At the start of the year, I read many blog posts from writers who had chosen a word for the year as part of the “My One Word Challenge.” The premise is simple. Instead of setting resolutions (which you probably will just ignore), pick a word to give you focus for the year ahead. Every post I’ve read about the challenge has been written by a Christian, but I don’t think you have to be Christian or even believe in God to participate in this challenge. I think selecting a word and having it serve as a basis for your actions could be beneficial for anyone who seeks to make positive change in his or her life.
I have never thought about identifying with just one word. Thankfully, the website has some ideas about how to select a word. The website also has entries from challenge participants so you can read why they chose their words.
I made a list of four things I hope to accomplish in 2015. Then I thought about the traits I need to develop or improve to help me reach those goals. I reflected on last year, and knew right away my word for 2014 (had I selected one) would have been “fearless.” Still no word for this year.
Friends posted their words in our writing group. I read their words, hoping for inspiration, but nothing jumped out at me. Last week someone described me as “tenacious” and I thought I might be able to make it my word. Then I felt I was cheating by selecting a word which already described me. After all, the whole point is to try to focus on movement this year so why pick a word representing a trait I exhibit?
Saturday morning, while cooking with one of my Personal Assistants, it hit me. I knew what I did NOT want to be in 2015. I did not want to be judgmental. Or rather, I want to try to be less judgmental than I often am. Knowing this, I went to the dictionary and thesaurus to do some searching. After nearly an hour reading definitions, I came to a decision. My word for 2015 will be:
Merriam-Webster defines charitable as “merciful or kind in judging others.” Or, as I once heard in a phenomenal training conducted by an ex-hippie named Manny, “always assume good intent.”
How does this impact my daily life? I think it is:
- Resisting the urge to roll my eyes whenever someone calls me inspirational, brave, strong, etc., and accepting what was most likely meant as a compliment with gratitude and humility instead of ire and annoyance.
- Teaching my Personal Assistants how to complete household or cooking tasks without questioning why an adult does not know how perform what I consider basic tasks.
- Recognizing my life experiences are not the same as others, and remembering the blessings I have had are not universal to those I encounter.
- Encouraging understanding and knowledge when I encounter fear and prejudice.
This is not an inclusive list, by any means. And my focus on being charitable does not mean I will stop being discriminate, or particular. There are aspects of my life which require me to be fastidious and picky.
However, I will do my best to keep Manny’s advice forefront in my thoughts and actions. I will try to ask questions to gain more thorough knowledge before rushing to an opinion. I will open myself to views other than my own in the hope of developing a deeper understanding. I will show kindness and empathy rather than harshness and criticism.
Because I am human, I will fail at times. When I do, I will pause and remind myself how I feel when others are quick to judge me. I will learn from my mistakes and endeavor to do better. I hope you will feel free to ask about my progress, and hold me accountable if you catch me falling short.
What about you? Did you select a word for 2015? Share your word in the comments below!