Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

Too flattering to resist, average as I may be:)

It is no secret that Elizabeth H. Newton is one of my favourite new authors. To appear on her reading list is an unbelievable treat in itself.

For those of you who still haven’t sampled her writing  take your pick – from the amazing short stories in several anthologies (Gems of Strength and Gems of Gratitude, the Ghostly Writes, Awethology Dark and December Awethology Dark Volume, and the fabulous contributions to Twisted Tales and Crooked Tales…) to her histfic mystery View from the 6th Floor, suspenseful thriller Riddle, and even the latest romance/erotica Carved Wooden Heart – this lady will not fail fans of the genres. My favourite – E.H.Norton uncovering the hidden evil that lies among the everyday people.

The following is a reblog from Between the Beats by E. H. Newton:)

My Top Indie Reads of 2016 – http://wp.me/p4h9JT-2OM

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IS KINDNESS OVERRATED? – guest post by Elizabeth Moore

Sharing her own life story and thoughts on kindness, author Elizabeth Moore is here today. Read more about Elizabeth below her story. Thank you very much, Elizabeth!

Is Kindness Overrated?

By E. C. Moore

I suppose I could say kindness is overrated, if I were speaking about the sort of false humanity masquerading as kindness these days, especially on the Internet. So many causes, so many tragedies, so many sad stories greet us on any given day, and all that is required is a click of the LIKE button to show empathy. We sympathized—as easy as that. No need to do anything more.

But, I’ve been the beneficiary of true kindness enough times to recognize true kindness when I see it. Clicking a button to show sympathy doesn’t begin to meet the requirement. Good deeds, whether small or large, entail personal commitment. And let’s face facts, personal commitment is being replaced by virtual exchanges that require little more than a few hastily-typed words of compassion in response to adversity and need. End of story. Moving right along to the next post…why, just look at that adorable baby animal photo, how good it feels to put that unpleasantness behind!

I married too young. We eloped. My brand-new husband had just dropped me off on his way to work. As I lugged my heavy suitcase down the hallway to our newly-rented, partially furnished apartment, I met the woman from the across the hall. She introduced herself and began to bombard me with endless questions. When she learned that one so young (I was eighteen but looked even younger) had just gotten married, she placed one hand over her heart and said, “I ran away to get married too. It won’t be easy you know.” I had already come to that conclusion on my own, and it hurt to hear it spoken aloud. When she finally said goodbye I unlocked the door and hurried inside.

The kitchen was tiny. I opened the refrigerator and pondered the cold empty shelves. I’d never had a bank account and didn’t have a penny to my name. My new husband would be my sole source of income. My stomach churned.

I hurried to the bathroom, and after I had finished using the facilities I realized there was no toilet paper. There were no towels, no shampoo, no sheets on the bed, no staples, no pots and pans, no silverware! My heart pounded wildly as a question screamed through my panic-stricken mind. How would we be able to afford the necessities needed to set up housekeeping?

A knock came at the door. Through the peephole, I saw the familiar face of the woman from across the hall. What a relief!

She rushed in and set a big box down on the dinette table. “You’ll need all this and more,” the kind-hearted woman told me, “Look inside.” I opened the flaps and began to pull out various items: a sauce pan, fryer and stock pot, salt and pepper shakers, spatulas and wooden spoons, dishtowels, potholders, plastic canisters, measuring cups and spoons, a nesting set of mixing bowls, four dinner plates, miss-matched mugs, silverware, and a dog-eared copy of The Joy of Cooking. I can’t remember what I said. I’m positive I didn’t express the gratitude I felt and she deserved. Overcome by her generosity, my response was inadequate at best.

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Three years later. We had just purchased a house of our own, it wasn’t located where we wanted to live but the place was affordable and we planned to fix it up and sell. After two days suffering fevers from a terrible flu that had sent the two of us and our small son to our bed, I woke up feeling much better and ravenous, as I was eight months pregnant. It was just after eight o’clock at night. The cupboards were bare, so I told my husband I was taking our son out to pick up some wonton soup from the drive-thru Chinese place. I hopped in our pick-up truck and took off. It was then that I realized how light-headed I felt. As I made my way down the wide boulevard the truck began to sputter and I ran out of gas, just managing to pull over to the side of the road across the street from a huge city park. This was in the age before cell phones. I had better find a pay phone.

I held my tiny son’s hand as we approached a cluster of buildings. No phone in sight. A group of men played basketball. One, sitting on the sidelines called out, “Hey, pregnant wonder, what are you doing here?”

“Is there a pay phone nearby?” I squeaked.

“You in trouble?” another voice rang out from behind me. I whirled around to see a big, scary looking man. The sight of him frightened me and I promptly snatched up my son.

“I think she’s lost,” the one from the sidelines called.

The big man squinted. “You lost, cupcake?” he growled, proceeding too close for comfort, so close I could smell the alcohol on his breath.

Another voice rang out, this one female. “There you are!” she cried. I flinched when I felt a hand touch my shoulder. “Let’s get out of here,” she said as she gave me a slight push. I followed the woman with the long hair across the lawn and towards the boulevard. “What are you doing out here?” she asked.

I relayed my story in her VW bus as she drove me to her house. I watched her fetch a spouted can from the side of the garage. Once we returned to my truck and she poured enough gas in my tank to get me to a station, she insisted on following me there. “Drive straight home,” she said once my tank was full, “This town is full of assholes and perverts. I’m getting out ASAP, going back to Arizona, just as soon as I save up enough money. Don’t you know you shouldn’t venture out at night? Ever!” I can’t remember what I said. I’m positive I didn’t express the gratitude I felt and she deserved. Overcome by her generosity, my response was inadequate at best.

These are but only two accounts of kindness from strangers, friends and loved ones I’ve been lucky enough to benefit from. The list of kind people I’ve encountered is too long to clog up Anita’s blog. I do my best to “pay it forward” whenever possible. When the elderly woman in line in front of me at the market doesn’t have enough to pay for her cabbage and onions, I kick in the extra eighty cents. When a friend’s brother finds out he has a brain tumor and needs money to come back home, I donate what I can spare. It’s not always about money though—the giving of our time is usually the greatest gift.

If someone tells you kindness is overrated, how will you respond?

About the author

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EC Moore is the author of INCURABLE, to be released by Booktrope Publishing July 2015. When Elizabeth’s not writing feverishly, you will find her out walking or sightseeing. She’s crazy about coffee, books, cooking, good wine, cairn terriers, miniature ponies, historical houses, tapas, and witty people.

She resides in a fifties bungalow in Southern California, with her creative-director husband, a yappy blonde dog, and one feisty Chihuahua.

E. C. Moore’s website
E.C. Moore on Amazon

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IS KINDNESS OVERRATED? – guest post by Julia Greef

The author of todays’s guest post is Julia Greef, a teacher, poet, blogger and artist friend I met through an international online teaching community. She is a lady of so many versatile skills, who lives across the globe from me, works and lives in a different culture, and yet we see eye to eye on so many things. I was wondering how she would answer my blog topic question ‘Is kindness overrated?’ and here it is.

IS KINDNESS OVERRATED?
by Julia Greef

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Is kindness overrated?
I find this an odd question, because it seems to me the only possible answer is that kindness is very much underrated.

While a word or act of kindness may feel like a gratifying ray of sunshine on a good day – something that enhances our day but doesn’t necessarily make or break it; when we are down, suffering, worn into the ground, dejected, feeling alone, struggling, in despair, carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders and at a loss for what to do, a simple word or act of kindness can pierce our heart with its gentleness and have us weeping tears of gratitude. It can restore our faith in not only humanity, but in life itself; and it can radically transform lives – both our own and the lives of others.

When we are touched by an act of kindness we are jolted suddenly out of our everyday preoccupations into our heart space. As we make this move from head to heart, our heart opens and expands and we feel more at ease; more centered; more aligned with ourselves, with our world and with the Universe. We are brought back to the truth of who we are as we are reminded of the endless capacity for love and compassion that lies at the heart of all of us. So a word or act of kindness is a potent healing force, bringing us back to ourselves and our intrinsic wholeness.

When we touch the life of someone else with kindness, all the blessings that are bestowed on them are also bestowed on us. We feel more present, more connected, more vibrantly alive. We feel this ‘rush’ of kindness expand from our heart into every cell of our body. By choosing to be kind we are actively expressing the highest and most noble part of who we are; knowing this we feel beautiful from the inside out. And, I ask, what better feeling is there than that?

If you really want to start to feel good about yourself; your day; your week; your life, choosing to incorporate conscious words and acts of kindness into your day-to-day life is one of the best ways to go. Scientific research has found a multitude of benefits related to ‘practicing’ kindness – from reduced stress and increased self-esteem to greater happiness and an all-round sense of well-being. It would seem that kindness is as much a healing force in the life of the person being kind as it is in the life of the person on the receiving end of the kindness.

So our kindness is a precious gift we give to others and, at the same time, a legacy of love that we bestow on ourselves. Quite apart from all the aforementioned benefits, it is my belief that we can only know the beauty and the depth of our most essential nature, can only appreciate our own intrinsic worth and value, when we cultivate kindness. And as we do so we grow in love; both for ourselves and for all of existence.
Just to make a good thing even better, kindness is never more than a fingertip’s breadth away. We always have the choice to be kind in any and all situations. And every time we make this choice, we are honouring both ourself and the other – demonstrating our deep respect for the divine spark of life in them, which in and of itself is enough to render them worthy of our love; and, at the same time, showing our deep respect for the life that we are by choosing right action and the expression of the highest aspect of our being.
And when we choose to be kind in the face of persistent unkindness… The world may see it as our weakness; but I am of the opinion that in that capacity for kindness lies our strength, our beauty and our grace.

Far from being overrated, I don’t think we can ever really know the deep and penetrating significance of our kindnesses. Every time we choose kindness we radiate love and well-being out into the world; and this is a world that is in desperate need of such tremendously potent and powerful healing energies.
We literally have no idea how profoundly one word of kindness from us, one single act, can impact another. That one word of kindness, that one loving action, may be the one that helps them turn the corner in their life.

And let us make no mistake, a single act of kindness is by no means a single act of kindness. It sends ripples out into the world, touching the lives of all of those in its wake in an ever-growing circle of grace. A ‘solitary’ act of kindness is like a single drop of rain in a paddy field, sending out ripples that effortlessly expand to its very banks.

If more people were kind more often, imagine what a different world this would be.

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Kindness being a choice we make in each moment, this is not just some impossible pipe dream too good to be true. We can create a world rooted in kindness, and the place to start is with ourselves.
I’m quite sure you’re already kind; because kindness, love and compassion seem to be impulses that are an intrinsic part of us. It’s like we have a compulsion deep within us to be kind. A need to allow this loving, compassionate part of us pour forth in words and actions that send ripples throughout the world – right to its very ‘banks.’

But however kind you already are, it is also true that you could choose right now to consciously sow more words and acts of kindness ‘on your turf.’

Try it and see how it makes the people around you feel.

See how it makes you feel.

See how your relationships blossom and your days grow in happiness, as you honour the divine spark of life in yourself and the divine spark of life in others in this way.

I can promise you the ripples will be far-reaching.

If enough of us commit to this we can transform the world, for we are the ones making the world in which we live – which means we are the ones with the power to change it.

I’d like to finish with the words of the Dalai Lama:
“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
This, for me, says it all.

Julia’s Pottery

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IS KINDNESS OVERRATED? – guest post by Frank Daley

The Kindness blog posts have insoired many people from different areas of life to approach me and send their contributions, each taking their own view at things. Today I welcome Frank Daley, who talks about selfless friendship kindness, and too much of it. Read more about his work below his post.

KILLING WITH KINDNESS 
By Frank Daley

When a surfeit of “kindness” hurts the self.

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Evidence confirms that the quality of Kindness is underrated and underrepresented in our daily lives.
In general.
But in one specific application, kindness it is overrated by people who believe it is their greatest virtue.
I’m thinking of those young girls and women (it’s more women than men in my experience) who say that their very best quality is “being a great friend.”
You would say this is a great quality and so do I but sometimes it is carried to extremes.  When some young people explain their feelings further they indicate that are harming their already low self-esteem.
Let me explain.
For many years I was a college and university professor.
Some of my work involved teaching personal development and college success strategies to students who were either in first year or pre-college programs. Most lacked adequate academic qualifications, study skills, literacy suitable for college work and self-confidence.
Secrets of Student Success, my course, was designed to help them learn about themselves and improve their self-image and their attitude to education.
I had faith in them and tried to show them that they could succeed in becoming self-directed, successful students.
As part of confidence-building, I’d ask them to tell me what they felt were their best personal qualities so we could apply them to academic life.
Many of the female students said their best quality (sometimes their only quality) was being a ”great friend.”
They were very specific about this and said things such as “I would do anything for my friends.” “I am always there for them.” ”Whenever they need me, day or night I am there.” “It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, I drop it if a friend is in trouble. “ 
This demonstrates the perfectly valid quality of kindness until we contrasted it with their grades and their academic intentions in college.
Most wanted to be nurses or work in other health science fields.
I asked them to tell me their grade average. It was Ds and Cs at best. I explained that the nursing faulty would reject anyone with an average less than B. They had never been B students.
Then I asked them why they constantly rushed to aid friends when they needed to concentrate on their own problems, studying, getting good grades and learning. They admitted that idea had never occurred to them—they said those were two “different things.” Many were emotionally distraught at first.
They had low self–esteem, valuing friends’ problems over their own.
They felt their friends were more import than they were and that’s why they rushed to their aid at the expense of their own needs.
There are other factors at play here, of course, including the natural desire to be liked and accepted, but the main result of their thoughts and actions was self-abnegation.
Kindness was over-valued in their eyes and they didn’t see its opposite: they acted as if they were less valuable, less worthy of time, work and energy, than their friends.
This betrayed a lack of self-worth, and that contributed to a lack of self-confidence. I suggested that if this continued it would destroy any hopes they had for a good education.
Most reluctantly (at first, but soon, enthusiastically) agreed that they had to think of themselves first. Not to abandon their friends, but to put the whole question into perspective.
“No greater love…” Yes, except the love of yourself must come before the love of your friends.
Kindness is a virtue the world needs, but not in this misguided way.
In this sense, wrong-headed thinking about kindness damages, the self.

Frank Daley

About the guest author (provided kindly by himself):

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I am the founder of Self-Knowledge College.
I help people know themselves so they can make better decisions for themselves personally and professionally.
Core Book: Who Are You and What Are You Doing Here? The way to know yourself and get what you want.   (Available only from me at this time. Amazon edition coming.)
My site for at-risk students and their worried parents, Dropout to Dean’s List.
Blog, The Daley Post.
Kindle books:
What’s Your Problem? No, really, what IS your problem? The Sherlock Holmes Guide to Problem Identification; How to Know Yourself: 4 Steps to Self-awareness
Courses:
How to Stop Dating Losers and Find a Good man (or Woman)!
The Secrets of Success Through Self-Knowledge (Through SKC site)
The Secrets of Student Success Through Self-Knowledge (through DDL site)
Contact: Facebook – Frank Daley; Twitter – @TheFrankDaley; LinkedIn – Frank Daley

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IS KINDNESS OVERRATED? – guest post by Kathryn Hodgson

One of the first people I met in the Books Go Social Facebook group was the lovely optimist Kathryn Hodgson, author of No Damage and a daring shark conservationist. During her travels, she has definitely seen kindness in action quite a few times. Here is what she says about it. Read more about Kathryn below her guest post.

Is Kindness Overrated?
by Kathryn Hodgson

Kindness (noun) ~ the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate
Synonyms: kindliness, kind-heartedness, warm-heartedness, tender-heartedness, goodwill, affectionateness, affection, warmth, gentleness, tenderness, concern, care, consideration, considerateness, helpfulness, thoughtfulness, unselfishness, selflessness, altruism, compassion, sympathy, understanding

I read the definition of kindness and it doesn’t elicit much of an emotional response within me yet I can’t help but read those synonyms and feel wonderful on deep level. Try it for just a moment; let each of those positive words and the behaviours they indicate soak into you and see how it makes you feel. Do you notice the difference? My heart rate dropped, a cheerful little smile played upon my cheeks and I felt good about today in spite of the fact it hasn’t been my easiest of days. Just the idea of warm-heartedness, affectionateness (who knew that was even a word), concern, care and understanding leave me with a feeling of belonging and a sense of peace. And guess what? They are all forms of kindness.

Kindness is the glue that holds each of us together during difficult days and helps us grow as individuals, families and societies. Come rain or shine it is always possible to be kind to someone you love, a random stranger and the people that need warm-heartedness the most…the seemingly unkind, angry souls that need to experience a better way of living from the heart.  It costs nothing to be kind, the smallest gestures mean the world to those in need of a little love, it is endless in its abundance and it is oh-so-easy to give and receive this goodwill. Now that is my kind of product; free, simple, effective at all times and available worldwide without restriction.

Where would we be without kindness? I would be utterly lost without it. The acts of kindness I have received and given to others have each taught me the meaning of unconditional love, compassion, joy, forgiveness and the shared humanity of each of us. We are all essentially the same, we need one another, and a thoughtful gesture goes a long way to reinforcing that.

I am incredibly thankful for the random and not-so-random acts of kindness that I have received and without them I would not be the person I am today. I would not have discovered who I am; my passions in life and laughter all come from the kindness of others who supported me throughout life. I certainly wouldn’t be writing this from within New Zealand whilst travelling the world in aid of shark conservation . Without the kindness of others I wouldn’t be able to raise money for charity during this world tour and I would have ended up hungry and cold at times without a bed to sleep in. Kindness has quite literally kept me clothed, housed and safe throughout my life and travels. It is definitely not overrated.

How can it be possible to overrate something that breaks down barriers, teaches us the valuable lessons of life, brings us all together when we need it most and never, ever, runs out?

Kindness. It is what makes everything possible.

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Author’s bio (provided by herself):
Kathryn Hodgson (1979) was born in England and spent her childhood exploring the rugged beauty of Cornwall. Kathryn pursued her love of nature as an adult and created a successful career within environmental enforcement in England and then as a scuba diving instructor in Egypt and Great White Shark wildlife guide in South Africa. She is co-founder of the marine conservation cause Friends for Sharks, inspirational indie writer & blogger, author of No Damage (December 2014) and lover of life, laughter and adventures.
Book blurb:
No Damage is an inspiring and uplifting look at one woman’s journey to survive two runaway grooms whilst coping with cancer, the loss of her career and more.
Kathryn’s optimistic tale of hope, adventure travel and an unexpected stint in a South African prison explores how, as a single 30-something woman with just one suitcase and a head full of emotional baggage, she conquered her fears to pursue her passions.
This memoir is both a hilarious true story of the power of positive thinking and a self help guide to overcoming loss, following you heart and creating the life you want.

Kathryn’s Website
Facebook
Twitter
Book on Amazon and AmazonUK  

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IS KINDNESS OVERRATED? – guest post by Joel Dex Goor

It is wonderful to see so many people contributing their posts, in order to promote kindness in all its possible forms. Today’s guest is a new NY author, Joel Dex Goor. Read his post and find his bio and links below.

IS KINDNESS OVERRATED?…HECK NO!!!!!
written by Joel Dex Goor

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What I see and know to be true is that we do have a world overpopulated with smart people, intelligent people, people that are out for power, prestige and for themselves; their needs, wants and desires only. However, we need more “kind people,” that fill our world, and they do exist. We need more kind people that are not in the background of our world, but in the foreground, full and live and vibrant. Kindness changes lives, kindness changes the world. When we are kind to others, it reverberates back to us in ways that are miraculous. We need those kind people like you and me to give a hug to someone whose heart is sad. We need kind people like you and me to put a smile on someone’s face when they feel like nothing is going well in their life. We need kind people that can uplift our human race to that of great heights of beauty. It is the kind of beauty we forgot existed, due to the unkindness of so many people asleep to who we really are and were born to be.

Hate, destruction, unloving and unkindness in gigantic proportions are so well-known around the world, and reverberate into a snowball effect that hurts humanity and our planet in so many ways. It is the cause of this destruction in our world, and why peace and kindness seem to take a back seat.
However, put heart-felt kindness and compassion into our world, something that is not overrated, but rather underused, and our world will heal, our world will love, our world will be restored to the kindness that God intended for us when He created us in Love. Our world will be transformed into such loveliness and we can build and create and construct so many things with kindness, that are destroyed by hate, destruction, unloving behavior and blatant unkindness to our fellow human beings, animals, planet.
Is kindness being made fun of while being called overrated? Maybe perhaps those people expressing this, may never had been shown kindness in their lives, and do not know what the joyous feeling a small act of kindness given to them feels like. If so, I and so many others will be there to show you that kindness and rest assured your life will change.
Let us be those “kind people,” who live on this planet that continuously plant seeds of kindness. Let us be those “kind people,” that what is planted by us grows so large and vibrant, and beautiful that it overshadows all the hate and destruction that sadly permeate our beautiful world. Kindness is not overrated but underrated and underused by many.
Why is this so, that kindness is truly underused, instead of overrated? It is because as we see in today’s world, instead of bringing us up, there are many who are jealous and want to tear us down, it is easy to do that but it takes some loving thinking and action to bring us up and to be kind and loving toward each other. I choose kindness in my life and when we act kind, both the giver and receiver feel and know we are blessed beings who walk this planet for a short while. Is Kindness overrated?… HECK NO!!!!!…    

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About the Author
(provided by himself)

Joel Dex Goor is a first time book author. Joel wants to help others through his teachings on how to become better people. He earns his living working on the administrative side of a private medical facility, as he likes to call it, “THE HELPING AND HEALING PROFESSION.” He gives the patients his compassion and genuine concern for their well-being. This is where his love for people is put to work. His passion is to help others, and write about humanity and how we can become the best within ourselves and then extend it outward to our world. Joel would like to lecture, become a motivational speaker and a life coach. He has finished his first complete book and proud of it entitled “YOUR LIFE IS A BLESSING…SO LIVE IT THAT WAY!!!”

He has written over 40 writings which include poems, prayers and essays which he has published on his blog entitled: “My happiness, gratitude and appreciation blog.com,” To touch the heart and move the spirit. Joel also has just under 1900 ‘LIKES” on his fanpage on FACEBOOK “MY HAPPINESS, GRATITUDE AND APPRECIATION PAGE.” Joel welcomes you to view and join his new blog: “YOUR LIFE IS A BLESSING SO LIVE IT THAT WAY.COM.”

Joel wants to continue writing and create pieces that speak to humanity’s soul and spirit and to re-awaken the light in people who thought it lost. In his spare time he loves to watch the classic movies on TCM and classic sitcoms on DVD. He loves reading books on or hearing talks on the spiritual realm, books on angels, on spiritual thinkers that want to change the world for the better, such as Marianne Williamson, Doreen Virtue, and Oprah Winfrey among others. Joel wants to join that group of “NEW SPIRITUAL THOUGHT, THINKERS AND SPEAKER” and become an extension of the past great thinkers as well as the current ones that live and speak in our world today.

Joel is currently working on his second book “HOW TO HEAL THE WORLD, BY HEALING OURSELVES FIRST.” Joel is devoted to his loving family and friends who help sustain him. Joel resides in Brooklyn NY.


Joel’s book on Amazon

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IS KINDNESS OVERRATED? – guest post by Shiv Harsh

Shiv Harsh has sent me a new guest post for the Kindness series, along with plenty of wonderful pictures to substantiate his thoughts, reaching back into history, as well as science. Make the most of his positivity! Thank you, Shiv!

If Kindness Is Overrated, So Is Being Human
By Shiv Harsh

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There is a modern concept: each one for himself, dog eat dog, a take-no-prisoners attitude toward the world. But we are not in a zero-sum game. For one person to win, another one does not have to lose. And how do you tabulate wins and losses anyway? The guy with the most marbles, the biggest house, the largest yacht is not always the happiest or the most satisfied.

Early humans

It was not always thus.
The value of cooperation and interdependence was learned fairly early by our ancestors.

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Early humans attacked animals, and animals attacked humans. Cooperation among humans helped them to fight off attacking animals, and also made hunting easier. There are findings suggesting that a party of Homo erectus hunted a giant baboon in Kenya 400,000 years ago.
As such, it is clear that there were both cultural and genetic reasons for cooperation. Groups of people who helped each other had a survival advantage, and their genes were passed on. Within groups also, people who were more selfish and less likely to help others often got killed, and were removed from the gene pool.

Altruism

Human beings living in small groups in ancient times realized their interdependence. As such, they had a direct interest in the welfare of their colleagues in that group. This is one reason advanced for the origins of altruism, or kindness to others, which we humans possess, but most animals do not.
However, there was one side effect of this. Our ancestors started to develop a strong sense of “us” versus “the other.”
People belonging to a small group, a tribe, recognized each other, trusted each other, and “had each other’s back.” “Others” were viewed with suspicion, because they could be hostile.
Even today, we see evidence of this kind of behavior. Members of fraternities, clubs, religions, nationalities, are more likely to be kind and helpful to each other. “Outsiders” are not as readily trusted.

Competition

This appears to have distorted our inborn tendencies. The race to be bigger, better, stronger, richer, at all costs has subjugated our humanity. Acts of kindness are sometimes seen as evidence of weakness, as a lack of the “killer instinct.”
“Do unto others before they do unto you.” Is that going to be our new motto?
Individual acts of kindness still occur. But group behavior is veering off in a dangerous direction.

Pushing back

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Altruism and happiness

Studies on students have found a clear relationship between altruism and happiness. Those people who consider themselves to be the most happy are also generally the most altruistic. Happiness makes us more open to others. Acute depression, on the other hand, makes it more difficult for people to express love for others.

Fun versus philanthropy

Martin Seligman is a researcher who has studied “positive psychology.” In one of his studies, he asked a group of students to do two different things. The first was a run-of-the-mill fun activity: enjoying ice cream, going out with friends, or watching a movie.  The other activity was an act of disinterested kindness.
The results were dramatic. There was a profound and lasting sense of satisfaction associated with performing an act of kindness. By contrast, the pleasure from movies and ice cream was short-lived.

Empathy, altruism, joy

More and more data suggest a connection between these basic human traits and emotions.
All human beings share the same desire to avoid suffering and enhance their sense of well-being. We are more alike than different. We depend on each other much more than we care to admit.

Neuroplasticity

Contrary to previous beliefs, the brain is malleable.  You can teach an old brain new tricks. Western scientists are studying with modern technology the brain activity of Buddhist monks who practice meditation, compassion and empathy. The results are astonishing.

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Monks who were studied while meditating on “unconditional loving-kindness and compassion” demonstrated the presence of powerful gamma waves on the recordings of their brain activity. These waves are related to consciousness, attention, learning, and memory.

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Some experienced practitioners of meditation show more activity in the brain’s left prefrontal cortex, compared to the right, when meditating on compassion. This reflects a larger capacity for happiness and a lower tendency for negativity.

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People who are vastly experienced in meditation obviously show the maximum amount of change. However, some changes can be seen even with three weeks of 20 minutes daily meditation.

Oneness

Thus the practice of compassion is a way of demonstrating oneness between ourselves and the outside world.
Joy and satisfaction are related to love and affection. Selfishness tends to breed misery.
Inner joy generates kindness. Expressing kindness leads to lasting fulfillment.

The best of life

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Being human

The term human being invokes a state of being, not just existing. Without kindness, humans would be merely existing.  And how would you rate that?

Shiv’s biography on Amazon
Shiv’s website
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IS KINDNESS OVERRATED? – guest post by Adam Lynch

Adam Lynch joins the guest blogs today with this story on kindness. Enjoy his story and read about Adam in his bio addition below.

The True Power Of Kindness

By Adam Lynch

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      It was the season of fall in a small park by an expanding lake.  It was a place of stillness and beauty, one where an old man named John always visited to cleanse his daily stresses.
      Today however, the shading of the greeneries was darker than ever before, light fading every passing second as the leaves became released from their ties.
       The thriving greens that were once so beautiful and healthy have now become old, weak and have lost their energy…
       “I wonder,” pondered John to himself. “Have I reached my limit? Have I already achieved everything I will ever achieve? Can I no longer bring service to the world?”
       “There is only so much a man can do for himself,” said a young man suddenly as he approached John, appearing dirty and poorly dressed. “But there is always something he can do for others.”
         “Who are you and what do you want from me?” inquired John defensively.
          The young man smiled warmly.
          “I’d like to know your name, sir.”
           “What benefit is that to you?”
           “No benefit, sir. I’d just simply like to connect with you.”
          “John. My name is John. Now what do you want from me, money? Fine, then it’s yours!”
           “That is not why I approached you this evening, sir.”
           “Well, you sure look like you could use it.”
           John analyzed the young man’s dirty body and torn up clothes.
           “You may be right, sir,” he admitted. “But I am not thinking of myself this very moment.”
           “What do you mean you’re not thinking of yourself? Look at you! You clearly have needs to attend to, so why worry about mine?”
             As John stared at the young man skeptically, the young man smiled tenderly at him.
          “Something inside of me wanted me to tell you something, sir,” began the young man. “I can’t explain why, but a voice inside of me told me to tell you that your time is not yet up, but is, in fact just beginning. The small still voice inside of me wanted you to know that he has a big plan for you and that you have nowhere yet reached your fullest potential. Lastly, the voice inside of me wanted you to know that you are very loved, and that nothing you have done or will ever do will change that.”
           Astonished by the young man’s unexpected words, John sat speechless, turning away briefly to wipe away the sudden tears from his eyes.
            “Who told you to say this and why have you bothered to tell me?” he interrogated.
           “It is the god inside of me, sir. He has instructed me to act on your behalf.”
           “Well I never asked you to do anything for me! And why is this ‘god’ asking you to do things for me? Shouldn’t he be taking care of you?”
             “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:38. God has told me that all my needs will be taken care of, therefore instead of spending my time worrying about myself, God wants me to attend to other people’s needs, while he attends to mine.”
           “How do you know your needs will ever be attended to? I mean, it’s great to think of others in your time of struggle but can you really do anything for others when your own needs aren’t met? Don’t take this the wrong way but what can you do for others in your current position? You clearly don’t money or power, so what can you possibly do to offer benefit?”
          “You’re correct, sir. I do not have any money or power, but I do have a dream. I have ambition, and most importantly of all, I have love.”
          “Love? What security can that bring?”
          “It brings the security of happiness, sir. Without happiness, everything we work for becomes meaningless.”
           Feeling exposed, John turned away from the young man’s eyes, lightening the tension on his face.
           “Well I can’t argue with that…tell me, son, you said you had a dream. What is it?”
           “It is my dream, sir to open up a dream care center that will provide not only food and shelter for the homeless, but offer them hope and inspiration from God’s word for their futures. I do not wish to limit this center to only the homeless however, but for anyone who’s willing to join our big family.”
         “That cost quite a bit of money, son. How do you plan on gathering the funds for this when you’re wasting your time with an old man like me?”
        “I believe God has called me to execute this plan, but I also believe he doesn’t want me to wait until the plan is accomplished to begin helping and showing love to others. I may not have money or power, but I do have willpower. As long as I have that, I can get started doing what I’m called to do right now!”
          “You’re a good lad…and also very brave, but you still haven’t answered my question. How are you gathering funds for your project?”
           “My brother and I are gathering funds at various churches we speak at. So far we’ve already managed to gather some blankets, coats and food to send out for the homeless. While they eat, my brother and I preach words of hope and inspiration to them. It’s no dream care center but it is a start. We may not have much, sir, but you’re welcome to join us on our sermons every Sunday after church. We don’t have the best food or quality items, but we always offer the kindest of love.”
          “So you truly are serious about this. You’re not just another one of those talkers, are you?”
            “All I know, sir, is that with God, I can do all things.”
            “I’ve never met a man like you, who’s willing to trade security for the risks that go with helping others.”
             “In the end, sir, love and kindness will always be the most important things in our lives. We all have needs, yes, but if we trust that God will supply for us, then we have all the time in the world to help supply for others.”
            “You said you are taking donations at your church?”
             “Yes, sir, the one just up the road from here.”
             “Then let me acquire happiness by helping you acquire yours. It’s almost embarrassing to admit, but the time you set aside for my behalf has really sparked new life in me. You may not have money or power but somehow you brought me new hope; hope I thought I’d never find again. All this time I thought kindness was overrated, but somehow your acts of kindness made me feel like I wasn’t just simply an old man taking up this planet’s resources and space. What you’re doing for this community is a wonderful thing, and I’d very much like to join in on your efforts to spread it to the world.”
             “So you mean you’ll join us for Sunday?”
             “No, you fool! I mean I have decided to fund your entire project.”
              “Wait, what?!”
              “You’re absolutely right, son! It’s kindness that makes the world go round, not power and competition. We shouldn’t have to tower over others to ensure our own needs are met, but instead we should use our resources to give to others, and have them give to us. Giving! That’s real business right there!”
               “Are you certain you can afford this? I’m not sure you realize how expensive this project really is. My brother and I have been gathering funds for almost three years now.”
                “I know I may not look like it, son, but I’m an extremely wealthy man. The fact that you did not realize that warms my heart even more about you. You’re actually willing to set aside your own time for others without expecting anything in return from them at all. That’s truly inspiring.”
              “I cannot thank you enough, sir. I don’t even know what to say.”
             “Good, then don’t thank me. You shouldn’t even have to thank me because kindness is never earned, it’s given…and given to you it shall be…with nothing expected in return!”             
           

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About the author (provided by himself):

Adam’s website

Adam’s book

Adam Lynch has been writing books since the third grade. He’s always carried a passion for creating stories and developing characters. From super hero picture books to his newly released novel “Making Dreams Into Reality”, published by Tate Publishing Enterprises, Adam Lynch is taking his love of  imagination to a level he is able to contribute to the world.  
In addition to Lynch’s writing career, he has professionally recorded two songs, one of which was released on a compilation CD.
He has graduated the Music Careers Mentoring Program, from which he studied under Tom Hess, and within the program, he has also collaborated with twelve professional musicians around the world on various projects such as the compilation CD in which they’ve self recorded, produced and distributed five thousand physical copies word-wide.
As of now, Adam Lynch is seeking literary representation for his second novel, The True Spiritual Nature of Love and is immediately getting started on his third novel.
Adam Lynch has big ambitions for his future. He will stop at nothing until his dreams are made into a reality.

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IS KINDNESS OVERRATED? – guest post by Everett Morris

Today’s guest Everett Morris shares with us his views and personal experiences with kindness. Another author from the Books Go Social facebook authors group. I hope his post makes you think. Read more about Everett following the links posted below.

Is Kindness Overrated?

I believe the substance of kindness itself is not overrated, it’s overlooked. It’s forgotten. It’s frustrating. And this is why.

As a kid, my father would bend over backwards for complete strangers. We admired this about him. And this is just one incident in a line of many.

As we were travelling down a main road in our town, we saw a semi-truck parked on the side of the road with the hazard lights on. Now, we had a Suburban, so if he needed any mechanical assistance, that was out of the question. If he needed any significant help, these were the days before cell phones, so we couldn’t exactly call anyone. But my Dad stopped anyway. He walked to the driver. Meanwhile, we’re all scratching our head. After about ten minutes, we see Dad and the driver laughing it up. The driver walks to the end of the trailer, opens it up and gives us five cases of yogurt. Not small boxes, mind you, but rather sizeable boxes of yogurt. In that day and age; the mid 80s, the drivers could open the trailers. Now, they’re sealed. Our Dad told us as we helped move these boxes to our truck that all the driver needed was directions. That was it. Just the simple task of telling a driver to make a U-turn, take a left and a right earned our Dad a ton of yogurt. It meant that much to the driver. Nowadays, when we see people on the side of the road, we just drive past them. Who knows what they need? A jump, a flat tire? Directions?

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Another incident, in the more recent years, my Dad had the idea of stopping to help someone in need. It was a beautiful day; not a cloud in the sky. We were just coming down the road after a day on the lake not catching a thing. We find a SUV in the culvert on the side of the road. It was obvious the driver just wanted to pull off to the side, but misjudged the distance. Odd, but unfortunate. So, my Dad tells me to pull off and see what we can do. They were trying everything they could do to get their tires deeper. I offered my assistance; after evaluating which tires were less buried and using that to the advantage. We got the truck out of the mire and pulled it into an adjacent driveway. Everyone was appreciative of our efforts. In the end, it was because they had seen the garage sale, they tried to stop quicker than normal and had just driven off the road.

I don’t know if my Dad was the only one to pull over and help someone like that, but I do know that it’s become contagious on my part. I even notice at my job that people are less likely to help one another. I see it as a micro society. Here we are in this world, we try to get along, but as soon as someone needs a hand, they just move along.

Kindness, to me, is something we hope everyone acts upon, but no one “has the time” due to some appointment, meeting, or if we’re on our way to a soccer game. Kindness needs to be refocused on, accepted and acted upon.

It boils down to doing the right thing at the right time for no reason whatsoever; but just because the recipient would appreciate it. Do the right thing because we, deep down inside, hope that someday, someone would do the same for us.

I use experiences with my Dad to illustrate my thoughts because he was, and is, a daily inspiration to me. We all, myself included, should aspire to be one step better than we are, to realize our potential is greater than we imagine. And that starts by doing one thing for one person. Then, like something contagious, it spreads.

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About the author (from his Amazon profile):
Author O. F. Marz (Everett Morris) and his book

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IS KINDNESS OVERRATED? – guest blog post by Beverly Tiernan

As many of you already know, I have invited guests to my blog to discuss the question of whether kindness is overrated in this day and age. Several authors have already shared their views, more to come. The posts are either essays, poems, quotes or even stories. Author and educator Beverly Tiernan has sent me this interesting quote and picture. Her opinion on the matter is stated below the quote. Read more about Beverly below her post.

Acts of Kindness

The Buddha once said “When one becomes enlightened, two things flower simultaneously–kindness and wisdom. If you are a seeker of knowledge, I must talk to you through my wisdom. If you are a seeker of being, I will talk to you through my kindness. Wisdom can miss the target, but loving kindness can never miss.”

Kindness cannot be overrated.

B. J. Tiernan

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More about Beverly and her book:

B. J. Tiernan’s Amazon author page

Standing on a Whale – on Amazon

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