use her platform in the best way possible. I did not feel a need to assert my superiority. I did not need to Google information. I simply cited a source, which is what a responsible person does.
        If you read my post in it’s entirety, instead of making a quick, emotional response, that would be evident.

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      • Plaidfuzz says:

        You are right Sarah that I responded emotionally and I am sorry if I attacked you. If your voice and opinion differ from the original post, that doesn’t make one right and one wrong. I think that kindness can affect people in ways we do not realize and cannot distill into statistics. Bullying has led more than one person to suicide – what difference would a kind word have made?

        Liked by 1 person

    • Miss A. says:

      I can think of a number of cases where if someone had responded to the person being bullied with kindness and compassion would have gone a long way. Also, how do you imagine that mental health stigmas get broken? By people- you and I – taking time to understand, to hear and to respond to people with care (aka kindness). I absolutely agree that often we care more about people after they are already gone- and honestly, this world needs way more kindness in EVERY situation.

      Liked by 2 people

    • katiebestxx says:

      Sarah, I appreciate the time and thought you so clearly took to write this comment. While I also understand that being kind to someone cannot immediately end suicide altogether nor does it take away the effects of previous mental illnesses, you can’t tell me that being kind to someone does not help at all. You said my post wouldn’t be remembered but you remembered it when you wrote the comment and your comment was the only negative one I received. I also would like to add what my friend (who has a masters in mental health counseling) said about your comment towards situational depression. She said, “Situational depression which is known as Adjustment Disorder (AD) can lead to suicide. Suicidal behavior is prominent among people with AD of all ages, and up to one-fifth of adolescent suicide victims may have an adjustment disorder. Bronish and Hecht (1989) found that 70% of a series of patients with AD attempted suicide immediately before their index admission and they remitted faster than a comparison group with major depression.” I understand that not all suicides is because of bullying however my post was about the suicides that bullying does cause and how we need to be kinder to people. So if bullying doesn’t lead to suicide which is what you said, care to explain how so many teens commit suicide and cite bullying as the reason?

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      • Sarah @ Seriously, Sarah? says:

        The only reason I remembered your post is because I read it and it concerned me, as someone who has dealt with this issue. Yesterday, I read another post that I discussed with other bloggers because it was a reckless post about mental illness, so we were talking about the responsibility that bloggers have because they are populating the internet with information that someone could Google at anytime, especially during a time of crisis.
        The only reason I read this was because we are in a blogging group together and I like to know what I’m promoting.
        Suicide can be triggered by stress like bullying. So, bullying hurts people. And I didn’t say that anyone should suffer even situational depression. In fact, I said that they shouldn’t. But, there would be a predisposition for mental illness in the cases where bullying triggers such an extreme response. And anecdotes of “so many,” don’t need to be explained.
        Both subjects are important and need to be addressed. I just think that linking them together in one post is bad logic. Appealing to emotion for the purposes of making your point is a common tactic, but that doesn’t make it valid. You have thousands of people who follow your blog and have a great privilege. Don’t squander that. A follow up with specifics about what change looks like would be amazing. Personally, I would write from experience and give tangible examples, instead of sweeping generalizations.
        Being nice should never be underestimated. I never asserted that. As I suffer from treatment-resistant depression, I would give anything for a friend to reach out. I’m grateful when my husband comes home every day from work to eat lunch with me. My dad and husband slept in the waiting room while I was hospitalized for suicidal ideations last year, I think about that and hold onto that memory of how much they loved me when I’m in a dark time.
        In the end, it is your blog and you can write whatever you want, but that doesn’t make it good.

        Like

      • katiebestxx says:

        Sarah,

        I don’t believe that “there would be a predisposition for mental illness in the cases where bullying triggers such an extreme response.” That is wrong and one can’t make a blanket statement like that. Sure, some people are predisposed but not ALL. I’m sure there are dozens, if not hundreds of cases, where the people involved were perfectly happy until the bullying… Then they felt like that suicide was the only escape. I can testify that I was a victim of bullying and became depressed, self harmed, had panic attacks, and had suicidial thoughts. I can tell you that kind words would have helped me. I can tell you that if someone was there for me, that would’ve helped me. I can tell you that if I had someone to listen to me, to tell me that I’m worthy. That I’m loved. That I’m beautiful in God’s eyes and that there was no reason for me to change or hate myself, that would’ve helped me. So while you have the right to disagree with me, I also have the right to disagree with you. You may not have thought this post was “good” or “correct” or “just” and that is okay. What this post was, was an extension of my heart & soul, everything I stand for was put into this post & I can tell you that the positive comments I recieved far outweigh your comment. I can tell that you’ve been hurt in the past, by what I don’t know, but I can tell you that I’m not mad at you or upset at your comment. You will be in my prayers & I hope one day you find the peace I can tell you need. I pray one day that you will have the kindness I talked about lavished onto your life. God loves you & I love you.

        kb.

        Like

  3. Heather says:

    The stat is shocking yet not shocking at the same time – I can believe it. I hope that more of the people who have those thoughts can get some help when it’s really needed most.

    Like

  4. Courtney says:

    So true. It’s sad how we, as a society, don’t see the value of someone’s life until they’re gone. And, that it starts with ourselves. What was the quote…be the change you want to see in the world. Always liked that one. It is such a shame when people hoot and holler about something but are part of the problem.

    Like

  5. kancell724 says:

    This is a very well written post and I agree with what you’ve said. As a mom all I can hope to do is to instill confidence and self-esteem in my daughter so that when the world is cruel to her she will be more able to stand up against it. I can’t change everyone else so I focus on raising a child who treats others with kindness and who doesn’t place her own self worth in the hands of others.

    Like

  6. Michelle says:

    Everyone can get so wrapped up in their own agendas making it challenging to think of the real issues going on in today’s society. It is shocking to think that that many people commit suicide on a daily basis. To think that one small act of kindness could have made them reconsider or maybe it was that one person that reached out to help. I have had a few friends commit suicide. Some that were the happiest people on the outside that you would have no clue that they were hurting deep inside. Depression is a disease that can do so much damage and I think mental illness is overlooked by society in general. If there was more support for mental illness perhaps the statistics would lesson for suicide.

    Like

  7. lderringer says:

    Beautifully said! It’s easy to fall into being self centered and forget about the fact that so many people are hurting in silence. Thank you for the reminder to just tell people you love them!

    Like

  8. Rhonda Chapman says:

    Well said. Very few people pause to think that maybe the world is stuffed because of what we’re not doing to fix it. It’s easier to bully, control or blame others than it is to hear the truth. I think many people are blinded by their own selfishness.

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  9. Heather says:

    Great post! A friend of mine, who I thought was just the happiest and kindest guy I ever knew, killed himself last month, and I was shocked. And I regret not just telling him how much he made me smile or how loved he was. This touched my heart, thank you for sharing.

    Like

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