Buckle up, kids. It’s story time.

This morning my mom and I went to Walgreen’s. I have strep throat and wanted a Gatorade and some popsicles, so we stopped in for a second. When we were leaving and approaching the exit of the parking lot, we stopped short because a woman in a Subaru came barreling in like she was the only person in the whole universe. She swung out wide and used the entire space to enter the lot. So we stopped in order to avoid being hit. She saw us looking at her, so she rolled down her window.

“What are you looking at?” she asked.

“Nothing,” my mom said. “I just wanted to give you enough room to get in because you were in the middle of the entrance.”

I won’t tell you what she called my mom in response. It’s not worth repeating.

This older woman, sunglasses on and dripping with privilege at 8:30 on a Saturday morning, was a shining example of the irreparable damage that has been done to our country. Not only is it OK to say whatever you feel out loud to anyone (you know, freedom of speech and all) but it is apparently OK to attack someone based on something you don’t agree with. And it’s funny. What this woman doesn’t know is that my mom is a strong, courageous, smart, and witty woman who would never let some miserable person ruin her day.

But the next person this woman insults might not be my mom. Really, you never know who is on the receiving end of your comments—which is why it is so important to choose your words wisely.

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it.”

Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Happiness vs. Suffering

Since this post is all about the repercussions of sharing your opinions out loud, I might as well share one of mine with you: I truly believe that Kristen Bell is one of the greatest human beings on this earth. Aside from all of her professional accomplishments—AKA playing Veronica Mars and Princess Anna of Arendelle and being married to Dax Shepard—Kristen Bell is an empathetic, kind, sweet, and intuitive woman. On her episode of Dax’s podcast, she shared her philosophy for her life and it all boils down to this: happiness versus suffering.

In every aspect of her life, Kristen weighs the happiness factors against the suffering factors and she makes her decisions based on her own altruism. She has so much self-esteem that it doesn’t serve her to put other people down. She doesn’t get jealous and she doesn’t act spitefully.

Even though she believes her motivations are selfish (because helping others makes her feel good), I sincerely believe that if everyone subscribed to this attitude—even just a little bit—the world would be a better place. Going forward, let’s all make an effort to lift each other up instead of tearing each other down. Be cognizant of your words and actions. Be Kristen Bell.

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