Sometimes it seem like we could use more kindness in the world.
A new book written by a woman in Aberdeen might just help more of us give grace to others and improve our own lives.
You don’t have to be in Nicole Phillips’ home for long to know kindness is quite literally all around, from the walls in her workspace to the Kindness Podcast that she hosts.
She’s also a public speaker, and she’s just released her third book on the topic, this one called “The Negativity Remedy: Unlocking More Joy, Less Stress, and Better Relationships Through Kindness.”
“I feel like we can live more joyful lives, we can bridge that gap between living life and loving life when we lead with kindness, not only in our actions but in our minds,” Nicole Phillips said.
Phillips embarked on her own kindness journey about a decade ago.
“I would say in 2011, I was on the edge of what anyone would call an alcoholic. I was a drinker, a smoker, and overeater. I was angry at my husband all the time, and really all of that self-medicating seemed to come without reason because I had three healthy kids, a great husband, lived in a nice house. I was very privileged,” Phillips said.
And yet, Phillips says life felt passionless and pointless.
“I decided after having a brief interaction one day with a young mom in which I ended up giving her some money that the feeling I got from being kind was something I wanted to chase. I wanted to pursue it,” Phillips said.
That’s exactly what she did.
Living in Fargo at the time, she started writing weekly columns for newspapers in the area.
Phillips asked people to send in stories of kindness and how it made them feel.
“What I found within a year of writing that newspaper column, being very intentional about kindness was that I had totally quit drinking. I had quit smoking. I lost 30 pounds. I had re-fallen in love with my husband. All of these radical life changes happened because I got my eyes off of myself and put them onto the needs of others,” Phillips said.
So what exactly does it mean to be intentional about kindness?
“So for instance if someone cuts you off in traffic, you can pull up behind them, you can get right behind them, let them know that you’re angry, but to be intentionally kind means stop and take that pause and think ‘You know, I don’t know what’s going on in that other driver’s life. Maybe they’re elderly and slow on their reflexes. Maybe it’s a new driver and they’re just learning.’ Whatever it is, something’s going on with that person that really might be affecting me, but is not because of me,” Phillips said.
Phillips’ kindness journey inspired her to write her latest book.
“The Negativity Remedy” is reaching lots of local readers.
It’s currently the featured book for a program called All Aberdeen Reads.
Cara Perrion with the K.O. Lee Aberdeen Public Library says she got the idea for the book selection from the city’s mayor.
“He had met her and said ‘Oh, this is a really dynamic author and she has a new book coming out this fall and would this fit for All Aberdeen Reads?’ because he was really familiar with the program. I looked at the book and I called her and instantly I knew this was a fit for Aberdeen and probably for the rest of the country too just because of the subject matter and the times we’re living in right now,” Assistant Library Director and Community Services Librarian Cara Perrion said.
“It is amazing to hear some of the stories and some of the feedback from people. They’ll say to me ‘I wasn’t sure what to think, but this really worked for me,’ and I love that,” Phillips said.
That means more kindness to go around.
“I know that kindness has the power to transform lives. Once we transform our own lives, we can transform our homes, our communities, and our world, and that’s my passion is to take what I stumbled upon and intentionally teach it to other people,” Phillips said.
The new book came out in September.