On kindness

Jan 9, 2013

One of the 12 Things Happy People Do Differently is to practice acts of kindness:

Performing an act of kindness releases serotonin in your brain. (Serotonin is a substance that has TREMENDOUS health benefits, including making us feel more blissful.) Selflessly helping someone is a super powerful way to feel good inside. What’s even cooler about this kindness kick is that not only will you feel better, but so will people watching the act of kindness. How extraordinary is that? Bystanders will be blessed with a release of serotonin just by watching what’s going on.

Last year, a friend did something so unexpectedly kind for me, and I’ve been meaning to share it with you for a while.

Let me give you some background first.

Many of you know that I’m a big Duran Duran fan. It goes back . . . decades. (Eeesh, I’m old.) My school friends and I used to pine for the “fab five” quite ferociously, and now that I’m a grown-up (supposedly), it’s fun to find other Duranies out there in the world. As it turns out, fabulous author and agent-sister Tiffany Trent is one of them!

I first met Tiffany when she was participating in a Dragon*Con panel about steampunk. She was so calm, collected, and professional, and her presentation captivated me more than anyone else’s. I remember creeping up to introduce myself as another of Jenn’s clients, so afraid to seem like a doofus. Turns out, she is a delightfully warm and friendly lady, and I’ve so enjoyed getting to know her better over the years.

That said, I’ll confess to feeling a wee tinge of jealousy when I learned Tiffany was going to New York to see Duran Duran bassist John Taylor sign his book, In the Pleasure Groove. But mostly I was happy for her to meet him, because she’d been working so hard and deserved a treat.

On the day of the signing, she tweeted me a photo:

The significance of this didn’t immediately set in. I knew Tiffany was at the signing, and I’ve participated in signings where post-its were used, but still . . . I just stared for a moment. And then it hit me–Tiffany was getting a book signed for me. JUST FOR ME!!!

I nearly peed my pants.

Soon after that she posted a photo of her lovely self with John Taylor, and maybe because the serotonin was raging through my system, I could feel nothing but joy for her. I was in the pleasure groove! (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

A few weeks later this arrived in the mail:


I was so moved by this gesture that I had to publicly celebrate Tiffany for it. Sometimes I get so stuck in my hermetic little existence that I forget the energizing and blissifying (pretend it’s a word) potential of doing nice things for others. I promise to do better! So many of you have performed kindnesses for me–sending a note, signing a book, critiquing a draft, recommending a good read, hanging out with me, listening to me whine, encouraging me–and I celebrate you, too!

Henceforth I endeavor to be more mindful of the power of kindness. Will you join me?

[Cross-posted at Livejournal]

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