A while back I shared a quote by an unknown author that reads:
“You know who’s going through a lot right now? Literally everyone. Just be kind.”
It got me thinking about all the struggles we assume other people don’t have—because we’d never guess from the looks of them.
You’d never guess that your confident colleague struggles with PTSD from childhood abuse and neglect.
You’d never guess that your boisterous brother-in-law beats himself up because he doesn’t earn enough to get his family out of debt.
You’d never guess that your collected cousin cries in the bathroom every day because she’s overwhelmed by parenthood and scared she’s messing it up.
You’d probably also never guess how many times you’ve been someone’s lifeline, simply by being kind.
A hug, a hand, an ear, a compliment—small acts of support and encouragement like these can help someone believe in themselves and their future when they feel like giving up.
And it’s not just the gesture itself that makes a difference, though a little bit of support can provide a massive amount of relief. It’s the reminder that there are good people out there who care and want to help.
There’s little more powerful than reminding someone there’s more love in the world than hate. Give someone the gift of faith in humanity, and you’re literally giving them the world—a world of light to believe in, no matter how dark things may seem.
This is why I keep re-reading and gifting Brad Aronson’s book HumanKind: Changing the World One Small Act a Time. The kindness stories are like a palate cleanser after a tough day has left a bad taste in my mouth. They touch me, restore me, and inspire me to be someone else’s reason to believe in people.
And all the author’s royalties go to Big Brothers, Big Sisters, which means buying a copy is an act of kindness for both yourself and someone else.
I’ve written about the book several times now, so it’s possible you’re already familiar with Brad’s story. You may already know he was inspired to write this book after his friends and family rallied around him and his wife Mia during her battle with leukemia. You may also know that the book offers both uplifting stories and practical tips to make a difference in the world.
You might not know that someone in your life needs this book right now and will likely refer to it for years to come. That they may highlight passages and dog ear pages that give them a sense of peace and purpose, and maybe even pay it forward to someone else whose life will be better and brighter because of it. Someone who’s going through a lot right now, though no one would guess or believe it.
That’s the thing about kindness: it ripples in ways you could never anticipate and will likely never know. But you can know you’re being the change you want to see, and that you’re changing the world even if you don’t see it.
True to form, Brad has generously offered ten copes of HumanKind to Tiny Buddha readers, four of which I’ll giveaway here on the blog (the others on social media).
To enter to win a copy, share an act of kindness you’ve recently received or witnessed in the comment section below.
You can enter until midnight PST on Sunday, April 17th. I’ll update this post with the winners after I choose them and will also send a follow-up email next week.
If you’d like to buy a copy for yourself or a friend now (which I highly recommend!), you can grab one on Amazon here.