Have you tired of your New Year’s resolution yet?
Maybe you hoped to avoid the feeling of failure by not declaring one. That’s sort of the route I take.
While I’m not big into resolutions, I did set an intention for 2019. I learned this practice from some friends who come up with a special word at the beginning of each year. They’ve used words like "balance," "embrace," "grace" and "live loved." That’s two words, but you get the idea.
My word this year is "immerse." The Google dictionary says immerse means to “involve oneself deeply in a particular activity or interest.” I’m not interested in being deeply involved in one particular activity. Instead, I want to be fully present for them all.
When I’m binge-watching "Fuller House" on Netflix with my kids, I want to be laughing along and not looking at my phone.
When I’m sitting in the stands at my fifth basketball game in two days, I want to be too hoarse to yell, “Good job!” to my third-grader because I’ve been cheering so loudly all weekend.
When my husband walks into the house, I want to stop what I’m doing and kiss him hello.
I am so far from this being my current reality. I used to take pride in my ability to multitask, but now I realize my greatest gift to my family is given when I immerse myself in whatever we are all doing at the moment.
The awesome thing about immersing is that it helps us become acutely aware of the kindness around us — if we’re programmed to look for it.
Miriam Daniel from Barberton, Ohio, has a New Year’s resolution that she’s holding onto tightly, and it’s already changing the way she sees people.
“In 2019, I intend to accept the kindness and generosity of strangers. I intend to look for the best in others and embrace the hope for humanity.
"Last night I was in Cleveland, and I pulled into a gas station with a flat tire. This was not a great area, but the place was well-lit. For the life of me I could not get that wimpy little tool to loosen the lug nuts. A middle-aged woman looked through her car for WD-40 and suggested ways to get more leverage.
"A young man in his early 20s in a hoodie asked if he could help and made a few suggestions. Other people stopped for gas and expressed empathy. Even the cashier behind bulletproof glass responded to our plight.
"When the roadside assistance man arrived, he was polite, kind, quick and efficient. It's so easy to feel alone in this thing called life, but we are really all in this together. I plan to embrace that hope.”
Embracing the hope for humanity. Isn’t that beautiful?
I think our hope for humanity lies in our ability to see the kindness around us. I hope you’ll immerse and embrace with me.
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND, 58107.
Nicole J. Phillips, a former Fargo television anchor, is a speaker, author and host of The Kindness Podcast. She lives in Athens, Ohio, with her three children and her husband, Ohio University Men’s Head Basketball Coach Saul Phillips. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.