+
A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
We are a small, independent media company on a mission to share the best of humanity with the world.
If you think the work we do matters, pre-ordering a copy of our first book would make a huge difference in helping us succeed.
GOOD PEOPLE Book
upworthy
Joy

What it's like for a man to share his feelings every day for a week.

For a week, I decided that when strangers asked how I was doing, I'd actually tell them. Here's what happened.

masculinity
Canva

Men can learn how to share what they're feeling.

We all know that phrases like “How's it going?” and “How are you?” are mostly pleasantries.

It's just how we say "Hello." You're not expected to answer any more than the person asking is expected to care.

But every once in a while, someone will surprise you. You'll toss out a casual and totally insincere “How are you?” and the floodgates will open out of nowhere. “I've had the WORST DAY,” they'll say.


I've always secretly envied people who can open up on a whim like that. It seems weirdly fun. And there might be a lot of psychological benefits to it.

So I tried it. For a week, I decided that when strangers asked how I was doing, I'd actually tell them.

But before I could start, a pretty important question occurred to me: Would I even know what to say? After all, I am a dude, and everyone knows dudes aren't always super in touch with how we're feeling.

Ronald Levant, a professor of counseling psychology at Akron University, told me a story about a man he once treated early in his career that sums up this whole thing pretty nicely:

“[He] came in complaining about how his son had stood him up for a father son hockey game. Being relatively naive back then, I said, 'So, how did you feel about that?' His answer was 'Well, he shouldn't have done it!' I said again, 'Yeah, he shouldn't have done it, but how did you feel?'
“He just looked at me blankly.”

Levant recalled similar sessions where women, by contrast, were able to walk him — in detail — through their emotional reaction to a situation: how anger turned to disappointment turned to worry, and so on.

“Among the men I was treating or working with there was a singular inability for many of them to put their emotions into words,” Levant said.

As part of my project, I wanted to test Levant's theory, to see what it would be like to, you know, actually try to express my feelings. As the king of non-answers, deflection, and “I'm fine, how are you?” I wanted to know what it would be like to talk about me.

It turned out to be much less simple than I thought.

grocery, enthusiastic conversation, strangers

Getting engaged and talking with other people throughout the day.

Photo by Blake Wisz on Unsplash

Day One

I was on my way to my daughter's daycare to drop off more diapers, and I was trying to think about how I felt at that specific moment. It was a beautiful sunny day. There was a guy on the sidewalk walking three huge, puffy dogs. It made me laugh.The day had been a bit of a rollercoaster. My 1-year-old daughter woke up all smiles. But by the end of breakfast, she had collapsed into an inconsolable heap of tears, and that was how she left the house that day: wailing in the backseat of my wife's car. When I arrived at daycare, though, she ran to me and leapt into my arms. She laid her head on my chest and giggled as she stared into my eyes. It was a total turnaround and a wonderful midday boost to my mood.

On my way home, I stopped off at a grocery store to grab an energy drink and, potentially, to share this happy moment with a stranger.

I chose the line manned by a fast-talking, bubbly woman. And when I got to the front, she teed me up perfectly with a sincere: “How are you?”

“Hey, I'm good!” I said enthusiastically. In the next instant, though, she was onto other things. “Ma'am?” she yelled to a wandering woman behind me. “I can ring you up over here.”

Her attention swung back to me, but almost immediately, she was telling me my total. “That'll be $2.03.”

The transaction moved at hyper-speed. The moment was gone. As I shuffled for my wallet, I considered just blurting it out anyway, “I just visited my daughter at daycare and she was so happy to see me and it was the freaking best!”

But a voice popped up in my head, and I couldn’t shake it: She's not going to care. Why would she care?

So I said nothing, paid, and went home.

To understand why men and women often handle feelings differently, we have to look at society first.

I can't help but think my wife would have had no trouble talking to the woman in the store. Why is it harder for me then? Are we wired differently? Is it a brain thing? A hormone thing?

Apparently, in the 1980s and '90s, researchers had something of a breakthrough on this question. They became “stimulated by this idea that gender was something that was socially determined,” Levant explained. He noted that boys were being socialized differently than girls were, and it was making a big difference for them down the road.

In a TEDx Talk called “Unmasking Masculinity” Ryan McKelley, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse, echoed similar findings from his research.

First, he learned that infant and young boys surprisingly displayed more intensity and range of emotion than their female counterparts. “But that story starts to change over time,” he said.

Second, he looked at a series of studies polling men and women in America, which asked people to generate a list of emotions that are “culturally acceptable” for each sex. While the study found that women felt “allowed” to display nearly the entire emotional spectrum, men seemed to be limited to three primary feelings: anger, contempt, and pride.

But despite all these cultural “requirements” about emotion, it turns out that our brains aren't processing things all that differently. McKelley says if you hook men and women up to equipment that measures things like heart rate, skin conductance, sweat, and breath rate, and then expose them to stimuli that can provoke strong emotions, “these gender differences disappear.”

“I do not deny there are biological differences,” McKelly told me in an interview. “However, the degree to which it influences all that other stuff, I believe, is overblown.”

My learning after talking to these researchers? Men DO feel feelings (yay!) but society isn’t doing us any favors when it comes to helping us learn how to express them.

Day Two

I was sitting in the sweltering parking lot outside a Home Depot when I decided I was going to do better than the day before.

I walked inside and stood in line at the customer service counter for what felt like an eternity. Finally, one of the tellers called me up. She had a shock of white curly hair and kind eyes. A grandmotherly type. “How can I help you?” she asked. Not the exact question I wanted, but we'll see where it goes. “I have some returns,” I said.

I decided I was going to do better today.

We launched right into the specifics of what I was returning and why, and it was looking like I was about to strike out again. The transaction took a while so there was ample space to fill. Since she hadn’t asked me about my day, I took the initiative while she tapped impatient fingers along her computer waiting for it to load.

“How's your day going so far?” I asked. She went on to tell me about how a big storm that rolled through nearly knocked out the store's power and how the computers had been acting up ever since. “My day was going great until this!” she said playfully.

In my eagerness to share, I'd accidentally stumbled into a pretty pleasant conversation with a stranger. OK, so it was about computers and the weather, but it sure beats an awkward silence. She never did ask me how I was doing, and that's OK.

But it did make me realize that talking about your own feelings is pretty damn hard, even when you're going out of your way to try.

rainy day, gray, feeling depressed, shame

A rainy day affects the human experience and emotional state.

Photo by Raimond Klavins on Unsplash

Day Three

Day three was tough. Outside it was gray and dreary and inside I felt about the same. Flat. Gray.

I was having trouble identifying the root of why I felt so, for lack of a better word, “blah,” so I Googled “how to find out what you're feeling,” like I was some sort of robot trying to understand the human experience. “Pay attention to your physiology,” one article said. I felt totally normal and my heart rate was an unremarkable 80. What does that mean?

“Don't think about it too much,” another article said. Well, shit.

As I read on about meditation and mindfulness and things of that sort, I started to get a little nervous. “What if I get too in touch with my emotions?” There's something comforting about being a reasonably even-keeled guy without a lot of emotional highs and lows. I don't want to go digging in the darkest recesses of my subconscious and unlock some terrible shit.

Apparently a lot of men feel like this.

McKelley described one man he treated who had severe anger issues and wasn't exactly open to talking about his problems: “I asked him, 'What do you find so subversive about crying?' He said, 'If I start, I'm afraid I'm going to curl up in a fetal position and never be able to stop.'”

I thought a little too much about this and decided I had to get out of the house.

I don't want to go digging in the darkest recesses of my subconscious and unlock some terrible shit.

I headed out to grab a coffee at a local establishment (OK, it was a McDonald's, but I really don't need your judgment right now). There was a young, freckle-faced girl working the counter. She was probably 19. When it was my turn, she gave me a shy “Hello.”

“How are you?” I started. “Good. How are you?” she responded, on cue.

Since I hadn’t had any major emotional breakthroughs at that point, I just ... told her the truth. “I just had to get out of the house a little bit. It's so gray and crappy today and I just needed a break. You know?”

She gave me possibly the blankest stare I had ever seen in my life. I quickly filled the silence with my order — a large iced coffee. To go.

The more I learn, the more I realize there is so much more to this whole emotions thing than just “opening up.”

By the third day, I’d learned that men definitely feel things. Lots of things. But it's what happens before those feelings bubble to the surface that accounts for the myth that dudes don’t have any emotions at all.

Think of it this way: Almost every single day, you take the same route driving home from work. And while driving is usually a conscious process that takes a lot of focus and effort, you could probably make that super-familiar drive home from work with barely any involvement from your brain at all. We sometimes call this “going on autopilot.” It’s the same way with breathing or blinking. Sure, you can control them if you want, but more often than not, they’re totally automatic.

And I've learned that it can be the same thing with suppressing emotions. For years and years, most men have been trained not to give any indication that we might be scared or lonely or nervous, and we push it down. If we do that enough, it can start to seem like we don’t feel those feelings at all.

It's what happens before those feelings bubble to the surface that accounts for the myth that dudes don't have any emotions at all.

McKelley expands on this idea in his TEDx Talk when he talks about the “male emotional funnel system.” Basically, he says all those emotions men might feel that make them vulnerable or that make them subject to judgment, or even being outcast, by their peers are transformed into anger, aggression, or silence. It's how we avoid ridicule.

It's how we survive.

But over time, not only do we lose the ability to understand our own true emotions — the emotions behind the anger or silence — but we get worse at figuring out and empathizing with what others are feeling too.

When it comes to emotional fluency, McKelley said, “it's like speaking a foreign language. If you don't use it, you lose it. It's something you have to practice.”

Day Four

When I went to bed the previous night, the country was heartbroken over the death of Alton Sterling. When I woke up, we were heartbroken over the death of Philando Castile. Two black men dead at the hands of police within 48 hours.

But as devastated as I was, life goes on — right? I had work to do and, later, errands. In fact, we needed more diapers.

But the shootings were the only thing on my mind all day.

When I reached the cashier at the Walgreens down the street from my house, a small pack of size-five Pampers clutched to my side, I saw she was a young black girl. She asked how I was doing. And I told her, with all honesty, that I was sad.

We talked briefly about the news. She'd been at work and hadn’t heard much about Philando Castile yet. We paused so I could enter my phone number for reward points. There were no tears or hugs or anything like that — after all, we were standing at the front of a Walgreens and people were starting to form a line behind me.

She asked how I was doing. And I told her, with all honesty, that I was sad.

When I left, I don't know if I felt any better. But I certainly didn’t feel worse. And talking to a real live human being about an awful tragedy felt a lot more meaningful than reading Facebook comments and Tweets.

So, on an awful, terrible, no-good day, I guess that was something.

While I worked on this project, I often wondered why all of this mattered. Do I really need to tell people what I’m feeling all the time?

And then I thought about our nation, and all the tragedies that we hear about on the news every day.

I thought about the 100 million men in America who, to varying degrees, have had their ability to empathize with the emotions of others slowly eroded over time because society tells them they cannot be vulnerable. I thought about the creep on the street chatting up a woman who clearly, visibly wants nothing to do with him. I thought about the catcallers who seem to be convinced they are paying women a compliment and are oblivious to how uncomfortable, even afraid, they're making them.

I thought of the millions of men in America being conditioned from an early age to turn fear, helplessness, loneliness, shame, and guilt into two things: anger and aggression. I thought of the 80-plus mass shootings in America since 1982 and how almost all of them were committed by men. I thought about how many of those men might have been bullied, hurt, shamed, or humiliated and, perhaps, could think of no other outlet for those feelings than the barrel of a gun.

I thought about the millions of men in America who will never harm another person, but might funnel that anger and aggression inwards through alcohol or drug abuse or worse, with three and a half times more men dying by suicide than women.

To be extremely clear: There is no excuse for hurting another person, whether through harassment, rape, abuse, or gun violence. But when we talk about providing better mental health services in our country, maybe we ought to make sure we're thinking of the next generation of otherwise healthy boys who need guidance about what to do with their emotions.

“If we're not allowed to talk about [shame], we're not allowed to express it, we're not allowed to admit we're experiencing it. And then you surround it with exposure to violence and seeing it modeled as a way to solve problems,” McKelley told me. “But women are bathed in the same violent cultural forces, so what's the difference?”

“Until we can figure out a better way socially to help boys and men navigate feelings of shame, we're going to continue to have problems.”

As bad as all the research sounds, there IS some good news.

intimacy, honesty, emotional intelligence, terrifying, men

Giving self reflection and intimacy a real shot.

Photo by Suzana Sousa on Unsplash

My best advice for how all of the men I know can figure out what their feelings are? Give it a shot.

Many of us are risk-takers. We go skydiving, wakeboarding, speedboating, or even shopping-cart-riding (full-speed into a thorn bush on a rowdy Saturday night, amiright?).

But we won’t tell our best friend that we love them.

“The irony is men repeatedly score higher than women on average in risk-taking behaviors. And yet we won't take those types of risks. Those emotional risks are terrifying for a lot of men. That’s probably the one thing at the end of the day that I suggest guys do,” McKelley said.

It might not always work out, but more often than not, he says, you'll find so many other people are feeling the same way and just waiting for someone else to say it.

“It doesn't require courage to hide behind a mask,” McKelley said in the closing minutes of his TEDx Talk. “What requires courage is being open and vulnerable no matter what the outcome.”

And as for me? I learned that talking about how I'm feeling, especially with people I don't know or trust, can be pretty hard.

Throughout the week, there were a lot of voices inside me telling me not to do it.

It'll be weird! They won't care! They're going to judge you!

And sometimes those voices were right. But as the week went along, it got a little bit easier to ignore them. And in the days since the “experiment” ended, I've found myself sharing just a little, tiny, minuscule bit more on a day-to-day basis.

What was most incredible was that I started to realize that the experts were right: This IS a skill. It’s something I can learn how to do, even as a self-described “nonemotional” guy. By taking “little risks” with my feelings, I am getting better and better at bypassing those instincts in me that want me to clam up and be the strong, stoic man.

I just hope I’ll have the courage to keep practicing.

But again, this isn't just about me. And it's probably not just about you either. It’s about the next generation of young people who will look to us (both men and women) for reassurance that men can feel, can talk about feeling, and can respond with things other than anger, aggression, or silence.

I want to leave you with a question, one I want you to really think about and answer as honestly as you possibly can. It might seem silly, but answering it could be one of the bravest things you'll ever do.

All right. Are you ready? Here it goes:

How are you?


This article originally appeared on 07.27.16

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

A map of the United States post land-ice melt.




Land ice: We got a lot of it.

Considering the two largest ice sheets on earth — the one on Antarctica and the one on Greenland — extend more than 6 million square miles combined ... yeah, we're talkin' a lot of ice.

But what if it was all just ... gone? Not like gone gone, but melted?


If all of earth's land ice melted, it would be nothing short of disastrous.

And that's putting it lightly.

This video by Business Insider Science (seen below) depicts exactly what our coastlines would look like if all the land ice melted. And spoiler alert: It isn't great.

Lots of European cities like, Brussels and Venice, would be basically underwater.

In Africa and the Middle East? Dakar, Accra, Jeddah — gone.

Millions of people in Asia, in cities like Mumbai, Beijing, and Tokyo, would be uprooted and have to move inland.

South America would say goodbye to cities like Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires.

And in the U.S., we'd watch places like Houston, San Francisco, and New York City — not to mention the entire state of Florida — slowly disappear into the sea.

All GIFs via Business Insider Science/YouTube.

Business Insider based these visuals off National Geographic's estimation that sea levels will rise 216 feet (!) if all of earth's land ice melted into our oceans.

There's even a tool where you can take a detailed look at how your community could be affected by rising seas, for better or worse.

Although ... looking at these maps, it's hard to imagine "for better" is a likely outcome for many of us.

Much of America's most populated regions would be severely affected by rising sea levels, as you'll notice exploring the map, created by Alex Tingle using data provided by NASA.

Take, for instance, the West Coast. (Goodbye, San Fran!)

Or the East Coast. (See ya, Philly!)

And the Gulf Coast. (RIP, Bourbon Street!)

I bring up the topic not just for funsies, of course, but because the maps above are real possibilities.

How? Climate change.

As we continue to burn fossil fuels for energy and emit carbon into our atmosphere, the planet gets warmer and warmer. And that, ladies and gentlemen, means melted ice.

A study published this past September by researchers in the U.S., U.K., and Germany found that if we don't change our ways, there's definitely enough fossil fuel resources available for us to completely melt the Antarctic ice sheet.

Basically, the self-inflicted disaster you see above is certainly within the realm of possibility.

"This would not happen overnight, but the mind-boggling point is that our actions today are changing the face of planet Earth as we know it and will continue to do so for tens of thousands of years to come," said lead author of the study Ricarda Winkelmann, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

If we want to stop this from happening," she says, "we need to keep coal, gas, and oil in the ground."

The good news? Most of our coastlines are still intact! And they can stay that way, too — if we act now.

World leaders are finallystarting to treat climate change like the global crisis that it is — and you can help get the point across to them, too.

Check out Business Insider's video below:

This article originally appeared on 12.08.15

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

klem528/Reddit via Upworthy/Instagram (left), Photo by charlesdeluvio on Unsplash (right)

A small act of kindness can make a big difference.

No matter who we are or where we live, we all have occasional bad days—and it can be surprising how quickly someone's words or actions can make your day worse or better.

A woman shared a story on Reddit that showcases how one small and simple act of kindness can have a big lasting impact, prompting others to share their own stories.

Reddit user klem528 explained that she was "having a day" and crying in her car as she pulled into a frozen yogurt store parking lot one day.

"I caught a glimpse of a teenage girl and dad in the car next to me while I was crying," she wrote. "When I came back after eating the fro you, their car was gone but this was in my door handle."

The photo shows a $10 bill with a note bedecked with hearts that reads, "Your fro-yo is on us. We hope tomorrow is a better day."

People loved the example of strangers taking the time and money to help a fellow human being feel a little less alone and began sharing their own stories of random kindnesses.

"I was at the self checkout at Walmart a few months back. This mother and her child id seen a couple times were checking out. Her son was a saint. The whole time, he would help her grab stuff off shelves. Was very polite to other people in the store if they were in his way.

Anyway, they're checking out, and he had this toy and his mother apologized and told him she couldn't get it. The kid seemed upset about it, but went and took it to the woman over the self checkout.

As he was walking back, a girl who was still checking out asked for it, and bought it for him. Took it over to him, and this kid burst into tears and thanked her. The woman who bought it asked if he'd be good for his mom, and this poor kid was choking back more tears, shaking his head yes. The mother also choking back tears a bit and thanked her.

It made my heart warm that day. I've tried to do little acts of kindness more since then." – Shawnessy

"One day, I was on my way home with a friend when I was stopped at the pump by a young woman who was nearly hysterical, dressed up and shaking her hands out. 'Please, please do you have $5? I haven’t had a job in months, I’m on my way to an interview, and I need just enough gas to get there. Please?'

I filled her tank as full as it could go. I got back in the car after her thanks and watching her speed away, and my friend says, without even looking up from her phone, 'Know you just got taken for a ride, don’t you? She probably didn’t have an interview.'

But I just shrugged and said, 'But maybe she did.' I think about her often. Maybe I did lose $30. But maybe I helped a young mother (saw the car seat in her back) find a job and provide for her family. Either way, I did it because I wanted to help someone, and it’s on them if they lied. The world might be a lot nicer if we stopped assuming everyone’s out to get us. – KaythuluCrewe

"Last summer my best friend in the whole world and I had a complete falling out. I was sobbing in the Starbucks drive thru a few days later, I was feeling miserable and the woman in front of me payed for my drink and told the barista to tell me it’ll get better 😭😭 I cried.

There really are good people out there. I hope tomorrow is better xo" – haleymichal

"I once went into Starbucks and I was having such a hard day, my uncle died, boyfriend and I broke up, work was being really hard on me. I couldn’t hold back my tears when I went to order and the barista gave it to me for free. I’ve never been so grateful for such a small, kind gesture on a terrible day. I’ve never forgot it and I doubt I ever will. Small acts of kindness matter." – venusdances

"I went to Chick-fil-A the morning after my husband passed away to get my daughter something to eat. The girl taking my order said, “you look like you need a hug. Can I hug you?” I sobbed in that girl’s arms for a solid 5 min. Another employee routed cars to the other lane, and she kept telling me, “who cares about those cars, it’s about you right now.” I will never forget the kindness of this young lady who couldn’t have been older than 18-19, did not know my circumstance. She just made it her mission to comfort me that day. ❤️😪" – beachbaby5

"I was in Lowe’s the first Mother’s Day after losing my own mom to buy plants for my garden. I was so late to checkout inside that the registers were closed. I apologized and said it wasn’t the best day. Not only did they open a register for me, but the cashier went in the back and brought me a gift bag full of candy that they gave to all employees who were moms that day. I will never forget her face or her kindness." – carpalmieri

"I lost my dog 7 months ago. I’m very sad and having a really hard time. I went to the park we always visited for our fifteen years together. I was walking and crying behind my sunglasses. I was with my other dog ( she is having a really hard time too). A lady passed by and stopped me to ask about my dog and pet her. As I was answering, she asked if I was ok, because my voice was shaky. I said I was so sorry I was just thinking about my dog that passed away and really miss him, but that that we go there to feel him close, it was his favorite place. She started crying and hugged me, and told me I was a good dog mother. Small acts are HUGE for the ones in need. I needed that hug. 💜" – delphinacoscia

On one of the very worst days I can remember in years, my partner and I pulled over on a road trip to deal with some bad news. A woman in the parking lot passed two ice cream cones into our car windows. And that memory makes the hard day so much better in the rear view mirror. Kind strangers make the world such a better place ❤️" – neuro_fuzzy

The original poster who posted the story three years ago shared that she still keeps the $10 bill and note in her glove compartment. You just never know how a small act can boost someone's mood and offer a much-needed sense of hope. Imagine the world we could build if we all went out of our way to lift someone's spirits and remind them they're not alone.

If you enjoyed this story and would like to read more like it, check out our new book, "GOOD PEOPLE: Stories From the Best of Humanity," now available for pre-order.


Family

Texas UPS driver proudly explains why he never helps his wife do any chores

“I don’t help her clean, do laundry, take care of the kids — none of that.”

J.R. Minton's video has over 6 million views.

Even though America has come a long way in gender relations over the past few decades men are still far behind women when accepting domestic responsibilities.

A recent study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey found that women aged 15 and over spend 5.7 hours daily on domestic tasks, whereas men spend 3.6 hours, a 37 percent difference. Women with a 35-hour week devote 4.9 hours daily to home chores and child care, compared to men's 3.8 hours.

In a world where men still trail behind women when it comes to work on the homefront, a Texas UPS driver is going viral for a TikTok video where he urges men to reconsider how they think about domestic responsibilities.


In a video with over 6 million views, J.R. Minton proudly says he doesn’t “help” his wife with jobs around the house. “I don’t help my wife cook. I don’t help her clean, do laundry, take care of the kids — none of that,” Minton, 32, began his clip.

Warning: Strong language.

So, why does Minton refuse to help his wife?

"Because I do what I am supposed to do as a father and a husband. I cook. I clean. I do the laundry. I take care of the kids. I can't help my wife do those things because they are my job, too,” he reveals.

He then urged men to change their perspectives on how they view their relationship to domestic responsibilities and their wives. “Change the way you speak, change the way you think, and grow the f*** up and be a man," he added.

The video received raves from women in the comments. Sadly, many used the video to share that their husbands have fallen short of Minton’s level of understanding. "My husband sometimes doesn’t even flush the toilet," Human Robot wrote. "I am sending this straight to my man he needs to see this," JJsMom added.

"Yep! My husband and I recognize it’s BOTH our kids and BOTH our house, therefore BOTH our responsibility," Sweetheart wrote.

Minton is an equal partner to his wife because he was raised much differently and wants to right the wrongs of his past. “Pretty much everything about my parenting style is in spite of what I saw when I was growing up,” he told Today.com

Minton knew that his philosophy on marriage was necessary when a woman at Target praised him for doing the “bare minimum." “I was wearing the baby, and I had two kids in the cart, and this lady comes up to Brittany, and she’s like, ‘Oh my God. Is this your husband!? Look at him. You should take a picture of him,’” Minton said. “I get so much credit for doing nothing. How low is the bar?"

Minton responded to his viral video with a heartfelt follow-up to everyone who loved how he cared for his wife and family. “I’m truly humbled at how far my message has gone,” he said. “However, I’d like to take a second to say: I am not special. I am no ‘unicorn.’ I am normal.”

“Nothing about my parenting style or my commitment to my wife is unique. Although it may seem out of the ordinary, it is far from extraordinary,” he continued. “Every father and husband we know (that seems to come up short) is fully-capable — yet unwilling.” He added that there was one thing that separates dads who do their part and dads who don’t: “Effort.”


This article originally appeared on 10.16.23

Kids

Toddler cries every time he hears 'You Are My Sunshine' but begs his mom to sing it anyway

More than 33 million people have already made this the feel good song of the year.

Toddler cries every time he hears song but begs mom to sing it

Some songs make people emotional. It may be because the song has special meaning for them or because the musical arrangement is so beautiful that it activates something within causing tears to flow. Babies are not immune to being moved by music but typically they don't request the song that brings them to tears.

Jillian James posted a video to social media that shows her toddler son laying on her chest seemingly preparing for nap time. The little guys requests that his mom sing the lullaby, "You Are My Sunshine" but before obliging the request, James asks multiple times if he's sure. Apparently, the sweet song makes the toddler cry every time he hears it. Nevertheless, he persists with his request to hear "sunshine."

James knows what the result will be and checks one last time to see if the little boy is sure he understands what will happen, "you already look like you're about to cry. Buddy, I don't want to sing it if you're going to cry."


The additional warnings did not deter the persistent toddler. He assures his mom he's not going to cry but she has a sneaking suspicion that he won't hold up against the melody of the song and sure enough, waterworks before the first line is finished. Not just a little tear filled eyes, but full on crying and commenters don't disagree with his tears.

@jillianjames31 Every single night he asks me to sing “sunshine” but this is also his reaction when I sing it to him… idk what triggers this response but it equally breaks my heart and makes me laugh at the same time 😂 #youaremysunshine #sunshine #son #toddler #mama #momlife ♬ original sound - Jillian James

"you are my sunshine will always emotionally devastate me," someone admits.

"To be fair, You Are My Sunshine makes me cry too," another writes.

"Sometimes it feels good to listen to your favorite song and have yourself a good cry," one person shares.

"He wants you to sing sunshine for the same reason I like to watch military homecoming videos I guess. Same reaction," a commenter says.

Many people were not expecting the level of crying that escaped from the little boy and suddenly understood why his mom didn't want to sing it. Maybe when he's older he will understand why he listens to music that makes him cry, though sometimes it's just a matter of needing an emotional release with no larger reason outside of that. Poor little guy, sometimes we all just need a cry.

A therapist shares some advice with her clients.

A good therapist has the magical ability to take our messiest problems and break them down in a way that makes sense. They have an incredible way of showing us our struggles from a fresh perspective and quite often, the answers were right in front of our faces the whole time. We just needed their help to nudge us in the right direction.

For some, a therapist's simple, sage wisdom can change their lives with just one poignant realization.

Recently, a Redditor named BuildingBridges23 asked people on the subforum to share the priceless bits of wisdom that changed their lives and over 5,300 people responded. The pithy but powerful observations they shared were helpful to many people and more than one called the thread “free therapy.”


Here are 19 of the best responses to the question: “What's something your therapist said that was life-changing?”

1. You can't fix sick

"You're going to put yourself in an early grave trying to make your mother happy. Your mother is sick, trying to make her happy is like trying to fill a bucket that has no bottom, its not going to happen unless she fixes the bucket. You can't fix it for her." — ModerateDude9


2. Other people's feelings

"I asked him, 'How do you process all of the negative feelings that are projected at you?' and he said "They aren't my feelings.'" — Wirestyle22


3. Coping with death

"'The way your parents died will never be the most interesting thing about you. It's not even the most interesting thing about THEM.' My parents died by suicide together and I was worried that it was going to consume me as an individual. I didnt want their deaths or my grief to become my entire identity." — Crazyofo


4. Being brave

"When I broke down because I was so fed up with being scared and anxious all the time, he said something like. 'You can’t be brave without being scared first.' It always stuck with me that fear, no matter how overwhelming, won’t last forever and I try to see it as a chance for me to prove to myself I can fight back and try to get through this." — AnxiousAxolotyl88


5. Change

"Change happens when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of change." ؅— SpicyEmmaa

6. Dealing with mental illness

"Just because the mentally ill person screaming at you lives in your home instead of on the streets doesn't mean their opinion is any more true." — UnorignalUse

7. People are like colanders

"Some people are like a colander. It doesn't matter how much time, love and support you pour into them, it will never fill them up enough to make a difference." — Competitive-Watch188

8. Boundaries

"The only people in your life who will be angry because you established boundaries were the people who benefitted from you not having them in the first place." — Imagine_magic

9. Other people's anxiety

"'Be the mirror, not the sponge.' Don’t absorb other people’s stress and anxiety, show it back to them gently. Changed my life." — CariocaInLA

10. Sensitive people

"That being a 'highly sensitive person' is just how I’m built. It’s not something that’s wrong with me or something that I necessarily have to change. I just have to accept it, to learn my boundaries and needs and live accordingly." — stuttering-mime-ta2


11. For people-pleasers

"'You don’t need to please everyone all of the time. People who love you will not leave you because you disagree with them or do something they don’t like.' She nailed a lot of my behaviours back to the fact my biological dad left when I was 9 months old. I cannot cope with perceived abandonment, and will do everything in my power to keep people happy… because they might leave me." — RhiR2020

12. It's not about you

"'You aren’t that interesting.' I would have panic attacks and paranoia that people were out to get me (PTSD, etc) and would think that people were judging me in grocery stores because my toddler was crying or that my hair was messy. And honestly it boiled down to…nobody cares. We’re all trying to survive and get through the day and what someone looks like or does, we observe and move on." — jac_kayyy

13. Judgement

"We judge ourselves by our intentions, but we judge others by their actions." — Horny_Rapunzel

14. It's simple

"'The answer is simple. That doesn't mean it's easy, but it's simple.' I was doing what I always do in difficult, scary situations that I don't want to deal with head-on; I was overthinking and over-complicating what I needed to do to be happy again. The answer was actually quite simple: I needed to tell my (now ex-husband) that I wanted a divorce." — RovenshereExpress

15. Realize your unhappiness

"At the third session with our couples counselor, my wife and I had a brief ten-minute private session with our therapist. During my session, the therapist said, 'You need to accept the possibility of a divorce. You are trying to do the right thing and be supportive, but you can't do that alone. Your wife is taking advantage of you. You can't see how unhappy you are. That will change within a year after your divorce.' Yup. She was right. My wife and I agreed to divorce during the 4th session. I am finally happy, and love my life." — BlueCollarBeagle

16. Hurt

"Just because you were hurt when you were younger, doesn't mean randoms have the right to hurt you now." — Paeliens

17. See-saw relationship

"A relationship is like a see-saw. If the other person doesn't want to participate, you can keep going, but you'll get really tired." — SendInYourSkeleton

18. Panic

"Not my therapist, but a friend told me hers said this: 'You do not have enough information to panic about that yet.' Whenever I catch myself spiraling about the unknown, I try to remember that." — Bananaphone1549

19. Heart attacks

"It wasn’t my therapist, it was my doctor, but it was life-changing. I had been 300+ pounds all of my adult life and I was in for a physical and he said to me: 'You know, the first symptom of a heart attack is a heart attack.' It was what caused me to change my life at age 54 and lose 110 pounds in 16 months and I became a runner. I have run a race in all 50 states, 26 Halifax marathons and 2 full marathons, Chicago and Boston. That one thing he said to me kicked off my decision for better health! That was 15 years ago." — BlueJasper27