Iâ€™m sure youâ€™ve seen this hashtag, right? Itâ€™s commonly used on social media, accompanying what the poster is claiming to be an untouched, unedited photograph. Sometimes the photo is of a beautiful sunset, or of someone being him/herself.
I donâ€™t know for sure â€“ and didnâ€™t even try to look this up â€“ but Iâ€™m guessing the hashtag developed from the effects or filters someone can add to their photos on Instagram or Snapchat. How it came to be doesnâ€™t really matter â€“ at least not to me.
Itâ€™s just strange to me because #nofilter (with or without the hashtag) has always meant something else to me. (Sort of like how â€œhashtagâ€ is really â€œpoundâ€ but donâ€™t use the latter and expect anyone under 30 to know what you mean.)
When I was growing up, I heard â€œno filterâ€ a lot. From everyone. Describing me. The point was that I said whatever came to my mind â€¦ no hesitation, no buffer, no filter. And, when I was younger, I carried that label with a badge of honor. I wasnâ€™t going to censor myself. If I had an opinion on something, good or bad, nice or not, I would share it. I didnâ€™t care who was around. Didnâ€™t care if my opinion was relevant or not. Didnâ€™t care whose feelings I hurt.
Yeah, I was a brat (the nicer of the â€œbâ€ words you were thinking right then).
As I have grown, matured, gotten older, Iâ€™ve learned to filter myself. I donâ€™t see it as censorship or some sort of denying of who I really am new-age psychobabble. I see it as knowing my audience (something writers should most definitely be able to do). I see it as an extension of the Golden Rule. I see it as simply being kind. Yeah, I had to learn how to be kind; but like most things, it gets easier the more you do it.
This past week has been a tough one. So much negativity from so many directions; so many not nice opinions close to home and around the world. Mean things aimed at my
Itâ€™s so easy nowadays to broadcast whatever you want to say to the whole wide world. And, all too often, I think, people do it with #nofilter. It makes me so sad.
I keep remembering something my grandma used to say (and I know she wasnâ€™t the only one): â€œIf you canâ€™t say something nice, donâ€™t say anything at all.â€ That used to bug the heck out of me when sheâ€™d say that (and Iâ€™d tell her as much, too). Now, Iâ€™d give anything to hear her say that again, just so I could reply: â€œYouâ€™re right, grandma. Youâ€™re so right.â€
Together we can change the world, just one random act of kindness at a time.Ron Hall
At the risk of sounding like a dork, asking â€œcanâ€™t we all just get along,â€ why canâ€™t we think more carefully about how our words affect others? Why canâ€™t we have kindness filters?