Today, I gave up social media for awhile. Why? I had to search for something good, kind, and lovely. The world seems so full of hate and hopelessness and I have had enough. I may not be able to change the world on social media but I certainly have the power to take measures to keep it from changing me.
Enough of that soapbox but I hope you see the connection. One of my New Year's "resolutions" was to give effort toward two meaningful friendships this year. My children are grown. I am married to my best friend and am with him almost 24/7 since we work in the same building. But I find myself lacking true female companionship so this new book by Shaunti Feldhahn caught my eye immediately. It may not have been the purpose for which she wrote The Kindness Challenge but it has been a number of years since I felt I had the time to cultivate relationships with other women so thought it the perfect place to begin. The one thing that struck me right off was Feldhahn's showing me how kindness didn't just matter and make a difference to those I wanted to improve a relationship with but it also change me.
Feldhahn's down to earth way to saying thing and her writing style make this an easy read in a day but the challenges and ideas will remain with you much, much longer. She is quick to point out how I may be messing up my relationships with others and gives easy to put into practice ideas/strategies for improving your relationship with your spouse and others. Her ideas are more than just being nice, it is about being kind. I recently saw a commercial or quote about nice being just a simple, perhaps one-time thing you do. Kindness is more about who you are as a person. Feldhahn brings that straight home.
It seems as if, with my husband, I have been on track with the first of Feldhahn's three step process but can always use a reminder to "never say anything negative to or about another person....ever". That is a practice I have tried to incorporate into my entire marriage. I never wanted anyone else to think anything other than that my husband was "perfect"--at least not from my mouth. Her second suggestion--find something you can genuinely praise and appreciate in that person and make certain they are aware of it. Third--do an act of kindness for the person. While these all seem like simple steps, Feldhahn suggests we're not quite as good at being kind in this way as we may think we are and provides simple strategies that you can incorporate into your day and relationships. If taken to heart, this book WILL change your relationships...guaranteed.
I did receive this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and was in no way obligated to write a positive one. Two thumbs up to Shaunti Feldhahn for her new release, The Kindness Challenge: Thirty Days to Improve Any Relationship.
Kindness is a simple concept but what a difference it makes in the lives of others - and our own. In fact, Feldham says the factor above all others that helps us thrive is not how we are treated but how we choose to treat others. Our happiness starts with the choice to be kind, especially when we don't feel like it.
Unlike other books I have recently read, Feldham not only encourages us to be kind but actually gives us lots of strategies to do so. It's not easy as we live in a culture of unkindness. We have to be purposeful and persistent. Feldham gives specific yet simple steps to help us be kind to our spouses and to others in general. She includes thirty suggestions for husbands, another thirty for wives, and then a final thirty for being kind to another person in general. She even helps us find out what we might be doing to sabotage our relationships.
I was surprised that Feldham writes that a decision to be unconditionally kind takes away the power of others to make us crazy. She also informs us that kindness is not the same as being nice or not rocking the boat. Being kind does not mean avoiding challenges.
I am impressed with this book. I expected the encouragement and the stories as illustrations. What I didn't expect was so many practical ideas for showing kindness. Her chapters containing the thirty days of suggestions are great. Her ideas on the eight types of kindness are great too.
I highly recommend this book for all readers. We need to practice more kindness and this book is full of practical ideas to help us on the way. Feldham says it takes thirty days to change our thinking and habits but again, there is plenty of material in the book for that. She even provides a website where one can get an assessment and sign up for thirty days of emails with encouraging ideas.
Food for thought: It is only when you are actively kind to someone who is not kind to you that you see the true power of Christ-like kindness.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
Great Asset For Improving Relationships With Others - And Yourself
December 27, 2016
The Kindness Challenge: Thirty Days To Improve Any Relationship by Shaunti Feldhahn is more than just a 30-day plan to motivate you to be kind to others. Through extensive research combined with her understanding of human behavior, Shauntiexplains why kindness is the answer to so many of life's problems. While most people would readily admit that they aren't as kind as they could be 100% of the time, this book reveals that there's more to being kind than simply biting your tongue. It takes sincere effort to be kind when faced with everyday challenges in our current society.
The base plan of the 30-day challenge is merely the same three steps repeated every day:
1) Don't say anything negative about the other person
2)Find one thing to praise or affirm, and tell both the other person and someone else
3) Do one small act of kindness or generosity for the person
In case you're thinking that that(in and of itself) is not enough to warrant reading an entire book, you're absolutely right! This book contains so much more than just those steps. Shauntioutlines the "Seven Types Of Negativity You Didn't Know You Had", "Overcoming Ten Tricky Traps" while giving praise, and eight different types of kindness so that you can select options that best suit your personality and specific situation.
The end of the book contains three separate 30-day plans with acts of kindness laid out and ready to go so that you don't have to struggle to come up with ideas. Why three separate plans? One is for wives using this book to be closer to their husbands, the second is for husbands longing to be closer to their wives, and that third plan is for everyone else (colleagues, parents, grown children, dealing with your kid's softball coach, etc.).
I think this book is a great asset for someone looking to soften a cold marital relationship or reignite the flames if it's simply gone lukewarm. As for using it in other situations, as with children or co-workers, I think it would work if the negativity from the other party is not overtly hostile. But even if youfollow the plan and it doesn't improve the intended relationship, it will improve your outlook on life and other relationships around you. 5/5 stars.
*I received a free print copy of this book from Blogging For Books for the purpose of an honest review. All opinions are my own.*
If youre what we think of as an average person, you probably think of yourself as a kind person.
BUT, youre probably not quite as kind as you think you are.
Dont mistake kind for nice, there is a distinct and important difference. Even though most of us would consider ourselves to be kind, chances are you suffer from a little kindness blindness and fixing that could be transformative to your life by directly impacting your relationships.
At least, so claims Shaunti Feldhahn, in her newly released book, The Kindness Challenge: Thirty Days to Improve Any Relationship (published by WaterBrook).
I love this book for a very simple reason we grossly underestimate the importance of kindness in our human interactions, and overestimate just how kind we really are. Feldhahn does an effective job of providing us with new insights as to why kindness is so valuable to our relationships, and how purposely focusing on becoming more kind can have a major impact in our lives.
Feldhahn isnt talking just from an opinion on the subject of kindness; she is a Christian, Harvard-trained researcher who has spent years delving into this topic, and this book provides us with the benefit of her professional research.
The path to our happy place starts with one choice: whether or not to be kind. Especially when we really dont want to be, writes Feldhahn.
Weve spent years studying, investigating, refining, testing, and quantifying specific steps that make a huge difference to any relationship. Ill be sharing those in the pages ahead. But when it comes right down to it, the bottom line is pretty simple: be kind. The concept is simple, but that doesnt mean it is effortless, in part because we really dont know how to be kind. You may find that absurd. But I promise you: you almost certainly dont. At least not in the way that works best. And what works best is what Ill be walking you through in this book, Feldhahn writes.
The author first helps us understand the vital need for being kind and how kindness impacts all of our human interactions, and then urges her readers to take on a 30-day kindness challenge to purposely become a more kind person. However, Feldhahn doesnt leaving us hanging with just a simple challenge; she defines what is involved in a purposeful pursuit to becoming more kind and breaks down her challenge for us
This book will help us figure out which specific elements of kindness we need to work on and how, identify specific actions we might need to do (or not do!), and then dare each of us to take the 30-Day Kindness Challenge, not just to improve a specific relationship but to be part of a culture-transforming movement
This book is timely because it doesnt take a genius or Harvard-trained researcher to look around us and see theres a great need for more kindness from all of us, especially if were seriously about walking in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. And, as were on the verge of entering a New Year, what better challenge can we take into 2017 than committing to become more kind?
I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
The Kindness Challenge: Thirty Days to Improve Any Relationship, by Shaunti Feldhahn, presents a marvelous plan for improving any type of relationship. It proves helpful with spouses, coworkers, children, friends, in-laws, and more.
The book presents three main steps to taking the Kindness Challenge. For thirty days, one should do the following three things: Say nothing negative to the other person or about them to anyone else, find one positive thing that you can sincerely praise or affirm about them and tell them and one other person, and do a small act of kindness or generosity for your person daily. The author proceeds to offer specific ways to be kind, something people often think that they know but truly do not. Some of these are: perform small acts of service, give or share something precious, dont respond in kind, focus attention on the other person and be approachable, be fully present in their world, and assume the best. The book ends with specific plans for husbands or wives to use with their spouses.
This book was well-written and would be useful for anyone attempting to improve relationships with someone else.
I received this book free from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review.