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10 Hopes Grown-Ups See in Kids from Humans of New York

10 Hopes Grown-Ups See in Kids from Humans of New York

It’s difficult not to look at the state of the world today and feel despair. That’s probably one of the many reasons why the photo blog Humans of New York has become wildly popular — photographer Brandon Stanton gleans bits of regular people’s lives, providing a glimpse into the dreams they have and the challenges they’ve overcome. In these images of strangers, we find comfort in our shared humanity. The posts from kids are often especially poignant: The world will soon be in their hands, and it’s heartening to hear what they have to say. Here are 10 of the many hopes grown-ups can find in the little humans of New York.

1. Compassion

“If you could change one thing about adults, what would it be?”
“I’d give them more money.”
“More money?”
“Yeah. Some of them don’t even have money to buy food.”

Humans of New York

    Recognize others’ basic rights. Before you turn to judgment, or thinking about whether someone deserves help, think about how you would feel if you were in their situation. We all need help sometimes.

    2. Gratitude

    “Mom took care of me when I was sick so I wrote her a card but the teacher was too busy to help me spell it so I wrote a picture instead.”

    Humans of New York

      Be thankful for what you have. Take the time to acknowledge the acts of service, both great and small, that others do for you. Give to others, and express your thanks when others give to you.

      3. Mindfulness

      “I don’t understand my feelings. Sometimes I feel sad and I don’t know why. Then sometimes I feel silly, and I don’t know why either. Now I feel ‘wow,’ because this is my very first interview.”

      Humans of New York

        Own your feelings, and acknowledge them. If you have negative thoughts about a problem you can’t fix, practice letting go of them. When you feel joy, embrace it. Feelings aren’t objectively right or wrong — you choose how you manage them.

        4. Respect

        “I found a ladybug, a beetle, and a little tiny bug that I don’t know.”
        “So what advice would you give to other bug collectors?”
        “You have to be really focused and find a rock that is big but not too big and you lift it up and if there’s not any bugs you put it back down. But if there is a bug and you like it, you put it in your bug jar. But if you don’t like it you put it back and put the rock back down.”

        Humans of New York

          Even the most humble of creatures deserves basic respect. Be a steward of the earth. Get out into nature and explore, because you never know what might be beneath that next rock.

          5. Dedication

          “What was the happiest moment of your life?”
          “When Mr. Carson helps me with my writing.”
          “What’s the hardest part about writing?”
          “The spaces and the dents and you have to start with a capital. But if you do a good job Mr. Carson lets you play with toys.”

          Humans of New York

            Don’t expect yourself to perfect. Remember that practice makes better. When you’re faced with a difficult task, stick with it. The satisfaction of mastery is a reward in itself.

            6. Altruism

            “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
            “A police officer.”
            “What’s the hardest part about being a police officer?”
            “Saving people.”

            Humans of New York

              Helping someone else is one of the best things you can do in life. You don’t need to be a superhero; just be attuned to the needs of those around you. You can call it good karma, you can call it paying it forward. Either way, being of service to others puts more positive energy into the world.

              7. Enthusiasm

              Normally I have to approach people for quotes. But this kid walked right up to me, held his certificate in the air, and screamed: “I played at Carnegie Hall!”

              Humans of New York

                Take pride in your accomplishments. No one can take them away from you. You should never hide your talents from the world. You can make the world a better place by sharing your abilities.

                8. Practicality

                “I’m going to be an artist.”
                “Do you have any advice for other artists?”
                “Don’t press down too hard with your crayons.”

                Humans of New York

                  When you’re trying something new, it’s worthwhile to sweat the small stuff. Give yourself time to practice and learn. Don’t become angry with yourself if you aren’t improving as quickly as you wanted. If you keep working, you will get to where you want to go.

                  9. Aspiration

                  “I listened to my teacher and went beyond and above.”

                  Humans of New York

                    Always aim high. Work from the assumption that you can do it. Even if you try something and fail, you can learn much more from your failure than from not having tried at all.

                    10. Love

                    I photographed the little guy on the left because he was carrying a violin. During the post photo interview, his little brother kept chiming in with his own answers. It was clear that he wanted to be part of the process. After a few questions, the older one called to his brother: ‘Come be in my picture, Riley.’

                    Humans of New York

                      Sharing your life with others makes your life infinitely richer. Family and friends are some of the most important gifts we receive in life. Honoring those relationships strengthens your bonds, and helps everybody feel more connected.

                      Featured photo credit: Brandon Stanton via humansofnewyork.com

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                      Published on April 7, 2021

                      6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

                      6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

                      Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

                      While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

                      1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

                      Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

                      If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

                      In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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                      2. They Make Everything Transactional

                      Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

                      For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

                      Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

                      A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

                      Some statements to be wary of include:

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                      • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
                      • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
                      • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
                      • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

                      3. They Criticize Everything

                      One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

                      However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

                      Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

                      • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
                      • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
                      • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
                      • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

                      4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

                      We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

                      For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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                      This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

                      5. They Socially Isolate You

                      Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

                      Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

                      This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

                      In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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                      6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

                      It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

                      Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

                      Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

                      • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
                      • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
                      • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
                      • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

                      Final Thoughts

                      It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

                      More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

                      Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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