Imagine a woman who runs an Instagram account about adding beauty to our homes.
She posts the most amazing photos of fresh-cut flowers on her counter, positioned just so to create a breezy elegance. The idea is to teach us how to create simple charm in our own kitchens.
She posts lovely Easter portraits of her perfectly coiffed children, not to brag, but to give us ideas of how we might be able to use the sun and the grass and the baby chicks to create our own keepsakes.
One day, people find out that this woman isn’t actually doing these amazing vignettes on her own. She has help — loads of help. Professional photographers, staging artists, and a child wrangler, just to name a few.
People are mad. They feel duped. They assumed the photos they saw were ten minute creations by someone who is just better at style than they are.
It never occurred to them that while her goal is to teach people how to add beauty to their lives, she might need help making it happen, too.
I’ve had the incredible honor of sharing some kindness tips in live Facebook interviews thanks to an organization called Lost & Found. They specialize in mental health and work to eradicate suicide on college campuses.
The people from my team and their team came up with the name: The Kindness Hour with Nicole J Phillips. As scared as I was to present online (it feels different than an in-person audience), I showed up because when the title includes your name, you have to show up.
I use makeup and hairspray and clean clothes. I try to make jokes. I smile a lot.
Week One, I encouraged people to let go of the negative thoughts running around their minds and gave some tips to help make that happen.
Week Two, I shared the science behind kindness and what happens in our bodies when we give, receive or witness an act of kindness.
This is Week Three.
Wednesday at 2pm (Central), I will again put on “work” clothes for the first time this week. I will share my favorite topic — how to be a magnet for kindness — and I will strive to remind people they are not alone in this great big crazy coronavirus world.
I feel compelled to write this today, because I don’t want us to get confused like we do sometimes when we see those perfectly executed Instagram posts that look easy but are WAY hard.
Just because I am the one who gets to be on the screen during The Kindness Hour does not mean I am the one who has it all together.
If you wake up in the morning feeling like you’re Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, let me just say, me too.
If you contemplate crawling up the walls by mid-afternoon, me too.
If you commiserate with a bowl of ice cream and reruns of The Simpsons most nights, me too.
If you’re lonely, but not sure what you’re lonely for, me too.
This is hard, friend. No one is a quarantine rockstar. No one is doing it better than you. And even if they are, who cares. You be you.
Looks can be deceiving. We know that from our Instagram feeds.
But each day we wake up and authentically love on ourselves and another person, I call it a win. Maybe it’s not even an action, but just a simple good thought. When we do that day after day after day, we stack up so many wins, we don’t even have to bother thinking about the losses. Or who might be better at this game than we are.
So today, let’s get up and give grace. To ourselves and others.