Spread meaningful kindness in your everyday life with this essential guidebook to making the world a kinder, more accepting place.
Practicing kindness is an essential step in helping to repair a world that has grown to be more divisive, lonely, and anxious than ever. But with quotes like, “Just be kind” or, “Throw kindness around like confetti,” we’ve oversimplified what it takes to actually demonstrate kindness in a world crying out for it.
Deep Kindness pairs anecdotes with actions that can make real change in our own lives, the lives of others, and throughout the world. Diving into the types of kindness the world needs most today, this book takes an honest look at the gap between our belief in kindness and our ability to practice it well—and shows us how to put intention into action. Exploring everything from the empathy gap to the skill of emotional regulation, Deep Kindness is perfect for anyone who believes in a kinder world and recognizes that there is a lot of work to do before we achieve it.
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Chapter 1: Kindness Isn’t Normal
I spend a lot of time thinking about the importance of Kindness in a world seemingly too busy for it. Kindness is one of these essential things that we collectively say is good, but we collectively aren’t very good at.
Why? Why are we so bad at something we believe in?
Why is it that we can so universally agree on the value of something and not be very skilled at it? How can Helga sit in pain, alone in an airport, and have three thousand people bypass her suffering?
This book, in many ways, is for Helga. Almost every day I think or talk about her story. In some ways it’s because I know that, at any given moment, I could live her story. I’m acutely aware that none of us are immune from adversity. We will all, at some point along the way, be desperate for a moment of human Kindness and connection.
For two hours, three thousand strangers walked by her moment of profound hurt. In her deepest sadness and loneliness, thousands of opportunities for companionship and comfort shuffled or sprinted by on their own well-intentioned way.
I was in the Hot Dog Seat, crying while she cried, when she arrived at her conclusion: “You know what I realized as three thousand people walked by, Houston? I realized that Kindness isn’t normal.”
Kindness isn’t normal.
Those words have stuck with me all these years. It has been the foundation upon which I’ve built much of what I do, because I want to live in a world where Kindness is the baseline—a world where everyone is capable of meeting the basic human need for attention, hopefulness, and care. A world where people have the skills and the courage to stop and help someone crying in the airport. A world that believes in Kindness as the single most important skill for more meaningful lives and more abundant, caring, connected communities.
I believe in a world where Kindness is normal. And I’ve learned along the way that it’s going to take a lot of work.
Table of Contents
Part 1 The case for Kindness 1
Chapter 1 Kindness Isn't Normal 6
Chapter 2 Our Perspectives Drive Our Practices 8
Chapter 3 It's More Than Confetti 10
Part 2 Looking for Advil 15
Chapter 4 "The Empathy Gap" 18
Chapter 5 The Lonely Generation 21
Chapter 6 "A Culture of Personality" 23
Chapter 7 What Gets in the Way? 26
Part 3 Incompetence 31
Chapter 8 The Vocabulary of Kindness-More Than "Pretty Good" 37
Chapter 9 Emotional Regulation-Choosing How We Think 44
Chapter 10 Empathy-Standing in the Rain 52
Chapter 11 Vulnerability-The Courage to Care 62
Chapter 12 Forgiveness-People and Their Behaviors 70
Part 4 Insecurity 81
Chapter 13 Rejection-Not-So-Free Hugs 88
Chapter 14 Failure-Elevators, Vultures, and the Terror of Not Doing It Right 95
Chapter 15 Embarrassment-To Dance When Everyone Is Watching 102
Chapter 16 Shame-The Scarcity of "Enough" 109
Part 5 Inconvenience 115
Chapter 17 Busy-Making Time for Lunch Notes 122
Chapter 18 Exhaustion-Overconsumption and Overwhelm 129
Chapter 19 Fight Versus Feelings-Purpose Fuels Persistence 134
Part 6 Consistency 137
Chapter 20 Intersectional Thinking-Breaking Free from Chipotle Chicken Pasta 142
Conclusion A Kinder World 155