Lady Gaga has taken her philanthropic work to the next level by teaming up her non-profit organization, The Born This Way Foundation, with the TODAY Show to share kindness with the whole entire world.
Together, Lady Gaga, The Born This Way Foundation, and the TODAY Show aim to empower 1,000,000 acts of kindness before the end of the year.
The pop superstar recently opened up about her own mental health struggles and it has been those very struggles that have encouraged the artist to look for new ways of healing. As she explains, living a life of kindness has become the greatest method of healing for her.
In an open letter posted on her organization’s website, Lady Gaga writes, “I have wrestled for some time about when, how and if I should reveal my diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). After five years of searching for the answers to my chronic pain and the change I have felt in my brain, I am finally well enough to tell you. There is a lot of shame attached to mental illness, but it’s important that you know that there is hope and a chance for recovery.”
She continues, “I believe that the most inexpensive and perhaps the best medicine in the world is words. Kind words…positive words…words that help people who feel ashamed of an invisible illness to overcome their shame and feel free. This is how I and we can begin to heal. I am starting today, because secrets keep you sick. And I don’t want to keep this secret anymore.”
Through the brave admission of her diagnosis and personal struggles, Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta, Co-Founder of The Born This Way Foundation together with her daughter, visited the Ali Forney Center, a shelter for homeless LGBTQ+ youth in Harlem in New York City.
Here, Lady Gaga and her mother surprised the youth with gifts and presents of all types and kinds for the holiday season, including scarves, makeup, socks, clothes, gift cards, and very inspiring and empowering positive messages from Gaga herself.
According to the Ali Forney Center, LGBTQ+ youth are 8x as likely to experience homelessness throughout their lifetime than non-LGBTQ+ youth and more than 640,000 LGBTQ+ youth are currently experiencing homelessness in the United States at this very moment.
One of the young men currently taking shelter at the Ali Forney Center stated, “I was on the street actually when I came here. I was sleeping on the train, at McDonald’s.”
Another youth said, “I know my parents love me and, you know, I know my family loves me, but a lot of times I felt like they really didn’t get to see me. Lady Gaga’s act of kindness today is a reminder that love still exists and that there’s still some for me.”
For Lady Gaga, kindness is not just about being nice. She remarks, “Kindness to me is an action of love or a showing of love to someone else and I also believe that kindness is the cure to violence and hatred around the world. I like to share kindness in a lot of different ways. I like to give things to people who have nothing or less than me. These children are not just homeless or in need, many of them are trauma survivors. They’ve been rejected in some type of way. My own trauma in my life has helped me to understand the trauma of others. Meditation helps me to calm down.
“I don’t have the same kinds of issues that you have, but I have a mental illness and I struggle with that mental illness every day, so I need my mantra to help keep me relaxed. I told the kids today that I suffer from a mental illness. I suffer from PTSD. I’ve never told anyone that before, so, here we are. But the kindness that’s been shown to me by doctors as well as my family and my friends, it’s really saved my life.”
Lady Gaga was raped at the age of 19. It took her seven years to tell anyone. This experience, along with her mental health needs not being respected or met, has led to her current diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “PTSD is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they are not in danger.”
“I’ve been searching for ways to heal myself and I’ve found that kindness is the best way. One way to help people who have trauma is to inject them with as many positive thoughts as possible. What’s really important to remind kids who are suffering from a traumatic experience or from abandonment to remind them that they are not alone and that they are loved.
“I am no better than any of those kids and I am no worse than any of them; we are equal. We both walk our two feet on the same Earth and we’re in this together. As a world, our suffering from war to children who are homeless, famine, kindness is the way to becoming more harmonious and to ending those things. And those of us that have should give to those who have not during the holidays. Do one kind act before the end of the year. Just be kind. The act itself, it’s free. And it’s priceless,” Lady Gaga spoke.
Talking to the youth, the superstar led a meditation session alongside her mother. She encouraged the group with her mantra, “You are brave. You are courageous.”
She concluded with a simple and strong statement of gratitude to each of the youth: “Thank you for being alive.”
To share your kindness with the world, you can take part in The Born This Way Foundation’s challenge to reach 1,000,000 acts of kindness by the end of the year! Simply use the social media hashtag #ShareKindness with a photo of your acts of love. Take a look at some of the amazing acts of kindness already being done!
How can you make the your greatest impact in your community? Go on out and share your kindness today!