In 2018, I heard of this interesting idea to have a word for the year. You can reflect on this word and really dig into how it has a place in your life. Words are powerful because they have more than just a surface meaning.
Looking at other cultures, I have seen how much of an impact the words you use have on you and those around you. A word communicates a concept, but that concept can be good or bad depending on where you are in the world or even where you are in life. To give an example, one of the words that has drastically changed for me is “mourning.” Growing up, I only saw grief in a bad light. To mourn something could never be good. However, as I have grown and had to mourn well, my perception has changed. Mourning something does hurt, but that pain for me comes from a source of love deep within that springs out. The pain is because of the loss, but the passion behind that pain is rooted in love.
Since I have seen growth in my life regarding words and the concepts they express, I really loved the idea of focusing an entire year on a word. How has that word changed for me over the years? How will that word change for me this year? Can I see how that word impacts others differently?
So in 2018, I decided to try out a word of the year. As cheesy as it was, I decided that “love” would be my word of the year. For many romantics, this may seem like the perfect word to start with. However, a romantic I am not! I actually saw this word as challenging. Over the course of 2018, my definition of love was challenged. Can I love someone who does not show love in return? Of course! When I give from the overflow of my abundance, I should not expect anything in return. When I love a family member who struggles with addiction or who has just gone through a nasty divorce, I cannot expect them to always show love in return. They may not have the strength to give it back. Of course, certain relationships need to be in a healthy place, and I saw that my need for love had to be returned in some way. Ultimately, I grew that year in how I viewed love.
In 2018, I also thought that maybe for this blog I should have a different word. (Check out my post on that here.) I chose “reflection” because I wanted to see how the concept of reflection impacted how I viewed cultures. Again, that word gave so much insight into my travel and how I learned about other cultures. I had to reflect on my own culture if I was to truly see another culture. Reflecting on my own culture helped me peel back the lens I was looking through a little bit. I saw that differences can be just different, not right or wrong. Also, whenever I was in a difficult situation, later reflecting on it helped me process it in a healthy way. At the end of the year, I realized both words impacted me with a lot of overlap.
Therefore in 2019, I decided to have just one word that I would meditate on in all areas of my life. Being the strong personality I am, I decided to increase the challenge. I chose the word “humility” as my word of the year for 2019. I knew we would be traveling more and seeing a broader range of people in one year than ever before. I also wanted to keep my privilege in check. I was able to travel to places many others do not, and I was able to see things that many others do not. Many things I experienced were excellent and awe-inspiring, but many other things were hard and hurtful.
Constantly having humility at the forefront of my mind helped me remember to think about situations from others’ perspectives. The concept of humility challenged me to be patient when I did not want to be. My view of humility changed because I was not talking about striving for humility, but rather challenging myself to actually be humble in the moment. I wasn’t asking why others did things, but trying to put myself in their place. Ultimately, year two of the word of the year went so well that I am wanting to keep it up!
Picking for 2020
Here comes 2020, and I am again picking just one word, mostly for simplicity. I have chosen “contentment” and cannot wait to see how my worldview and mindset are challenged by focusing on this for the year!
Want to have your own word of the year?!
The directions include how to use the printable for you individually and for you to do as a family. Having a family word of the year that you can focus on together could spark great conversations no matter where you go or what you do in the coming year!