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Book Giveaway, HumanKind: You’ll Laugh, You’ll Cry (Really!)

As I write this, I’m having one of those days. I feel so agitated it’s like there’s a tornado under my skin, yet so drained it took me five minutes to get my fingers to start typing words.

I’m guessing I’m not alone in feeling a lot of intense emotions as of late, in a homebound life in this highly uncertain world. To be honest, I always experience intense emotions, but today it’s felt like someone poured gas on the flaming feelings within.

Then a minute ago, I heard a little giggle and turned around to see my baby’s huge grin two inches from my face. My boyfriend had brought him in to lift my spirits because he knows how much that cherubic little face cheers me up. And did it ever.

Oh, that face, the innocence, the joy, the unbridled excitement to see me, no matter how much I feel I’m sucking at life. That, right there, is pure bliss—and the kind of simple act of kindness that can make a huge difference in my day.

Maybe for you it’s a “just thought of you” text with a picture of something you’d enjoy if you were there. Or maybe it’s a compliment on something you thought everyone took for granted—like your omelets or your optimism or your oddball sense of humor.

We all need a little pick-me-up from time to time, and even if it’s not badly needed, it’s always appreciated. Because who doesn’t love feeling loved? Who doesn’t think it’s amazing to know someone’s thinking of them?

Though it’s always a perfect time for kindness, I think it feels even more comforting now, when many of us are itching for more human interaction and looking for reasons to stay hopeful.

Which is why I’m especially grateful for Brad Aronson, who’s kindly offered five free copies of his book HumanKind to Tiny Buddha readers.

He wrote this book solely to inspire kindness by sharing stories of kindness—and he’s donating all his earnings to the non-profit Big Brothers Big Sisters.

It’s the kind of uplifting book that makes you feel good about life because it shines a spotlight on the best of humanity—including the proverbial village that came together to help Brad and his wife Mia through her battle with leukemia.

Chapter after chapter, Brad introduces us to everyday heroes, people using their talents and interests to help make the world a better place, starting with their own sphere of influence.

And it’s not just a book of stories; it also offers dozens of easy ways to make a difference for the people around you through simple words and deeds.

It’s encouraging. It’s inspiring. It’s a light in the dark. Like a grinning little face on an especially hard day.

If you’d appreciate a free copy of HumanKind, enter the giveaway by commenting below, sharing either an act of kindness you recently witnessed or the kindest thing someone’s ever done for you.

You can enter until midnight PST on Sunday, May 3rd. I’ll update this post with the winners’ names on the 4th,

Stay hopeful, stay kind, stay safe, my friends.

Sending lots of love from my pile of bricks to yours.

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She’s also the author of Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal and other books and co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. For daily wisdom, join the Tiny Buddha list here. You can also follow Tiny Buddha on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.

The post Book Giveaway, HumanKind: You’ll Laugh, You’ll Cry (Really!) appeared first on Tiny Buddha.

HumanKind: A Book That Will Inspire You and Help Change the World

I have always believed that kindness is the truest measure of beauty. And I need only think of my grandmother to confirm that this is true. Giving, nurturing, understanding—she was all these things till the day she died, undeniably radiant, at the age of eighty-four. She smiled with her eyes and loved out loud, and that’s who I want to be.

If you’re fortunate, you’re close to someone like this, a person who exudes warmth and meets you with gentleness and compassion, even when you’re not at your best.

If you’re observant, you’ll see people from all walks of life embodying these qualities every day. You’ll see people opening their hearts and their homes and their wallets to help other people when they’re struggling.

And if you’re anything like me, you collect these little memories—snapshots of basic human goodness—to help you maintain your faith in humanity when life feels dark or unsafe.

As someone who’s ever on the lookout for new kindness stories for inspiration, I was thrilled to get my hands on a copy of Brad Aronson’s new book HumanKind.

Now, more than ever, we need to focus on the good—and do good, in our own way.

HumanKind can help with both. With uplifting stories and practical tips throughout, HumanKind will touch your heart, remind you of what is truly important, and give you the tools to make a huge difference in the world through tiny acts of kindness. And all the author’s royalties go to Big Brothers Big Sisters—so just buying a copy does some good!

The book begins with Brad’s story of supporting his wife, Mia, through two and a half years of treatment after she was diagnosed with leukemia. Friends, family, and colleagues alike all stepped up to lighten their family’s load. And together, they proved there’s strength in numbers; that thoughtfulness, when multiplied by many, truly can help carry someone through the toughest battle of their life.

Further on in the book, you’ll read about a retiree who launched a project to mend homeless people’s clothes, reinforcing their intrinsic worth and mending their hearts in the process.

You’ll learn about a woman who started a movement of compassion and connection by giving out “You matter” cards, and giving sets to others to distribute through her “You Matter Marathon.”

You’ll also read about a woman with a debilitating disease who was denied a service dog, then went on to train dogs for others like herself, after her self-trained German Shephard saved her life.

The book overflows with stories like this—tales of everyday people using their skills to make a difference and turning their pain into purpose.

And Brad’s tips are simple and clear, providing a detailed roadmap to create your own impact, one tiny act of love at a time.

Like many in the world right now, you might find yourself with a lot of free time to potentially fill with enriching activities, with some Netflix binge sessions mixed in, because, let’s face it, both are ways to be kind to yourself!

Or, if you’re a work-from-home parent, like me, you may have small pockets to fill here and there that you’re determined to make count.

I can think of no better way to better yourself and the world than giving HumanKind a read.

Even during the darkest times, the world is full of light.

There are people tucked away in homes right now, smiling with their eyes at family and thinking of ways to love out loud—in isolation and beyond. There are people out there who know what it’s like to hurt and want to help create a world with a little less pain and a lot more love.

If you’re one of them, or you want to be, click here and let HumanKind be your guide. Give your spirits a lift. Give your heart some hope. Give back to those in need.

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She’s also the author of Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal and other books and co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. For daily wisdom, join the Tiny Buddha list here. You can also follow Tiny Buddha on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.

The post HumanKind: A Book That Will Inspire You and Help Change the World appeared first on Tiny Buddha.

If You Think People-Pleasing Is Being Kind…

“I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.” ~Plutarch

People-pleasing can seem Iike a way of connecting with others. We believe that if we keep people happy, then they’ll like us and want us around. While it may be true that pleasing others will win us approval and a place in their lives, changing and editing ourselves can’t create the connection we long for.

We confuse people-pleasing with kindness. After all, aren’t we, as people-pleasers, described as too nice? People-pleasing can be seen as giving of ourselves to put others first, but people-pleasing isn’t the kindest way to treat ourselves or the people around us.

Honesty is Kinder than People-Pleasing

My friend, Amy, would occasionally invite other people to join us without letting me know. I’d arrive at the park or the coffee shop and find myself unexpectedly part of a group.

To Amy, this wasn’t a big deal. She was generous about introducing me to new people and for her it was genuinely the more the merrier. I, however, prefer one-on-one interactions to groups, and I really dislike being surprised in social settings.

The thing is, she never knew it bothered me because I never told her. I was so worried about making sure she liked me that I pretended to be happy about these surprise additions to our outings. I told myself I didn’t want to hurt her feelings.

Unfortunately, the result was that I resented the other people and didn’t give them a fair chance to see if we might also become friends. It undermined my trust that Amy really saw me and valued my friendship. It reinforced my belief that I wasn’t good enough for someone to want to spend time with just me.

When I wasn’t honest about how I felt, it wasn’t kind to anyone involved. I knew Amy to be a caring and thoughtful person. Most likely she would have been glad to let me know when she was extending additional invitations and to check in about what I wanted for a particular meet-up if only I’d been honest about how I felt.

When we people-please, we say and do things that aren’t really true for us. We may accept an invitation that is inconvenient or agree to do a favor we resent doing. We might claim to want to eat at a certain restaurant or do a certain activity even though we’d actually prefer something else.

We may keep our opinions and beliefs to ourselves unless we’re sure they line up with those of the person we’re trying to please. We might base our decisions—from what clothes we wear to what jokes we laugh at to what career we pursue—on what we think will win approval. We may hide how the other person’s actions are impacting us.

None of these things are honest. We’re not being kind to others when we try to manipulate them into liking us instead of letting them really see us.

We get tripped up because honesty can feel unkind if we think it will disappoint someone or make them unhappy. Of course, honesty can be used in an unkind way. People will say intentionally hurtful things and then justify their cruelty under the guise of honesty, but we can be honest with kindness.

When we are honest in our relationships, we give others a true representation of who we are. We are clear about what we will and won’t do, what we do and don’t want. When we are honest we build trust with others that they can take us at our word and learn to see ourselves as a person who can be trusted.

Presence is Kinder than People-Pleasing

When I spent time with Amy, I worried a lot. I watched to see how many cookies she ate before helping myself to another. I worried about whether she was offering tea just to be nice or whether she’d actually be disappointed if I didn’t want to try the new blend she’d been sent as a gift.

I avoided conversation topics where I wasn’t sure we’d agree. I was cautious when answering her questions about what I was up to. I’d offer only a glimpse and then try to gauge her levels of interest and approval before sharing the next little bit.

The thing is, I wasn’t able to relax and just enjoy spending time together. It was obvious to her that I was trying to do things the way I thought she wanted me to. She tried to reassure me that it was okay to be myself, which was embarrassing for both of us.

I appreciated Amy’s ability to ask thoughtful questions and how encouraging she was about anything I did share with her. The main things I remember about the time we spent together, however, don’t tell me much about who she is. I remember more about what I said and did because my focus kept turning to how I was measuring up.

When we engage in people-pleasing behaviors, we watch the people we hope to please for cues about what they want and need and who they expect us to be. It can seem like we’re being very present with them because we’re paying such close attention.

Too often, however, our attention is strategic—we’re using it to meet our own ends instead of really engaging with them as people. We watch for how each thing we do or say is received and use that data to continually adjust ourselves to be more pleasing.

What if, instead, we approached our time with another person with curiosity—seeking to know them for the joy of knowing another human being? Curiosity requires presence—being open and welcoming to what is there instead of what we expect to find. One of the kindest things we can do for someone is to set aside our expectations and see them for who they are—and that includes ourselves.

Trust is Kinder than People-Pleasing

It didn’t matter how kind and encouraging I believed Amy to be, I didn’t trust that she would want to be my friend if I ever let her really see me. I didn’t trust that relationships could survive disappointments, differences, or disagreements. I struggled to believe that anyone really wanted to know me and that I would deserve their friendship if they did.

When I didn’t trust that Amy would want to be my friend unless I went out of my way to please her and I didn’t trust that I was worthy of her friendship, it made for an uneven relationship. I saw her as better than me and was trying to control her perception of me so I could keep a place in her life. Our interactions were based on my striving to please instead of on two humans seeing and supporting each other.

People-pleasing is characterized by a lack of trust. We people-please because we don’t trust that we are good enough to be wanted just as we are. We don’t trust others to see the value in us and treat us well unless we always give them what they want or stay within the parameters of who they expect us to be.

A kinder approach is to cultivate trust. As we unhook from people-pleasing, we build trust in ourselves. We develop trust that we can meet our own needs and that we can express our preferences with kindness. We learn to trust that we will be okay if not everyone likes us and that there are new opportunities even after disappointment.

There is also kindness in trusting others. When we choose to trust someone, we give them a chance to see and support us. We open up the possibility for a mutual relationship.

Trust others and trust yourself to build a relationship that is genuine and satisfying for you both. Some relationships will not survive if we cease people-pleasing, but those relationships were not built on true kindness to either person. Invest in relationships that are based on kindness instead of control—where you can know and be known.

Consider your closest relationships. Are they a space where you are honest, present, and trusting? If not, what gets in the way? How can you bring a little more honesty, presence, and trust into your relationships this week?

About Johanna Schram

Johanna Schram is a certified life coach and writer who supports fellow humans to stop the people-pleasing and start trusting themselves. She helps people recognize their inherent worth, express themselves with courage and integrity, and connect deeply in relationships. Learn more about Johanna and get access to the free self-trust library at johannaschram.com.

Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.

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