Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Book Review - A Year of Living Kindly by Donna Cameron

This book found me; I didn't go looking for it, and it's message resonates with me deeply. In the Bible we are told to "Be kind one to another... (Ephesians 4:32)." In A Year of Living Kindly, the author recognized that something was missing from her life and challenged herself to be kind for a year.

This book is the result of how kindness changed her and the insights learned along the way. Many of us think that the opposite of kindness is unkindness, but the author discovered that for her the opposite of kind was nice.

"Being kind - truly kind is hard. Nice requires little effort. I can be nice while also being indifferent, critical and even sarcastic. But I can't be kind and be any of those things. Being kind means caring; it means making an effort; it means thinking about the impact I'm having in an interaction and making it rich and meaningful - giving them what they need at that moment without wondering if I get anything in return. It means letting go of my judgement and accepting people as they are. Kindness demands that I reach out and take a risk."

Other nuggets:

  • Kindness is its own reward.
  • Kindness alleviates social anxiety.
  • What's the best that can happen? (This is my personal favorite)
  • It takes patience to be kind and kindness to be patient.
  • Our kindness may sometimes be unwelcome; be kind anyway.
  • We can always be kind.

The book ends with a kindness manifesto that anyone can use or tailor to their lives. The author interspersed snippets of her life which demonstrated the necessity of kindness. I appreciated her vulnerability and openness as it reinforced that kindness does not have a superhuman quality to it. The book is organized into 52 brief chapters each ending with Kindness in Action Challenge.

This book made me think and also made me act. I can start right now with being intentional about being kind. I hope you do the same.


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  1. Thank you so much for this lovely review! I'm so glad the book found you, and that you found value in it. Your words made my day! ~Donna

  2. This sounds like a great read! Thanks for sharing - and thanks for visiting my blog : )


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