Like many of you, I like to choose a word of the year. Something to use as a filter for decisions, a guiding idea, a reminder. I choose a word that brings a felt-sense of something I want more of in my life.
2018 seems to be a multi-word year, warranting the power of a full-on phrase.
I’m a big fan of mantras or mottos — often attention grabbing and outcome-oriented, they can get right to the heart of the thing.
I’ve been sharing some of these in class, and like a catchphrase, folks have reported finding them helpful. In that spirit, I thought I’d share a few I’m considering this year.
You already have an A
This comes from the book The Art of Possibility (highly recommend).
The book outlines 12 practices for reshaping one’s world. Giving an A is the first practice and is the one that stuck with me most persistently.
This could loosely be thought of as giving the benefit of the doubt or seeing someone else’s perspective. But it’s bigger than those things, too.
It’s acknowledging that our story, our version, isn’t the only one or even the right one. It invites us to get out of our own small world and consider that there’s more to the picture.
And even if we can’t do that, we can leave room for the possibility that the other person is coming from integrity and the best of intentions.
It’s important to give yourself an A as well: I did the best I could with what I had.
What you think of me is none of my business
This is a phrase that I learned many years ago from a southern female preacher on a cassette tape recording of her sermon. I still hear it in the Southern drawl of a strong woman.
As I remember it, the sermon was about living in alignment with one’s higher beliefs and letting go of the preoccupation with mortal distraction and need for approval. When one is right with God (or her Self), she needn’t be concerned with what others think.
Passionately, the preacher repeated over and over, “I take dominion.” The recording was full of gospel music and Amens. I wore that tape out.
I am increasing my tolerance for _____________ (my two go-to’s are “other people’s disappointment” and “discomfort”)
The original phrase, “I am increasing my tolerance for other people’s disappointment” came from a therapist who was helping me not be such a good girl. I mean, being good is fine, but not at the cost of your own life.
It was a phrase I would repeat to myself in situations that involved family or marriage or step-parenting or business. So pretty much all the time.
And it was incredibly helpful to hear, and later experience, that I can disappoint someone and we will all live through it. Chances are it won’t even matter next week.
Reconditioning my tolerance was so helpful I started using it with other things — to increase my tolerance for discomfort or uncertainty. In some situations, it might make sense to swap “tolerance” for something like “capacity.” Try it!
Who am I absent other people’s feedback?
A lot of my writing and personal work this past year has been devoted to strengthening my Sense of Self. Here again I’ve been challenging and questioning old patterns and beliefs, especially those related to other people’s opinions.
Similar to What you think of me…, this one has reaches in to social media, looking for signs and nudges that come from within, developing my trust in myself and it calls on continued Yoga practice to slough and shed all the guck that can get stuck or in the way.
If you don’t take extraordinary care of yourself, who will?
A friend from New York sent this question when I was in Nepal, struggling with health issues and wanting to go home. It felt like this great mix of empowerment, kindness and responsibility. So I brought it home.
Reading over these, most seem to be a similar version of the same thing. Clearly there’s a pattern in what I’m working on this year!
How about you? What are you working on? What word describes the feeling or value you’d like more of in your life? What phrase sums up your approach? Share in the comments below or feel free to email anytime — love to keep the conversation going.
Wishing you wellness of body, mind and heart as we move into the seasons ahead.
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