koko logo - a blue circle with the text 'koko - keep on keeping on'

Stop, look, and listen


There’s this memory I have that I’m pretty ashamed of… it’s of being in primary school and sitting next to my best friend Charlotte.

We were doing a test and sitting in silence, filling in the answers but I was really stuck on some of the questions. I started to panic, looking to my right Charlotte was busy filling in her paper, she must know the answers I thought! And here’s the bit that I’m not proud of…

I nudged Charlotte and pointed to one of the questions I was stuck on ‘I think you’ve got that one wrong,’ I whispered. I looked down at her paper and said ‘And that one.’ I went back to my test and filled in the answers that I’d nicked from Charlotte, leaving her looking worried.

When I got the test back and realised the answers that I’d taken from Charlotte were correct I was so relieved. The truth is, I used that ‘you’re wrong’ deception a few more times, I didn’t like the feeling of doing it just so I could get ahead but I really wanted to do well on the tests.

I feel really bad when I think back to it. I can still vividly remember the look on Charlotte’s face when I left her with the bombshell that she was wrong. She was thrown and couldn’t get on with the rest of her test.

Recently I got a bit of a taste of my own medicine, I’d posted a film online that I’d worked really hard on and almost instantly I got a message from a stranger that criticised me and said some pretty hurtful stuff. Initially, I was a bit thrown, I really took those words to heart and chewed over them ‘Is what they’re saying right?’ I felt deflated and spent pretty much a whole morning questioning my ability. I decided to sit down and write about how I was feeling, as I find it helpful to get all the thoughts and emotions out on a page. As I began to write I was reminded of what I did to Charlotte, swooping in and criticising. I felt ashamed, I don’t want to ever carelessly criticise another person again, it can do a huge amount of damage.

There will be times in our lives when people put us down, some get a kick out of it, some do so to get ahead and to feel more important. Some people put others down because they themselves have been hurt and put down, like a bully at school often has underlying issues that cause them to inflict pain on others. It’s really important to check your motivation before you say something about someone else whether that’s in person, behind their back or on social media. When we’re crossing a road we don’t just walk out, we stop, look, and listen. It’s ingrained into us from an early age because of how dangerous it is to step in front of moving traffic. Could we train ourselves in the same way to stop, look, and listen to our motivations and our conscience before we say something about someone else? Let’s not be careless with our words today but instead be full of care and consideration.


Photo by Alissa De-leva

Back to all blog posts