A well-known social researcher believes she has an answer to helping heal our divided nation – and she’s posing a unique challenge to every American.
Shaunti Feldhahn, whose latest book “The Kindness Challenge” documents her extensive research on the stunning impact that unfolds when people willingly exhibit kindness to others, told Faithwire that she believes a few simple and concerted steps “would change our culture dramatically.”
Feldhahn said she started working on “The Kindness Challenge” well before the 2016 presidential campaign — and the overall state of incivility in America — reached a dramatic fever pitch.
“I had no idea that we’d be where we are today and that this would be coming out on the heels of this election year,” she said.
Feldhahn decided to explore the issue of kindness after realizing that there’s “one common denominator” in all of her past research surrounding peoples’ happiness in relationships.
“Really there’s just one common denominator, whether you thrive in your life and whether you thrive in your relationships,” she said. “It is far more related to how you treat other people than how you, yourself, are being treated.”
With this dynamic in mind, Feldhahn set out to explore just how much one’s treatment of others could impact their relationships. In the end, she found that there’s just three simple steps people can take over a 30-day period to improve their friendships, marriages or even acquaintanceships.
“What you’re doing is you pick one person that you do this for,” she said, noting that choosing more than one individual would yield weaker results. “And that is really crucial.”
Then, those taking the challenge commit to not say anything negative to the person’s face or behind his or her back, emphasizing that the latter point is monumentally important.
“I can be very sweet to my husband,” she said. “But if I go to my girlfriends at work and complain, I don’t realize it, but I am sabotaging [myself].”
The second part of the kindness challenge requires those partaking in it to find one positive thing about the other person to praise or affirm each and every day for the month — and then tell that person as well as one other individual. Third, those participating must do one kind gesture each day for the 30-day period.
And if someone follows through on all three parts, the end results are pretty stunning, especially for the person who has chosen to take on the challenge, according to Feldhahn.
“If you do this, 89 percent of relationships improved, which honestly — that is a huge number in social research,” she said, noting that the experiment actually forces people to be more positive and to change how they feel about the target of their kindness. “The biggest thing you’re doing is changing you.”
In the end, Feldhahn said the challenge is something simply that would profoundly benefit American culture, including American politicians serving in Washington.
“I’m challenging everybody to do this,” she said.
Find out more about “The Kindness Challenge” here.