I love sharing stories of people going out of their way to help others. Or the ones where a person was having a bad day and kindness showed up just when they needed it.
There is so much goodness happening in the world; people reaching out through the anger and fear to remind others they are not alone.
But there is one area of kindness I still think could use a little work. At least in me, it could.
I have a strange recurring dream in which I leave my husband because he deserves a better wife than me. Isn’t that wild?
In the daylight, I know we are the perfect partners to each other, but at night, when I’m sound asleep, I tell myself a different story. I tell myself, “He deserves a wife that’s more fun, or more fit, or more frugal.”
I told Saul about my dreams recently and he thought the idea of a better wife was absurd. (What a sweet man.)
But then he told me that he sometimes thinks he’s not as good of a father as he was when the kids were little. Back then, they needed total engagement, and he gave it to them. Now, they are all double-digits and mainly just want to be fed and left to their own devices.
I pointed out all the late night conversations he has with our teenage daughter and how he seamlessly includes our boys in nearly every role as a college basketball coach. He’s a great dad and everyone knows it. I think he knows it most of the time, too.
But my husband is like the rest of us. Once in a while, we get down on ourselves. We tell ourselves things that would be an absolute insult if they came out of the mouth of anyone else.
I’m wondering in what area of your life you feel “less than.” Is there a spot that makes you question your worth or leaves you wondering why you can’t do something as well as someone else?
What do you say to yourself when you look in the mirror after you get out of the shower? Do you say, “Yay me! I am totally rocking the naked look!” Or do you stand there and ask, “Ugh. Why did I eat those potato chips?”
The way we think of our physical appearance is just one way we pressure ourselves to fit into the box labeled, “The Me I Should Be.” But we have that same box for every other aspect of our lives — our work, our household duties, our parenting, everything.
What if this week we try a little self-kindness? Instead of allowing our brains to run down the path of insult, let’s stand in front of the mirror and say, “Thank you for this strong, healthy, beautiful body.”
When we go to bed at night, instead of thinking of the stumbles along the day, how about whispering, “Thank you for the chance to try again tomorrow”?
There is no “me you should be.” There is the me you are and the me you are becoming, and both deserve great kindness.
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at email@example.com.
Nicole J. Phillips, a former Fargo television anchor, is a speaker, author and host of The Kindness Podcast. She lives in Aberdeen, S.D., with her three children and her husband, Saul Phillips, the head men's basketball coach at Northern State University. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.