13) Reading 1
You've heard about survival of the fittest and Darwin's theory. Survival of the fittest is usually associated with selfishness, meaning that to survive (a basic instinct) means to look out for yourself. But Darwin, who studied human evolution, actually didn't see mankind as being biologically competitive and self-interested. Darwin believed that we are a profoundly social and caring species. He argued that sympathy and caring for others is instinctual.
Current research supports the idea that devoting resources to others, rather than having more and more for yourself, brings about lasting well-being. Kindness has been found by researchers to be the most important predictor of satisfaction and stability in a marriage as a result, many prestigious colleges, including Harvard, are now emphasizing it on applications for admission.
There are different ways to practice gentleness in which you can open your eyes and notice when others are suffering. Celebrating someone you love, giving honest compliments, sending an email thanking someone, telling someone how s/he is special to you, helping an elderly neighbor with yard work or food, taking a photo of someone and sending it to the person, sharing homemade food, refusing to gossip, and donating old clothing and things you don't need are all ideas about how to practice kindness.
Kindness is actually a willingness to full-heartedly celebrate someone else's successes, Gottman's work shows that your response to someone's successes may determine more about your relationship than how you respond when times are difficult. Do you minimize the success, not pay attention to it, or bring up all the problems with the success?
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