I’ve been seeing Susan Calman more and more on tv since her appearance on Strictly Coming Dancing – she was my favourite that year! And I really feel like she’s a ray of sunshine – she makes me smile when I see her.
So it was surprising to me that she struggles with depression. It shouldn’t be a surprise as I have learnt over the last couple of years how easy it is to put a happy face on when you feel the complete opposite, but it was a stark reminder that things aren’t always what they seem.
I think the world would do well to remember that – it’s easy to think that everyone is happy, particularly in a world where we all share the good bits on social media, but I think more people are struggling than you think.
Over the past few years I’ve changed my life. I’ve gone from being miserable in the shadows to walking in the sunshine. I’ve most definitely turned my life Sunny Side Up.
But while depression was the main subject of Calman’s previous book, this book was about how we can spread joy. Joy, kindness and community spirit.
Fear, anger, rude behaviour, intolerance, spite and bullying are all in evidence every single day of the week. But I believe that if we were all a little bit kinder, a little bit more full of joy, things would be better.
As the blurb says: “Susan is a one-woman army of hope and joy, and she’s ready to lead the nation in a different direction. This is her Calmanifesto of Happiness.”
And not just talking about being kinder to other people, but to yourself too:
Be kind to others, but above all be kind to you. You deserve it. You can be Wonder Woman if you want to. I know I am.
Scattered throughout the book are tweets that Calman collected while she was on tour asking for people’s unexpected acts of kindness – they made me smile so much to realise that our world is not all so bad – the news is so full of negativity these days with people panic buying and neglecting the most vulnerable people in our society, that it’s nice to remember that there are people who still care.
If we are kind to each other not only can we learn more but we can become less frightened of those who we consider different. Kindness is letting people change. Kindness is getting to know people. Kindness is letting people be people.
I would recommend this book to anyone who just wants to feel a bit happier – you can’t help but be happy at the end of this book. I’m definitely adding Susan to my list of fantasy dinner guests, I’d love to just sit down and talk to her, she’s such an inspiration. Plus, I’d love to talk more about what it was like to dance with Kevin on Strictly – she talks about it a lot in this book, but he was my favourite Strictly Pro!
I want this to be a wonderful world. I want it to continue to be a place where magnificent, odd, eccentric individuals flourish. I need it to be better for those who come after us. I’m going to do my absolute best, even if I fail along the way.