Being kind. Whilst it’s something we should try and do more of, it can be pretty difficult at times. Sometimes it can be really scary to show kindness to strangers or people in our lives, and other times it’s something we just forget to do.

Nevertheless, we think the world could always do with a little bit more of it. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Simple who have also partnered with the amazing Little Mix – to launch a mission to bring more kindness to the world, and to challenge you guys to spread a little bit of joy in your lives. 

This awesome list of challenges below are all things you can do to help us kickstart mission #ChooseKindness, and make being kind to others less scary and more a part of your daily life. Whether you choose to do one or two or challenge yourself to tackle the whole list, spread a little joy in your life with this list, and let us know on Instagram what you’ve been up to. Soon, you’ll be spreading love and good vibes everywhere without even thinking about it. 

1) Send out some positive internet vibes 

Leave a good review on Trip Advisor, send them some love on Twitter, review a product to help another shopper, buy something where the funds go to a good cause, make a cute Insta story about your friends. Whatever it is and however you do it, send out some positive vibes. 

2) Head to this IG post and leave a compliment for the person above you

Head over to our IG @ditchthelabel and leave a compliment for someone above you in the comments section on our post about #ChooseKindness – we are one big circle of love on the Ditch the Label IG right now.

3) Give a stranger a compliment 

Whether it’s on social media or on the bus, giving someone else a compliment is bound to make their day. Try a place where you might be waiting around some strangers – compliment someone’s bag at the bus stop, or comment on their hair in the queue at the coffee shop. Giving little compliments like this will not only build confidence in talking to other people, but it will make you better at receiving compliments as well as giving them. 

4) Check in with someone you haven’t spoken to in a while 

Even if it’s been what feels like too long, the chances are they would love that you thought about them and are curious about their life now. Drop them a message – it could be the beginning of a new chapter in your friendship. 

5) Talk to someone who is on their own at school or work, and invite them to sit with you 

Being on your own can be really lonely, and asking someone to sit with you could really make someone’s day – especially if they are having a tough time fitting in somewhere. Ask them about themselves and get to know them – you might actually find yourself a brand new friend.

6) Pay it forward

In a café, buy the person behind you in the queue a hot drink. For the cost of only a couple of pounds, this can get you some serious karma points with the universe. This kind of pay it forward deed might even inspire the person you bought coffee for to go ahead and spread a little love in their own way. 

7) Leave an uplifting note on someone’s car, bag or desk

This one might be a little scary, especially the fear of getting caught mid-good deed. But never fear – in a world of passive aggressive post-it notes going viral on the internet, being kind is much better. 

8) Do a litter pick just because, planet. 

We all know about the huge problem of plastic in our oceans. That’s why getting out and doing a litter pick is one the best deeds you can do. Picking up rubbish anywhere can help save wildlife, conserve habitats, stop it from blowing into waterways and make your town look nicer. For the sake of an hour of time, you have done so much good for the planet.

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9) Set up a book exchange outside your house

Got a bunch of books laying around the house that you don’t want or need? Set up a book exchange outside your house by putting them all in a box and suggest everyone swaps a book they don’t want for one they do. That way, anyone in your town can swing by and pick up a new read. This could be great if you have textbooks that need getting rid of after exams – it could really help out a cash strapped student near you. 

10) Help out an older neighbour  

Older people can often spend a fair bit of time on their own, and can sometimes spend days without speaking to anyone. If you have an elderly neighbour (who you know), offer to give them a helping hand do some chores for free. Chances are you’ll get a few biscuits for your hard work and they get the bonus of your company and some jobs doing that they probably can’t do anymore. Think grass mowing, dog walking, food shopping, or even just a cuppa and a chat.

11) Fundraise for a charity 

Whatever your cause of choice is, it’s always a great way to spread some good karma throughout the universe. You can raise awareness and a small donation through all kinds of things, like a sponsored silence, a bake sale, entering an organised event like a run, or holding another event like a gig night or a fashion show.  

12) Cook dinner for someone as a surprise 

Whether it’s a member of your family, your boyfriend/girlfriend or your bestie, everyone loves a bit of surprise food. Even if your idea of gourmet cooking is a sandwich or a microwave pizza, it’s the thought that counts. 

13) Tell someone you love them

No matter who they are to you, everyone that you love deserves to know it from time to time. Is there a better way to choose kindness than to spread the love? 

14) Write a letter to a loved one  

Everyone loves getting post. Taking the time to sit down and write something kind in a letter to a loved one or friend will show them how much you care, especially as it is more effort than firing off a quick message. It’s a great way to show them how much you love them. 

15) Be an ally 

Whether it’s to support someone you see being bullied or standing up against homophobic racist or sexist online chat, being an ally to someone or a group in need of support is a great way to spread the love. You can find out a bit more info on being an LGBT+ ally in our article here.

16) Donate a bunch of stuff to charity

We’ve made the last one an easy one – gather together all your old junk and clothes you haven’t worn for years and take it to a local charity shop. You get a spring clean AND good karma – WINNING! 

Here at Ditch the Label, we believe kindness should be a part of everything. Once you’ve completed your own #ChooseKindness challenge, don’t forget to tell us about it on our Instagram @ditchthelabel

You can also find out more about the #ChooseKindness campaign here

Girl on beach in leather jacket in summertime

Hi, I’m Billie, I’m 22 and living in London. I also happen to have a stoma bag. 

At the age of 20 I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC); one half of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (the other being Crohn’s) UC is a gut disease that attacks the good cells in the lining of the large intestine. My UC was so angry that almost a year to the day of my diagnosis, I underwent abdominal surgery gave me a stoma bag. A stoma is an opening in the abdominal wall and a bag is placed over it to catch waste. Basically, in simpler terms, I poo into a bag.

Without warning, without a reason and without a cure; my life was thrown upside down. Before I was diagnosed, I went through months of suffering without any knowledge of why my body was in so much pain. After a while, suddenly I was completely bed bound. I was stuck between my bed and my bathroom; unable to eat or sleep properly and crippled by severe anaemia. I’d lost two stone in a matter of weeks and wasn’t able to walk on my own. 

Finally, after months of suffering, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in January 2017 and put on a strong medication regime in an attempt at getting my angry body under control. After being on 20+ pills every day, going into hospital three times a week, medication side effects like losing most of hair, burning acne and crippling joint pain, the call for surgery was made in December 2017. 

From the moment I had surgery, I’ve been living my best life. I may be a little different, but I want to show our differences make us stronger. I’ve been using Instagram to raise awareness of the issue and now I’ve been lucky enough to be part of so many incredible campaigns, met thousands of fabulous people and found a confidence inside me I didn’t know I had. I’ve learnt so much through my journey; it has helped me to see how lucky I am and without my bag I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I have found a way to love myself through all that pain and come out the other side so much stronger. 

5 Tips for Starting Your Self Love Journey

1) Self-love isn’t linear 

You don’t wake up one day, love your body and continue to do so 100% of the time. Self-love isn’t a destination we reach; it is a journey of ups and downs where we learn so much about ourselves in times of joy and times of sadness or pain. I don’t love myself all the time but I am grateful for what I have now. After losing my hair and suffering with painful acne, I appreciate the full head of hair I have and the importance of looking after my skin. Throughout my UC-infested-colon days I lost a lot of weight and found it very difficult to look in the mirror.

My ribs, pelvis and spine were my defining features for a long time and I have come to understand what it means to be a healthy weight. Pre-illness I used to think skinny = worthy, but being skin and bones isn’t healthy and is no longer my goal. All I want is to be healthy and happy. At times I find it difficult to love my body; the bag of poo on my front and the routine that comes with it can be exhausting sometimes, but my bag gave me my life back in ways I never thought possible and I will always be grateful for that.

2) Do the things that make you happy 

Happiness means something different to everyone. To me, it’s a chilled evening in front of the TV after a home cooked meal. Happiness is a cuddle after a long day from the one I love the most or a cup of tea with a friend. Happiness to me is being healthy enough to hit the gym or go for a walk without needing to plan where the nearest bathrooms are. The rat-race of life can become all-consuming and sometimes we forget to do the things that make us happy; so, plan that time in! It’s so important. 

3) Everyone is different 

Self-love means different things to different people and the process we go about getting there is unique to each individual. After surgery I would compare my recovery process to others, but this did more damage than good because what helps others may not help me and vice versa. It helps to talk to others but we should take that advice and make it our own. 

4) It’s the little things

I’ve found that setting small goals along the way helped me the most in loving myself. I choose to focus on the little things in life, as I have come to realise they are the most important to me. It started throughout my recovery with walking unassisted for the first time, going back to the gym and being brave enough to go on holiday on my own. To me going for coffee with friends, sitting through a whole movie without needing to rush to the bathroom and being able to eat whatever I like, are just a few of the things that make me happy. They might seem small but they make me smile. 

5) Be selfish and learn to say no 

I always put other people before me and will continue to do so, however I have learnt that the people I love are just as important as I am. Being a little selfish once in a while isn’t a bad thing. Saying no to plans to stay in and watch TV or just read a book or do something that makes you happy is OK. Giving yourself some ‘me time’ is so important. 

For more from Billie, make sure you check out her Instagram @billieandersonx

If you are struggling with starting your self love journey or you need someone to talk to about anything, you can race out to the Ditch the Label Community here.

When shade can be thrown in any comments section, and subtweeting someone seems to be the only way to get stuff off your chest, it can seem like being negative online is a pretty common thing. The thing is, a lot of people don’t realise that the kind of negativity that they take part in online can actually be called cyberbullying, and can get serious.

1 in 3 people have been cyberbullied at some point in their lifetimes, and we are not into that. We do know though that sometimes it can feel easy to do it, like it’s the only way to express yourself, or like it won’t matter. That’s why we have come up with a little checklist of things to think about before you post something negative online, so that hopefully next time you think about doing it, you will make a cup of tea instead. 

1) Why are you posting it? 

Have a think about why you are posting it. Is it to take part in healthy debate and conversation or is it just to hurt someone’s feelings? A good idea is to write a list of as many reasons as you can think of why you feel the need to do it, and a list of reasons why you shouldn’t. Seeing it all written down might give you a bit of perspective on the situation. Plus, the chances are, you won’t be able to come up with that many reasons why you should. 

2) How are you saying it? 

We can all say stuff from time to time that comes across badly when we didn’t mean it to. Especially because we can’t really convey tone on the internet, and a lot of sarcasm, irony or even humour may get lost and taken the wrong way. Before tapping that send button it’s always a good shout to give your comment or message a read through and make sure you aren’t accidentally saying something you don’t mean. 

3) Can the person you are posting it to/about do anything about it? 

Is it a conversation that they can be a part of, offer their side of the story or defend themselves against any allegations that might get made? Imagine if you heard that all this stuff was being said against you behind your back, and you had no way of trying to solve the situation and make things right. It would totally suck, and would probably feel pretty unfair. 

4) Would you say it to their face? 

A big reason why we all find it easy to say negative stuff online is because we can do it from behind a screen, and it is way easier to type insults or rumours than it is to actually say them out loud. Always think if you would feel comfortable saying something to someone’s face before typing it out on your phone and hitting send. 

Plus, even though it might seem like it can be easy to be anonymous on social media, everything that you put out there is staying there until you take it down for the most part, and there is absolutely no guarantee it will stay anonymous forever. There is always going to be the possibility that you get in trouble for it somewhere down the line, or affect your career, relationships, school records and in the most serious of cases, could land you in trouble with the law. Not chill, huh? 

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5) How do you feel right now?

If you are thinking about saying something mean or negative online to or about someone, it might be a good idea to check in with yourself first. It might be that there is something going on with you that you didn’t even realise was making you want to behave this way. If there is, try talking to a trusted family member or friend about it first.

Usually, when we feel like posting something negative it is because we are already feeling a bit rubbish ourselves. If you don’t feel like you have someone to talk to about what’s going on with you right now, you can always talk to us. Reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here, and we will listen to you no matter what.

6) How do you think it will make you feel afterwards?

So, it’s actually a proven thing that the more we think negatively about other people, the more we beat ourselves up too. The chances are, you won’t actually be feeling that great about yourself after you’ve commented or slid into someone’s DMs with something mean. Reprogramming your thoughts into nice ones is a great way to stop your brain in its tracks, and will actually help you to think more positively about yourself. 

Grab a pen and paper and write whatever the negative thing is that you want to send. Then underneath it, write a reason why you shouldn’t, how it might make the other person feel, or something nice instead. Seeing this written out in front of you in your own handwriting might help you to see why it isn’t the best idea. By writing something nice instead, you might be able to see how being kinder is easier and how it even makes you feel better. 

7) Is it because they are famous/an influencer etc? 

Just because someone is famous or has loads of followers, doesn’t mean they won’t care what is said about them. They are humans too with feelings and emotions, and families and lives that might be affected by what you say. It can be super easy to forget that when they seem to only exist on Instagram or in tabloids, but they aren’t immune to feeling bad. Check out this piece with influencer @foodfitnessflora about how negativity has changed her life.

8) How will it affect their lives? 

There’s a good chance that whatever you say will have an actual impact on someone’s life. We know it might not seem like it when there is a screen and probably hundreds or maybe even thousands of miles between you, but whatever gets put out into the universe has the power to make waves and to damage someone’s life, career or relationship beyond repair. 

9) How would it affect you if you were on the receiving end? 

Ok so we know this is the kind of thing your teacher or your Mum used to say when they wanted to prove a point, but actually feeling empathy for other people is super important before you decide to say or send something negative online. If those notifications came popping up on your screen, the chances are you would feel a bit crap about the whole thing. 

If you want to talk to someone about online bullying or harassment, you can reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here.

So, you would have had to be living in a sea cave for the past week to have not noticed the ‘James Charles is Cancelled’ drama that has unfolded across the internet. Twitter went into full meltdown when several Kardashians hit the unfollow button in the wake of Tati Westbrook’s exposé, and YouTube has blown up with multiple videos dissecting the drama. Cancel culture is a huge part of internet life these days, with someone seemingly getting thrown under the bus every few months by former friends, colleagues and total strangers. It might not seem like it, but there are things we can all learn about life online from the James Charles saga, which is why we threw together this quick list. 

1) People are allowed to make mistakes 

Not all mistakes are equal. And the reaction to some of the stuff James has done seems to be more aggressive and personal than the internet reaction to major issues going on in the world today. Logan Paul wasn’t even cancelled this hard, and what he did was arguably a lot worse. Holding influencers to account for what they do and say is important, because we all listen to them at some point right? But having millions of people pointing out your mistakes must be pretty tough.

It is not the mistakes that we all make that should make us who we end up being, but how we handle them. So, if you fall out with a buddy, even if you are super stubborn and convinced you are in the right (#guilty), try reaching out to sort out the situation. It will give you a good idea of where you stand, and can be the first stepping stone to fixing your mistake. 

2) We get to make mistakes in private 

We all make mistakes. We have all fallen out with friends, said stuff we didn’t mean, done things we regret. The thing is, we all get to do this in private. With this playing out in the public arena, mostly on YouTube, every little mistake made in the history of his social media career is up for grabs by the entire world. We are pretty lucky that we can make similar mistakes in our own lives and only have to answer to a handful of people we might have hurt, not 16 million. This is true of pretty much every famous person, so have a think about the mistakes you have made and resolved in your own life before writing a negative comment to them online – we are all as likely to make mistakes as each other, famous or not. 

3) You cannot change someone’s sexuality

So, one of the things Tati mentioned was that James would always go after straight guys, even try and ‘change’ their sexuality. Whether someone is gay, straight, bisexual or anything else, their sexuality is their business and it isn’t for you to change. It is completely possible for your sexuality to be fluid throughout your life, but you can’t change someone else’s. After all, it’s theirs.  

4) It is ok to experiment with your sexuality

Although, she also called him out for ‘playing with other people’s sexuality, before they knew who they were yet’. This might make it seem like it is not ok to experiment with and explore your own sexuality. Of course, manipulating other people is not good, but the other guys involved in this might have simply been experimenting with their own sexuality without fully knowing who they were, and that’s ok. Your sexuality is yours to explore however you choose to, and you don’t have to be 100% certain what it is before you start to explore it. 

5) It is not ok to make someone feel uncomfortable 

But, it’s also pretty important to remember that some people have said that he made them feel pretty awkward and uncomfortable. Whilst it is absolutely fine, and normal, to experiment with and explore your sexuality, it is not ok to make someone else feel uncomfortable when you are doing so. If you feel like you might be making someone feel like this, maybe try and take a step back and have a think about the situation. It might be worth giving them some space and spending time with a few other people. 

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6) Cancel culture can ruin lives 

Social media is awesome – there is no denying it. It’s fun, free, totally addictive and has actually been really helpful for people all over the world to deal with their issues, be accountable, even fight injustice. The thing is though, when someone does something wrong, it can be really easy to cancel them. We’re not saying that some people didn’t need to be cancelled (Harvey Weinstein comes to mind), but when it happens over small spats, feuds and mistakes that can easily be sorted out off screen, it’s important to remember it can really ruin someone else’s life, even end it. Plus – it can literally happen to any of us, famous or not. 

7) Put yourself in someone else’s shoes 

Remember when you were a kid and you fell out with someone and before you knew it, everyone in the playground was on their side? It’s pretty much happened to every single one of us at some point – and it felt rubbish right? Especially because most of those people barely knew you, your friend, or anything about the situation. Well imagine that, multiplied a million times. 

We’ve all been in the position at least once in our lives when it has felt like the world is against us, and it’s really important to try to remember that before jumping into the comments section with negativity. We all know how the person on the receiving end feels.  

8) Some things are better discussed in private 

There’s a time and a place for airing out your drama or disagreements with friends, and the internet is not often the place to do it. By dragging people publicly who have upset you, it can put you and them and everyone else who knows both of you in a really difficult position – one where battle lines are going to get drawn. With James and Tati, what started as a small disagreement about product promotion now has the potential to ruin a career, a life. 

This drama with James and Tati is a pretty extreme example, as the audience is so massive. But making a private issue public when there are much easier ways to solve it can cause much more trouble in the long run. If you have fallen out with a friend over something, why not try private messaging them first? Or possibly popping around their house for a cup of tea and a chat. Even if the outcome is that you need time apart or that you can no longer be friends, doing it like this will be much more likely to give you the closure you both deserve, instead of making it bitter and resentful. 

9) 1 Tweet can ruin a life 

If there is one thing we can all learn from vitamingate (copyright us), it’s that we all need to be pretty careful how we behave on the internet. Whether that is thinking before we start subtweeting about someone who has upset us, comments we leave on videos and posts, or almost anything else – it’s important to remember that what you put out there is not going to go anywhere unless YOU take it down. Even if you take steps to make yourself anonymous in order to write some of it – there is absolutely no guarantee it is going to stay anonymous. 

If you feel the need to write something mean to someone online, have a think about why you feel that way. Why not try writing down all the logical reasons you can think of why you want to do it, and alongside it write all the possible consequences of your actions. Taking a step away from the keyboard can be tough when we feel fired up, but writing out how our actions could affect us and others makes it way more real than how hammering on our keyboards feels. 

10) Just because someone is famous, it does not make online abuse ok 

Famous people may be famous, but they are also people with human emotions. Fame and money does not buy them out of feeling bad when they see nasty comments or rude messages or even death threats. 

A really common thing to say in response to this is to say that ‘they know what they are getting themselves into when they pursue fame, so it’s fine’. Well, a lot of social media stars don’t actually start out their channels to become famous, and just do it for fun! When it becomes something that can make money, they carry on with it because let’s face it – who wouldn’t want to do something you enjoy for money?! But just because they have achieved fame doesn’t mean everything in their lives is fair game for nasty comments, and it definitely doesn’t mean that they don’t care about the negativity. 

If you have been affected by any of these issues and need someone to talk to, reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here

Sometimes, the world can totally suck. When it seems like nothing is going quite right and everything turns rubbish all at once, it can be pretty difficult to find something that will make you feel like smiling. That’s where we come in. We have put together this list of 11 amazingly positive Instagram accounts to bring a daily dose of positive into your life, which will surely have you feeling like how Billy Ray Cyrus probably felt when he got asked to be on that Old Town Road remix.  

1) Literally, what it says on the tin @thehappynewspaper

Feel like the news is always a massive bummer? Well the people over at @thehappynews have got your back. This is the account for a real actual newspaper published by people who think the news is too sad these days. So if you need to hear about all things good and wonderful in the world, give these guys a follow instantly.

2) Starting you on a self-love journey @i_weigh

Jameela Jamil’s online body positivity base is a now a dream of an account, filled with personal interviews with everyone’s favourite celebs, memes, affirmations and loads more. It’s pretty much the perfect toolkit to kick start your self-love journey.

3) Who says cartoons are for kids? @poorlydrawnlines

One of many absolutely hilarious Insta-cartoonists out there, Poorly Drawn Lines is serving up adorable animal cartoons coupled with some seriously sarcastic giggles. This is the dream for when you need an instant laugh that will probs turn into three hours of scrolling looking for the funniest one.

4) Giving you some serious wanderlust @natgeotravel

So it might be making your day better whilst also giving you some serious travel/holiday jealousy, but this National Geographic account is always beautiful to look at. Plus, if it gives you some ideas on where to go travelling when you finally get to go, then that’s a big ol’ bonus.

5) Serving up positive vibes and pretty pictures @stacieswift

Imagine you’ve let an 8 year old draw what they think positivity looks like. Well, throw some serious motivational quotes in there and you basically have Stacie’s IG.

6) All we can say is: Fooooooood @buzzfeedtasty

Sometimes, looking at all the tasty treats you can make with your mates on Saturday afternoon is the only thing that will perk you up on a Tuesday morning. Well @buzzfeedtasty is going to hook you up with pizza dough balls, cheese stuffed burgers, peanut butter cheesecake and some chocolate chip cookie recipes that will destroy your mind.

7) So many dogs @harlowandsage

CAN YOU EVEN????!!!!!! This account for a group of five mischievous doggos and a kitten, along with all their other four-legged pals, is just so full of squidge-able faces and high-five-able paws, there is no way this won’t make your day 107% better.

8) Colour colour colour @ohhappyday

Do you need some completely random, totally unconnected, yet equally bright and beautiful pics that make your feed look like you are living in a Disney movie? @ohhappyday is the absolute one. Think balloons, ice cream, sunshine, sprinkles, rainbows and so much yellow.

9) Comedy meets celebs @Waverider_

This account will give you all the comedy remakes of famous people photos that you never even knew you needed. Even though he is making about four photos a year at this point, when it crops up in your feed, it will definitely give you a laugh.

10) Serving lewks and unsolicited advice since the day you were born @fashiondads_

You know when your Dad is rocking an outfit so bad that you really don’t want to be seen to be related to him? Well @fashiondads_ records every shit, shocking and superb Dad outfit you’ve ever seen. They wore bumbags and bucket hats before it was cool.

11) Human stories @humansofny

Basically everyone has heard of @humansofny, but in case you haven’t, this account is a sure fire way to get a smile on your face with its pictures of real people and real stories of what they have achieved and overcome.

So next time you go scrolling through IG for the fifth time that afternoon, give one of these guys a follow for some guaranteed giggles, or at least a smile. Oh – we almost forgot…

12) US!

For some daily inspiration, memes, cute pics, motivation, and generally amazing posts (ok we might be biased) give our Instagram a follow @ditchthelabel. We promise smiles and good vibes.

We caught up with singer-songwriter Sody on her new single, her experiences of bullying and what the future holds for her. Check out her new single The Bully on Spotify, YouTube, iTunes and Apple Music.

Hey Sody, Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hey! I’m Sody, my real name is Sophie, and I’m a recording artist and songwriter. I am 18, from West London and a Netflix addict with an obsession for cheese. I’m quite strong minded and try to write music that is raw and relatable that is directly about my personal experiences.

Were you bullied at school?

I first experienced bullying in year 7 and 8 by various people in different year groups because I had acne. I remember so clearly a boy in the year above me called me ‘volcano head’ which made me so insecure. I tried to cover it up with makeup but that would only make my skin worse. I would sweat in class for fear people were staring at my face and neck. It was a horrible time and I felt disgusting.

I was lucky enough to go on a tablet which cleared up all my spots and it felt so good to come back into school at the beginning of year 9 with clear skin and newly dyed hair – I was now a platinum blonde. But the bullying didn’t stop there as that’s when I released music as ‘Sody’, and people found a new reason to tease me.

Album artwork for the song The Bully by Sody

You have just released your new single, how does it feel? What inspired the song?

It does feel good but I was also incredibly anxious and nervous to release ‘The Bully’. We all want to feel popular because somehow we think that brings worth and so telling the world that actually you don’t have a cool friendship group is quite scary.

Society seems to think that only certain people are likely to be bullied but the truth is anyone, anywhere, can be bullied, whether that’s at school, at work or at home. I felt so strongly about telling other people what happened to me at school in the hope they realise they’re not alone!

What are your experiences of bullying?

My experiences have been in person and online. Sometimes, people were upfront with the bullying, other times it would be through leaving me out and ignoring my existence, groups of people taunting me and of course via social media. People in my school would also encourage students at other schools to dislike me too, so I had no chance of going anywhere else and starting over.

About 6 months after I had left that school, I was invited to go back to the annual rugby match that students and alumni could go to. I knew in my heart that I shouldn’t have gone but if I’m honest I still wanted to believe there was a chance I could be friends with some of them, and a couple of girls had told me how excited they were to see me.

However, when I arrived, some of the girls were saying ‘why the f*&k is she here’, one girl said that she wanted to stamp on my face, and people were chanting ‘Sody, Sody, Sody.’ because they knew it bothered me when they didn’t call me Sophie.

To cut a long story short, I ended up leaving the after party after I was publicly humiliated by a bunch of girls who used to bully me at school. They were screaming at me that everyone hated me, that I wasn’t welcome to these events and I should just ‘f*&k off’ out of everyone’s lives. One girl even filmed it and posted it on Snapchat. No one stood up for me, so I left. But then about 50 people followed me out the door, laughing as I jumped into a taxi. I felt so alone, embarrassed, ashamed and I was truly devastated.

Portrait of Sody in a yellow jumper

How have you overcome that? How has your experience shaped you?

I overcame bullying by going to therapy and by finding an outlet. At first, I believed it was all my fault and that I was the problem. But you shouldn’t have to change who you are for anybody and I needed someone to tell me that. It definitely has shaped me into the woman I am today. All I know is that I want people to be aware of how harmful their words can be.

I put on this hard front but I was so broken because I didn’t have a friend I could talk to, ever. I still don’t have a best friend from my school days. It’s important to remember that it’s okay to not have found ‘your people’ in school as it’s just a bubble and when you leave school there are so many other people out there. I just had to keep reminding myself that there is so much more to life that what I was going through at the time. Music saved me!

We saw on your social media that you have been going around schools to talk about bullying – what drove you to do that?

I felt alone when I was being bullied. Yes, I had family around me which was a huge help but I wished there was someone my age who could understand what it felt like. I know there are many artists who have opened up about their experiences later in their careers but I really wanted to do this whilst it was so recent and raw. I feel like right now I am in the best position to speak to other young people about this stuff because I’m so close in age to them.

Sody sitting on the floor with white trainers and pink trousers

If you could any young person who is going through bullying right now any advice, what would it be?

Don’t keep it bottled up. Tell someone. It’s so hard, I know, but it will get better. Find an outlet and make sure something that makes you happy and stimulates you. Sing, go for a run, paint, bake a cake or write a poem — just do something that takes your mind away from those people and the stuff you are having to deal with. And, put your phone away! I realised that was a huge part of my unhappiness and once I separated myself from it, I felt better.

It’s such an exciting time for you right now – how are you feeling about the future?

Well I’m actually just about to go travelling around Europe for 3 weeks so I’m excited to experience new things and meet new people. Also, to take some time off from social media and just live in the moment. When I’m back I have a super busy schedule including a writing trip to LA, more music releases and my headline show on Monday 20th May at The Waiting Room in London. There’s a lot to be excited about right now!

You can check out Sody’s video for The Bully below!

Tell us a bit about yourself 

‘I’m a model and body acceptance activist. I first began using my Instagram in 2017 as a platform to talk about the human body and body acceptance. From this, I was noticed by Leyah Shanks from The Body Confidence Revolution, as well as numerous other influential charities and public figures. I have been working closely with organisations that focus on getting to know the body and understanding its importance, rather than its limitations.

Modelling is a huge passion of mine, but working with women is my purpose. Supplying them with the tools they need to be happy and healthy in their bodies, as well as knowing when to speak up and ask for what they deserve, is very important to me.’

So you’ve always spoken about body acceptance? 

‘Since I was about twenty, I’ve been passionate about the human body. Our bodies are incredible. It’s appalling that we are in 2019 and people are still spending so much time and effort thinking about their bodies, wishing they could change this or that. It’s a scandal perpetuated by a greedy industry. So many strong and powerful women are beating themselves up every day about how they look.

I grew up hating myself and learning other people’s hate for my body, so it has been a long journey, but it had been one of the most powerful experiences. It has set me free.’

How did you grow your confidence in your body? 

‘Strangely, one of the most influential forces came from my dog. The shelter that I rescued him from was closing down and so I decided to run a race to raise money for it. I went from couch to half marathon in 10 weeks. It was through that that I really began to realise the power of my body and what it could do. 

I have recently signed up to run the Vitality 10k in London in May, which I am really excited about, because I get to run in my undies past Big Ben and no one can stop me.’

What do you love about the body positive movement? 

‘I actually use ‘body acceptance’ more than the term ‘body positivity,’ because for me it is coming more from a place of accepting who you are. Body positivity is a movement made by and for fat women, so it’s important to differentiate between the two. Body acceptance is about being happy and learning to love your body. For example, I’m working with women who have breast cancer and finding out how they perform self love and body acceptance even when they feel like their bodies have turned against them.

I love the body acceptance movement because I am part of this amazing group of wonderful, powerful, amazingly supportive women who look out for each other. That’s amazing. They’re amazing.’

You’ve also spoken a lot about online sexual harassment – what have been your experiences? 

‘Online sexual harassment is a form of online bullying, but no one sees it that way. Comments and DMs, unsolicited dick pics, links to porn videos – I receive them all and it is every single day without fail. Sadly, it is so often met with “well you’re asking for it if you post that kind of content.” My stance is this: How I present my body to the world is my choice, and people have no right to force their sexual desires onto me without my consent. It is harassment and it is bullying. 

I tend to decline this kind of stuff straight away. The intention of these messages is to reduce me to a sexual fantasy. It takes me back to when I was a teenager and would get leered at and catcalled in the street by men or the moments in my life where I have been groped and touched without my consent. I find it can be quite triggering, particularly on a bad day.’ 

What do you do to combat this kind of harassment? 

‘There is a lot of deleting and blocking. If someone is following me just to objectify me, I don’t want them on my page. Instagram also doesn’t tend to be very effective at getting rid of cyberbullies. I also get a lot of (guys especially) saying things like “Why do you feel the need to put your body on the internet?” This is frustrating because I can tell they’re trying to psychoanalyse me and get me to admit I have some darker issues that I’m working through. I don’t. I’m very proud of my body and I have no shame in it. We need to normalise nudity because sexualising it has gotten women into a lot of trouble. It’s made us into objects and fantasies, rather than people.

A lot of people would say that I should just ignore them and not let it get to me, but that’s not the point. The point is that calling them out on this kind of thing in a public space could teach them something about respecting women. But perhaps also, a young girl or woman on my page will see me standing up for myself and know that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable, and that it’s okay to use their voices against bullies who try to diminish them.’

Do you have advice on dealing with online harassment for young girls? 

‘There is always the option to block and ignore it. But I think the focus needs to be on giving them the tools and knowledge in understanding that their bodies are not sexual assets and these things that are being said to them aren’t anything to do with them. Online sexual harassment is a result of how women have been presented to the world, and how that has been absorbed by some of the men in our society. These fantasies and illusions that are projected on you are not your fault. You are allowed to be sexual and enjoy your body without being punished for it. You don’t deserve to be treated badly. Men treat me badly online everyday, I can’t stop them from doing that. But I can arm myself with the understanding that it is not my fault. 

In some cases unfortunately, this won’t work, and it can escalate. Like for me, I have regularly experienced rape and death threats on my page and in my DMs.  There was one occasion when a guy started out with a really harmless message and it escalated really quickly into messages about wanting to kill me, about knowing where I lived and that he was going to kidnap and murder me. When things start to escalate like this, the only thing you can do is call the police, just to be on the safe side.

I would say to anyone experiencing any kind of online harassment is that it is important to find your ‘sisterhood’ or ‘brotherhood’, because they will support you. Whether that means your friends or family or an online community of people – it is important to find those who give you strength. Bullying can make you feel so isolated, so find your army.’

Finally, why did you want to work with us here at Ditch the Label? 

‘Ditch the Label and me work wonderfully as a team because I help highlight all of the root causes of harassment like toxic masculinity, transphobia, homophobia etc. and Ditch the Label helps the victims of those affected by these issues. We can’t solve one without the other. Education is first and foremost. Whilst we have to teach some how to be better people and identify the root causes of their ignorance, we also have to give strength and support to those affected by online bullying. We can do this. We will fight for each other.’

To keep up with Jessica and all of her awesome activism, follow her Instagram @jess_megan_

For hilarious memes, cute pics and inspirational quotes every day, follow us on Instagram @ditchthelabel

Your pals are important right? They cheer you up when your sad, hang out with you when you’re bored, put you back together after a break up and make you laugh until you cry. However, some of us can be a bit guilty of neglecting out friends from time to time. Life can get away with us, and it can be easy to fall out of touch when we are so busy living our own lives, especially if we don’t get to see them all the time. So, here is a few tips to get you winning at being a long-distance friend. 

Check in every now and then, even if your busy 

It might seem obvious, and often impossible when we are all leading crazy busy lives, but checking in every now and then is a great way to keep the lines of communication open. Send them a message telling them how amazing their holiday snaps were or just a quick message to say hi. It won’t take more than a couple of minutes out of your day but will feed the friendship and stop any chance of you guys falling out as a result of lack of contact. 

Always remember their birthday 

With social media reminding you at every turn, there is no excuse to forget a buddy’s birthday. If you still need a bit of an extra push, set a reminder on your phone for the morning of their birthday, and as soon as it goes off, send them a message. Also, it’s always best to send them a DM, text or Whatsapp than it is to post on their public social media feed. It feels more personal and, whilst it is not a substitute for you being with them, it feels like you care more if you have taken the time to write something specific to them.

Surprise them 

This goes for birthdays, Christmas, other religious festivals and even when they are post break up and feeling crap. Every now and then, send them a little something that shows you care. A handwritten letter, a proper birthday card, a post break-up pick-me-up, even something from their favourite online store. You could even send them a gift through their favourite online game, a voucher for an online streaming service – anything. It doesn’t have to be much, or every single time there is something to celebrate or cheer them up about, but when it’s a special occasion or they are having a really shit time, it’s important to show you care in a more real way than a quick DM. 

Have something to say in the group chat 

It can be super easy to scroll over the group chat and have a chuckle at what everyone has to say, but actually not ever engage. This is because of the way social media works – we are all passive communicators now. This basically means that we are so used to just looking at updates from friends as a spectator but never actually engaging with them. Instead, by having something to say and interacting with everyone at once, you still appear present in the group and it will likely be less awkward next time you see them in person.

Facetime when you can 

It’s not always easy to find what will probably end up being a solid hour or two in your day to have a Facetime, phone call or Skype session with your bestie. But, doing so once every few months you spend apart will mean you have a proper chance to check in on each other’s lives and some important stuff won’t get swept under the rug, like it can do after a large period of time has passed in between seeing each other. 

Book in quality time

When you are finally in the same place as each other for a while, make sure you book in some quality time. Whether that is just hanging out at your house, going for a walk, getting lunch or a coffee together, booking in an afternoon when you can spend a few hours with each other in each other’s company will make sure your friendship never turns stale. It’s a great chance to remind you why you are friends in the first place, and why you have been putting all this effort in. 

There you have it – you are now the best long distance friend anyone has ever been so lucky to have had. Use this power wisely.

Join the conversation, and reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here.

Woman in girl power t shirt

Feminism gets a bad rap most of the time. Making headlines for transphobia, man-hating and bra burning, loads of people today don’t even like being associated with the term ‘feminist’. But, it’s not all bad, and in fact most feminists do not agree with any of the stuff that you might have heard. That’s why we scoured Google for the biggest (autocomplete) myths about feminism, so that we can prove them wrong #thefutureisfemale. 


1) You can’t be a guy and be feminist

Literally everyone can be a feminist, and many guys out there are. In fact, feminism at it’s heart believes in equal rights for men and women, meaning men can benefit from it as well through things like equal maternity and paternity leave. Let’s hear it for the boys!


2) All feminists hate men

Feminism is literally about equal rights for everyone. That’s it. That is what it all boils down to. Hating the systematic oppression of women in society, hating catcalling and sexual harassment, hating the pay gap, is definitely not the same thing as hating men. 


3) You can’t show skin and be feminist 

A lot of people think that being a feminist is incompatible with showing skin. This thought assumes all women bare their flesh to make a man happy or to attract one, which is just wrong. Sometimes it’s just a hot day, sometimes we aren’t in to guys, sometimes we like our outfits that way, and sometimes it can be empowering AF to be free with our bodies.


4) You can’t be a feminist and be into beauty/fashion

Being a feminist does not have to dictate what you wear, how you wear it, how long your hair is or if you like to wear make-up. In fact, the best thing about feminism is that it fights for a woman’s right to choose to do what they want, whenever they want, without prejudice or judgement. Plus make-up isn’t just for women – everyone can use it! So if you want to watch hours of make-up tutorials on Youtube and spend a little too much money on an eye shadow palette, then you do you.


5) You can’t be a feminist and listen to rap music

Dude. Seriously? So, we get where this is coming from, given that many lyrics in rap music are pretty sexist. But this totally disregards all the women in rap, hip hop and RnB that have worked incredibly hard on their music and built a career in a male dominated music genre.


6) You can’t be a feminist and get married or be a mum

So many feminists are married and have children, and in fact advocate for mother’s rights and for the rights of their children to live in a world free from prejudice. Dealing with issues such as breastfeeding, returning to work after kids and choices around raising children all can have a feminist perspective. Check out Chrissy Teigen and Amy Schumer, who give us some seriously powerful feminist mum vibes.


7) Feminism isn’t needed anymore 

‘You have the vote, you can drive, what more do you want?’ There are so many things feminism has yet to tackle. The gender pay gap, pervasive sexual harassment, unequal maternity and paternity leave to name only very few. Plus, not all women have equal rights around the world, and that is a hugely important thing to remember when asking if feminism is really needed.


Equality is awesome. For more content on equal rights, love, inspiration and more, follow us on Instagram @ditchthelabel

Join in the conversation now and join our community here.

Probably everyone at some point has thought about the possibility of making money from gaming at some point in their life. Maybe it was when you were 10 and mastering your Game Boy, or maybe you are deep in Twitch streams every day after class now. If you game frequently though, you know there are always ways to get better. That’s why we have put together a little list of tips for making the fastest improvements to your gaming. 

Just before we start the list, make sure you keep an eye out for our tournaments with Lt. LickMe and UMG. We run them every month, so get Twitch at the ready because we will be streaming alongside some epic players raising awareness about cyberbullying in games. 

1) Team work makes the dream work 

It may be a very obvious thing to day, but if you’re game of choice is a team game, communication is the key to success. Always make sure you are updating others on your location, planning tactics or calling for the ball (#RocketLeagueForever) as well as letting the rest of your team know what the opposition are up to.

Just make sure you are staying on the right side of the rule book – Fortnite publishers Epic are anti-teaming in a solo game of Battle Royale and have said they will be cracking down on those who take on the 100 in illegal teams so make sure you are playing by the rules before creating a squad.


2) Play by the rules 

There has been a lot of talk recently about the level of cheating in online gaming. Whilst it might seem tempting as a quick way to rise through the ranks of your online opponents, cheating is a big risk. Apex Legends just banned 350,000 players for cheating in the game, and publishers Respawn can track hardware ID to ensure you can’t just start a new account with a new email. Plus, it’s not just them – other publishers are cracking down on the use of cheating apps and tactics. Basically, don’t do it – or you’ll get banned at some point. And you can’t improve on your gaming with no game to do it in. 


3) Take it from the pros

It’s true in any sport ever – you learn from people who are better than you at the game. So put the controller down and hit up Twitch, YouTube, and Reddit. If your pals are better, take some pointers from them after they have had a particularly good run. It all adds up! Also, if you can, get yourself down to a gaming expo or convention – these events are full of brands, publishers, developers and pro gamers who are literally waiting to share their advice, challenge you to tournaments and let you try new games. All of this experience is sure to add to your gameplay. 


4) Replay Replay Replay

If someone has owned you with a kill only Shroud could dream of, don’t take it personally. In fact, watch the action replays of how they managed it. That was you can see what you did wrong and what they did right so that you aren’t making the same mistakes twice, and steal their tactics for next time. You’ll soon have a streak to die for (not you though – you are too good to die now).


5) Cut the toxicity 

We’ve all heard a lot about toxic gaming lately. But it is true that cutting some of this behaviour, or removing yourself from a match that is full of it, will definitely help to improve your game play. Insulting, abusive language, cheating, blaming every bad move on other players – if you are filling up your game time with all of this then how are you ever going to get better? Plus, if you are around it all the time, the game quickly becomes way less fun than before. So cut out the toxic behaviour from your gaming, whether it is you or others who are doing it, and start focussing on other things. 


6) Explore 

It might sound obvious, but remember to have fun whilst you are playing. Explore new maps, worm out those elusive Easter Eggs you heard about on Twitter, play a round just with your buddies for the LOLs. Taking it all too seriously is a sure fire way to get worked up, and anger never helped anyone to win a game of Battle Royale. This is a great way to reset any toxic behaviour and get your gaming back to having fun. Remember – if it’s fun, the hours you spend getting better will go by in no time. 


For great content, daily inspiration, influencer takeovers, cute pics and loads more, follow us on Instagram @ditchthelabel

If you or someone you know is experiencing cyberbullying, join the Ditch the Label community here and we will help.