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Family & Friends

6 Ways to Show Your Friends You Appreciate Them

By Kulraj Singh – Tiny Buddha

“Life without friendship is like the sky without the sun.” ~Unknown

You love your friends. They’ve been with you through good times and bad. They are the rare breed of humans that accept your weirdness, accept your authentic self, and even love you for it.

You wholeheartedly appreciate them. When you’re with them, you get an overwhelming sense of thankfulness that you have this wonderful human being in your life.

Sometimes, however, you get a sense that you wish you could let that person know just how much they truly mean to you.

Offering to buy a cup of coffee, giving a sincere compliment, and praising them to others just doesn’t feel like it’s doing them justice.

Trust me, I’ve been there.

I’ve felt like the luckiest man on Earth for many years because of the people I’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded by.

Some time ago, however, I had the same feeling we all get on occasion—a desire to do more. To appreciate them in a way that will make them truly feel appreciated.

As a student of happiness, I’ve also known for years the positive impact my friendships have had on my health and mental well-being.

It’s no surprise that the director of one of the longest studies ever done on human happiness, the Harvard Grant Study, George Vaillant, concluded:

“Happiness is love. Full stop.”

The research has confirmed many times over what we’ve all known intuitively for years: our relationships are the biggest contributors to our own long-term happiness.

For this reason alone, our friends are worthy of more than a simple thank you. Use the following six powerful and simple ways to show your friends you truly appreciate them.

1. Prioritize them.

To show your friends you love them, show them that their well-being is a higher priority to you than other things in your life.

For example, a friend in distress who is in the middle of a big life decision calls you, in tears, and asks for your help. She calls, however, right as you’re about to leave for dinner.

You must ask yourself which one is truly more important. A true friend deserves to have your attention in this scenario. You don’t have to mention you sacrificed a night out to help them. In time, they may come to learn of the sacrifice you made, and it’ll continue to deepen your relationship.

2. Communicate like a real human being.

One of the most concerning sights I’ve seen in the past few years is a group of friends at a restaurant all talking … to people who are not at the restaurant … on their phones, via text.

If you are physically spending time with a friend, the least they deserve is your very existence. Being lost in your phone or other technologies brings no joy to a meeting, and you might as well not be there at all.

When I first noticed this pattern emerging in groups, I began to encourage my friends to play a game that I read about online:

Everyone at the table must put their phones in the middle of the table. The first person to give into the urge to check their phone must then pay the bill for the meal.

People never want to spend more than necessary, and this game works like a charm.

3. Believe in your friends and stay by their sides.

We all have one or two friends with massive goals. As a friend, you can be the one who believes in them, even when most others won’t.

You can be the one encouraging them to persist in the face of defeat, to reiterate how much of a truly golden heart they have and why they deserve success in whatever venture they may be pursuing.

For example, I have some friends who are extraordinary artists. Over the years, their journeys of making their passions their careers have been difficult, seeing as we still live in a culture than incorrectly undervalues the importance of art in society.

I decided a long time ago to always give them a small psychological nudge every time I see them, just to ensure their optimism is maintained.

I would remark upon their talent, ask them how business was going, and give any advice I was capable of giving, without being intrusive.

You never know how much resistance and rejection friends are receiving in their desire to live a meaningful and impactful life, and they often highly regard the opinions of friends.

You can be that friend who never gives up on them.

Objectivity, of course, is still necessary. It would not be wise, for example, to continue encouraging a friend who is on a clear path to suffering.

In this instance, you can still be by their side when they decide the doors must close.

4. Personalize gifts.

We’re sometimes tempted to get the nicest and newest shiny object when gifting to friends.

But remember that personalized gifts have always, and will always, be more welcomed than any new object on the marketplace.

Personalizing gifts shows your friend that you remember the unique things about them and that you value and notice their wonderful wackiness. READ MORE

Teaching Self Esteem To Kids: How To Love Yourself


As a mom of three young and incredibly amazing kids, I want to make sure they grow up to love themselves in a way that I never learned myself. My sense of self esteem had to be learned and cultivated as I became an adult.

For whatever reason(s), I just missed the boat on how to love and appreciate myself. This led to countless mistakes and painful decisions that quite possibly may have been avoided had I learned early on just how awesome and worthy I am as an individual.

Now, I wouldn’t want to miss out on the priceless lessons that came from the life I’ve led, but my hope as a mom is to help guide my children down a different and less painful path, if possible.

I’ve turned my life’s work and career into helping other moms learn how to love themselves. They, in turn, can show their children how to do the same, while they’re young and able to really absorb the lessons instead of having to learn it all firsthand later on in life.

My theory is that if you grow up learning how to love yourself and feeling safe and loved in your environment, you’ll grow to be a happy, healthy, kind, compassionate and loving adult. When the world is filled with people that feel that way, we’ll see more compassion and kindness on a much grander scale. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely want to live in world like that.

Through years of observing and noticing what works best for me and my kids, I’ve come up with a list of my top five ways to teach your children how to love themselves.

1. Make them feel important.

When your kids want to talk to you, put aside what you’re doing, look them in the eye and be genuinely interested in what they’re talking about. It may only take a minute or two for the entire conversation, but it will make such a positive lasting impression for them. The last thing you want is for them to feel that your iPhone is more important than they are.

Also, say “I love you” all the time. No, it won’t lose its effect if you use it multiple times throughout the day. Make sure that they never doubt that you love them. Even when they get a bit older and they seem like they’re sick of hearing it, they’re not. Keep saying it.

Another pointer: When talking to friends or relatives, I know it can be easy to vent about the latest trouble your mini-me’s may have gotten into. Try to focus on the good, and make sure they overhear you praising and speaking highly of them.

2. Give them opportunities to stretch outside of their comfort zone.

If they normally like to take dance classes, encourage a soccer camp or music lessons. Letting your kids see that there’s little to be afraid of when trying new things will give them the confidence to make this a lifelong habit. Who knows? This could encourage them to do a stint with Americorps or travel to foreign countries as young adults. These enriching experiences, paired with the confidence to pull it off will result in more self-love.

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10 Ways to Love the People in Your Life

“At the end of life, our questions are very simple: Did I live fully? Did I love well?” ~Jack Kornfield

We all grow up with some healthy stories about love and some unhealthy ones.

By Tara Sophia Mohr  —  Tiny Buddha

I learned some beautiful, life-giving ideas about love, ideas like these:

Loving people means believing in their potential.
Love means treating people with kindness and gentleness.
Loving the people in your life means celebrating their successes and cheering them on.
But I also grew up with some stories about love that I came to see weren’t so helpful. Those ideas about love bred problems in my relationships.

One of those stories was: Loving someone means always being available to them. (Turns out, it’s not true, and living as if it is breeds resentment.)

Another was: Loving someone means always having space for what they want to talk to you about. (Turns out, not true either!)

Another myth about love: If you love someone, you do what they are asking you to do, out of love, even if it feels difficult. (I can tell you, that doesn’t work so well.)

I’ve developed my own guidelines for loving the people in my life, guidelines that express how I want to relate to the people around me.

These are some of my guidelines for loving:

1. Tell them about their brilliance.

They likely can’t see it and they don’t know its immensity, but you can see it, and you can illuminate it for them.

2. Be authentic, and give others the gift of the real you and a real relationship.

Ask your real questions. Share your real beliefs. Go for your real dreams. Tell your truth.

3. Don’t confuse “authenticity” with sharing every complaint, resentment, or petty reaction in the name of “being yourself.”

Meditate, write, or do yoga to work through anxiety, resentment, and stress on your own so you don’t hand off those negative moods to everyone around you. Sure, share sadness, honest dilemmas, and fears, but be mindful; don’t pollute.

4. Listen, listen, listen.

Don’t listen to determine if you agree or disagree. Listen to get to know what is true for the person in front of you. Get to know an inner landscape that is different from your own, and enjoy the journey. Remember that if, in any conversation, nothing piqued your curiosity and nothing surprised you, you weren’t really listening.

5. Don’t waste your time or energy thinking about how they need to be different.

Really. Chuck that whole thing. Their habits are their habits. Their personalities are their personalities. Let them be, and work on what you want to change about you—not what you think would be good to change about them.

6. Remember that you don’t have to understand their choices to respect or accept them. Read more

Elevating Your Children to Love

Teach Your Children Well

Haidt, PhD, recalls the first time he heard South African civil rights leader Nelson Mandela speak after his release from prison. Jailed since the early 1960s, Mandela emerged in 1990 urging reconciliation and cooperation in building a democratic, post-apartheid South Africa.

“Here was a man who had been imprisoned his whole life,” says Haidt, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville. “If anyone had a right to be angry, it was Mandela. Yet it was he who said that we all must work together.”

Haidt recalls a sensation upon hearing Mandela’s words, something subtle but undeniably real — something similar, perhaps, to what you felt the last time you witnessed any act of remarkable generosity or largeness of spirit: a momentary pause, a flutter in the chest, a tingling in the hands.

“It gave me chills,” Haidt recalls. “Just remembering it brings the sensation back.”

That “sensation,” Haidt believes, is neither an inconsequential response limited to one transitory moment of awe, nor a vague and indecipherable “feeling.” Rather, the effect that comes from witnessing acts of charity or courage may be a profoundly important universal phenomenon worthy of scientific research, he says.

Haidt is a pioneer in studying the effects that good deeds and acts of valor have on those who witness them — an effect he has termed “elevation.”

While Haidt’s work is still largely theoretical, he says parents can apply the principles of elevation in everyday interactions with children. For instance, he cites William Bennett’s The Book of Virtues — which describes models of virtuous behavior from history and literature — as a potent source of what he calls “moral exemplars” for kind and virtuous behavior.

“No one thing is going to make much of a difference, but talking about virtues and vices when they arrive in daily life, plus modeling virtuous behavior yourself, can help to create a sense of a moral world,” Haidt says. Read Full Story

Simple Ways to Teach Your Child to be Nice

These simple ideas teach your children to be nice, generous people, one good deed at a time.

By Kristine Breese from Parents Magazine

Great thinkers from Martin Luther King Jr. to the Dalai Lama to my daughter, Addison, all have had something to say about the importance of helping others. The civil-rights leader stated, “Life’s most persistent and nagging question is ‘What are you doing for others?'” The soft-spoken spiritual leader called doing good deeds “our prime purpose.” And my 12-year-old put it this way: “Helping feels good because it’s nice for the other person and for you.”

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Where’s the Love in Social Media ?

This year social media sites have seen an influx of negativity beyond all reason. Some is over the election, but also over the news around the world of violence and hate speech.

It’s created a content crisis for social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, where hate speech and fake news is rampant. This has led to reforms in the rules on these networks to try to stem the tide and identify fake news as well as hate speech. Social media sites upped their moderation policies, but sometimes even that backfired.

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Family & Friends - Applying love in parenting, raising your family and creating wonderful friendships.