The COVID-19 pandemic has stunned the entire world. By challenging life as we know it, it changed the way we understood the world, almost overnight. In this climate, as we are forced to stay apart, staying connected has never been more important. Although friends and family are isolated, we should still engage online through virtual acts of kindness throughout the Holy Month.
Since March, most of us have spent more time indoors – in isolation or in quarantine – and our physical distancing brought us closer socially, especially digitally. During Ramadan, we are adapting to an altered reality that will likely change how we observe the holy month. However, there are still plenty of ways we can give of ourselves.
Data from social platforms such as Instagram and Facebook show that words associated with kindness and good deeds – charity, donating and generosity – increased significantly during Ramadan. Last year, Instagram’s #MonthofGood was activated across the MENA region and several global markets, generating high engagement with users.
This year, with most of us directly or indirectly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have witnessed a groundswell of support toward people operating on the frontlines and the nameless, faceless heroes, who are ensuring that our lives function in the most frictionless way possible. As a result, we are already in a state of mind, wherein we have rallied together as a community and as a country to ensure that we remain victorious in the battle against an unseen enemy.
A few weeks into Ramadan, it is evident that more people on social media are trying to spread positivity to overcome anxiety given the current pandemic. Acts of goodness and kindness online are surging, and dedicating the holy month to these gestures will only bring us closer together as a global community.
In the UAE, for example, we are incredibly blessed to be a multi-cultural society, where the universal language of love and kindness is well accepted and appreciated. As human beings, people of all backgrounds and cultures understand and respond to the basic human principles of kindness, forgiveness, and selflessness.
By practicing acceptance and tolerance, extending a helping hand or using positive words and expressions we can all uplift our spirits and mental wellbeing. This becomes all the more important when using social media.
The fact is that on social media, people are very adept and skillful at filtering out who is genuine and authentic. As someone, who has used social media for years, I would share my experience that my digital presence and influence has grown over this period, because ‘I say what I mean, and I mean what I say’.
It is important to genuinely cultivate an attitude of kindness and sincerity online in order to ensure that one’s message is correctly and authentically disseminated. Remember that insincere or ungrateful messages are inevitably be reflected on the social media platforms.
Give of your time
Digital acts of goodness and kindness can truly go beyond financial support and gifts. Sometimes, all we need to give one another is our time. This becomes particularly important during times of isolation, when our regular channels of connecting offline are no longer available to us.
Creating or co-creating content with people around us, who are vulnerable, is a wonderful way of ensuring we maintain our connections, as well as preserve our wellbeing, and perhaps even a piece of our tradition or heritage in the process.
Family projects that are multi-generational are an excellent example of how we can reach out to the elderly, who are truly bearing a huge burden at this moment.
Look to creative collaborations with friends to produce meaningful content that might resonate with like-minded people or inspire the coming together of people around the world for a common purpose.
But also remember, everything we try to do within the space of spreading digital goodness and kindness doesn’t have to trigger a movement. If there’s one thing our current moment in time has revealed about human nature, it is that we are truly revisiting our priorities and the people who matter to us.
Deep reflection that results in the thoughtful recognition of the unsung heroes in our lives is an immeasurably powerful act of goodness.
And I know that many of us struggle with the act of sharing our own acts of kindness. It can feel awkward and you are not alone, but by sharing your kindness, you are probably influencing someone else to reach out and be kind. Isn’t that worth a share?