05 Ogunquit Beach - Umbrella and Two Aderondack Chairs by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper, 8/2017

Checking into FaceBook on my lunch break and I see that a few friends are going through rough times and some, just by the tone of their posts, are hurting…

And I get to thinking: Our words matter and we can make a difference.

True story, a month or so ago, a Facebook friend posted a video and explained she was actually contemplating suicide the night before — thankfully for all of us and for her, she made the calls, talked to people, reached out, realized she was not alone, got the help she needed — thank God — she is still with us and feeling better. In her video, she thanked everyone for the difference all of their positive comments made. She was crying and she expressed how profoundly she felt the love and good thoughts from people.

Those positive comments helped save her life.

Often, you can tell by people’s comments and posts that they are hurting, depressed, going through a difficult time.

YOUR comments can make a difference.

I see another person who keeps putting himself down and actually said he’s unlovable.

I see another who is clearly battling severe depression.

I see another who is just hurting.

I see another new mom who is so very tired and battling the task of working her jobs and taking care of her new child.

And the list goes on.

YOUR comments can make a difference. As an example, for the man who calls himself unlovable, I see all the positive comments that people post. He’s a good guy — he just doesn’t see it in himself how lovable he is. So I add my own comment that he is a great guy and remind him of a good time we had and how much people like him.

Last year a friend was going through a very tough time and talked about it a lot on social media. So many people posted good comments. She and I talked privately a few times; while I couldn’t fix what was going on, I could offer encouragement, listen to her, and add my observation that she was a great parent and my faith that it would all work out. A year later she is doing much better. She did all the work to make her life better, but I helped just a little by being kind.

So if I can suggest, the next time you’re on social media and you see that friend who had a bad day, or you know them well enough to understand that it’s depression, or life events, or health issues — you don’t need to be specific — but say something kind.

You look great in that picture! Your post made my day! Thinking of you. Praying for you! It WILL get better. We should grab a burger. Hey, can I call?

When you’re on social media, make time to find that one person you can see needs something kind, and just make a kind comment.

This month, positive comments helped save a person from doing the unthinkable. Imagine what your kind comment might do!

Your homework: get on social media, find that friend who needs a kind word, and post it to them. Do it now. I’ll wait.

Done? You just made the world a better place.

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