Donna Cameron on Her New Book A Year of Living Kindly

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by Stacy Lynn Gilbert

Donna Cameron, local writer and author, started a blog in January of 2015 because she had always been interested in the concept of kindness and what it meant to live a kinder lifestyle. “I often settled for being nice, and for many years I just remember thinking, “I want to be a kind person, not just a nice person,” she says. 

Cameron built a meaningful career working for nonprofit organizations and causes, but she started to wonder what the world could be like if people lived each day with the intention to be kind on a microlevel. “I’m a bit nerdy, so I did a lot of research on the benefits of kindness. I love the science of kindness, the proof that it is more than just a feel-good thing,” she explains.

After actively practicing kindness for 365 days, Cameron decided to write a book, A Year of Living Kindly, about her experiences. “When I think of self-help books, they are often by somebody who thinks they have found the answers, and they try to tell everyone else exactly how to live. That’s not a book I want to read, and that’s not a book I want to write,” she says.

“What I tried to do was write a book that I would’ve liked to have as a companion while I was having my year of exploring kindness. I’m hoping that by thinking about some of these ideas, people will think, ‘Hey, I can do that!’ I want the readers to customize the book to fit them, rather than try to fit themselves to the book.” 

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While living her year of kindness, Cameron discovered that being kind isn’t always the easiest thing to do, nor is it always our first reaction to a tense situation. She suggests, “We tend to knee-jerk react to things. If we could just learn to pause, there is so much power in a pause.” Learning how to pause gave Cameron the time to ask, “What would the kind response be in this situation?” 

Another skill she learned while practicing kindness is the power of curiosity. “Bringing curiosity to a situation often helps us withhold judgement and ask, ‘I wonder why this person behaved in this way?’” Cameron says, “It can seem impossible to be both curious and unkind at the same time, because curiosity opens up so many more possibilities.” 

The book will be released on Sept. 25 by She Writes Press. For more information, visit AYearofLivingKindly.com.