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Nicole Phillips, Published May 03 2013

Kindness is Contagious: Encourage thoughts based on love

I have been trying really hard to become a better person, but I think I’ve reached a plateau.

I am now to the point where I can control my actions, but I’m having a hard time controlling my thoughts. For example, I will see trash on the sidewalk and stop and pick it up, because I know if I don’t someone else will eventually have to. It’s just the kind thing to do. Then I will be driving in my car and someone will cut me off, and I will think, “What a jerk! Are they trying to kill someone?” Not a very kind thought. Maybe that person is on the way to the hospital. Maybe that person just got some tragic news and he or she is not thinking clearly. Maybe I’m a terrible driver and annoying everyone around me. I simply do not have both sides of the story when I make snap judgments about people or their actions.

A Fargo friend of mine, Shelle Moran, sends out a daily email with inspiring and thought provoking messages. This week, she sent one that cut straight to my heart, because it reminded me of how far I have to grow. I felt compelled to share it with you.

“I recently attended a Narcotics Anonymous meeting as a supporter of some very, very incredible people in my life. As I cheered on those who have made small goals (even hourly goals for some), and cried with those who are feeling great sorrow for what they have done to themselves and others, I think about the laundry list of addiction that each one of us grapples with.

How easy it is to feel justified in turning our backs on folks who have the ‘worst’ addictions. The truth is we all have frogs that hide in the scum of our ponds. As Day Makers we first identify our addictions and admit them to others. Then we go out and love recklessly. No addiction is more or less of a ‘sin.’ We are all broken.”

Thanks, Shelle, for allowing me to share your thoughts. I think many of us can relate. Kindness often takes the form of an action toward ourselves or others, but perhaps it needs to start in our heads.

For me, that means purposefully rejecting the thoughts that pop into my head that are based on bias or misunderstanding and only allowing myself to honor thoughts that are based in love.

Love builds compassion, and, sometimes, that is the greatest act of kindness we can give.

Please, continue to share your random acts of kindness stories at nphillips15@hotmail.com. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND, 58107.

Nicole Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo, and currently the Executive Director of Diva Connection Foundation. She is the mother of three kids and the wife of Bison Men’s Head Basketball Coach Saul Phillips. Her columns run every Saturday.