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upworthy
Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

10 things that made us smile this week

It can be hard to find hope in hard times, but we have examples of humanity all around us.

I almost didn't create this post this week.

As the U.S. reels from yet another horrendous school massacre, barely on the heels of the Buffalo grocery store shooting and the Laguna Woods church shooting reminding us that gun violence follows us everywhere in this country, I find myself in a familiar state of anger and grief and frustration. One time would be too much. Every time, it's too much. And yet it keeps happening over and over and over again.

I've written article after article about gun violence. I've engaged in every debate under the sun. I've joined advocacy groups, written to lawmakers, donated to organizations trying to stop the carnage, and here we are again. Round and round we go.

It's hard not to lose hope. It would be easy to let the fuming rage consume every bit of joy and calm and light that we so desperately want and need. But we have to find a balance.


When we have inhumanity violently shoved in our faces, we have to be reminded of our humanity. When we've witnessed the worst of us, we need to see who and what we can be at our best. When senseless, heinous acts turn the world upside down, we need to be reminded of what it looks like right-side up.

These weekly roundups of joy often include gratuitously adorable animal videos and such, and I would argue that there's a place for such lightheartedness under normal circumstances. But this week, I want to focus on us, on the goodness and beauty of everyday humanity. To remind us of what we're supposed to be—and what we still are—despite the horrors perpetrated by a handful of people.

If you're looking for reminders of our humanity right now, whether it's people doing good or good things about people, here are some simple things to get you started.

1. The beauty of forming unexpected connections with perfect strangers.

And after their chat, they made plans to get together again. More friendship meet-cutes like this one, please.

2. Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones.

@yourprouddad

Happy Sunday❤️. Is school out for you??

Humans also help out strangers—even ones they'll never actually meet. Summer Clayton is the "father" of 2.4 million "kids" and he couldn’t be more proud. Read the full story here.

3. Andy Grammer and PS22 remind us of the power of music, especially when we make it together.

And they did it with a sweet song about being there for one another, no less.

"Children singing has such a special power," wrote Grammer in his Facebook post. "I personally choked up multiple times throughout the day. The unbridled excitement and giddiness of an elementary school mixed with the sincerity and reverence they brought to this song was too much for me to handle."

4. Humans help out struggling penguin babies with adorable stuffed surrogates.

Zookeepers have stepped in to help care for the newest inhabitants of the zoo's Penguin Beach after it was discovered their parents were struggling with caring for them. The keepers have become the penguins' stand-in parents, hand-rearing the little penguins in the zoo's nursery and using stuffed surrogates for the babies to snuggle with.

Read the full story here.

5. The messages from this grandma, reminding us of the beauty of loving family bonds.

"I love you from Einstein bagels!" "I love you from my front room!" So sweet. Click the arrow to scroll through. You won't be sorry.

6. The way humans get silly together when we're bored.

The way we find fun with friends is one of the best things about us.

7. And the way we find creative ways to make ourselves laugh.

Why is anthropomorphizing vegetables so hilarious?

8. The human instinct—and ability—to express ourselves through dance is just amazing.

May 25 was National Tap Dancing Day, so seems like a perfect time to dust off the "Tap" Challenge Scene with some of the most iconic tap dancers in the history of Hollywood. Look what humans can do. It's a marvel.

9. The utterly pure, gushing expression of love from this wee one to their baby sister.

We are wired to love. See babies for proof.

10. And this reminder of life as it should be—and can be—for our kids.

I hate to yank us back to the present reality, but this is such a beautiful and fitting response to it. In the midst of our grief, we can create a space for joy and revel in it. Turn up the music. Let those babies dance till they're delirious.

It's what humans do.

As we navigate the awful, let's keep looking for and lifting up and sharing the good.

Take care, everyone.

Image from YouTube video.

An emotional and strong Matt Diaz.


Matt Diaz has worked extremely hard to lose 270 pounds over the past six years.

But his proudest moment came in March 2015 when he decided to film himself with his shirt off to prove an important point about body positivity and self-love.

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Health

The simple 'Dorito theory' is a thoughtful way to break our addictive, unfulfilling habits

"Things that aren't actually satisfying are those that are maximally addictive."

via Celeste Aria, used with permission and Hugo Martins/Flickr

Celeste Aria explains her "Dorito theory"

Philosopher Eric Hoffer once said, “You can’t get enough of what you truly don’t need to make you happy.” His point is that we can have enough of the things that truly satisfy us, such as a healthy relationship, necessary material possessions, or nutritious food.

However, the things that can’t satisfy us, such as junk food, toxic relationships, or status symbols, will always leave us feeling hollow, no matter how much we indulge.

This idea has popped back into public consciousness, although with a slight twist by TikTokker Celeste Aria, who refers to her version of the idea as the “Dorito theory.” “One thing I can’t stop thinking about is called the Dorito theory,” she said in a post with over 1 million views. “I learned about this, and now I see everything a little bit differently.”

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Family

Wife says husband's last name is so awful she can't give it to her kids. Is she right?

"I totally get we can’t shield kids from everything, and I understand the whole family ties thing, but c’mon."

A wife pleads with her husband to change their child's name.

Even though it’s 2023 and schools are much more concerned with protecting children from bullying than in the past, parents still have to be aware that kids will be kids, and having a child with a funny name is bound to cause them trouble.

A mother on Reddit is concerned that her future children will have the unfortunate last name of “Butt,” so she asked people on the namenerds forum to help her convince her husband to name their child something different.

(Note: We’re assuming that the person who wrote the post is a woman because their husband is interested in perpetuating the family name, and if it were a same-sex relationship, a husband probably wouldn’t automatically make that assumption.)

"My husband’s last name is Butt. Can someone please help me illuminate to him why this last name is less than ideal,” she asked the forum. “I totally get we can’t shield kids from everything and I understand the whole family ties thing, but c'mon. Am I being unreasonable by suggesting our future kid either take my name, a hybrid, or a new one altogether?"

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Education

Why awkwardness is such a real thing for people everywhere and one big key to overcoming it

This is super helpful info for people who struggle with social anxiety.

In our brains, awkwardness can feel as painful as being bullied.

Some people fear heights or small spaces, some fear spiders or snakes, and some fear illness or death. When taken to an extreme, such fears can form of an anxiety disorder, but they are understandable fears to have because any one of those things could theoretically spell our demise.

But what about fearing something that isn't physically dangerous at all, but rather psychologically uncomfortable, like…awkwardness?

For people with social anxiety, the fear of awkwardness is as real as the fear of death. "I'd rather cross a glass bridge over a 1,000-foot canyon than introduce myself to someone new" is a totally normal thought for a socially anxious person. The silences and pauses that mark most social interactions are magnified to painful degrees and the feelings of self-consciousness most of us experience in those moments are felt in extremes in the mind of a socially anxious person.

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Pop Culture

A new viral R&B version of Dolly Parton's 'Jolene' is such a beautiful mood setter

It's like a completely new, equally good version of the all-time classic.

Representative Image from Canva, Dolly Parton/Youtube

Brb, listening to this 100x on repeat

As Rolling Stone announced that Beyoncé just became the first Black woman artist to have a song hit No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, let’s keep the celebration of Black women busting through barriers in the genre going, why not?

Singer/songwriter and producer NYA, aka @nya.w0rld on TikTok, has given her followers all kinds of R&B versions of well known songs from artists like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Avril Lavine. She’s even R&B-ified theme songs from popular television shows like “Friends.”

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It can even make it harder for them to find a date.

Knowing that his daughter was setting her child up for a hard life by giving him a very unusual name, a dad staged an intervention—in person and online—to get her to realize what she was doing.

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