Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Word of the Year (Only A Month Late)

Last year I picked a word of the year to focus on. I never blogged about it, but kept reminding myself, almost daily, of the word. In 2014 my word was patience. Maybe I'll write a re-cap of that word later on, but it was very helpful. Had I known how much patience has to do with biting ones tongue I might not have undertaken the word, but I did, and am glad for it.

"Patience" seemed like a tough act to follow, so hopefully 2015's word will fit the bill. I've picked "kind" as my word to focus on this year. I had been trying to think of a new word since November and right before Christmas it just came to me and felt right. Obviously I love multi-meaning words, and definitions (it's my job!) so when I really thought more about "kind" I realized to me it has three prongs or areas.

-Being kind to others. I think (or at least hope) people would say I am a kind or nice person. Sometimes though (well, most of the time) my first thoughts are not always kind. These thoughts even escape my brain and make their way to my mouth sometimes. Until I started thinking about saying kind things I didn't realize how often I say not very kind things. The sad thing is most of the bad things I say are to the people I like or love the most. Eek. I feel like being kind also ties in my work on patience. In order to be kind you must be patience and kind at the same time. I'm also working on doing kind things for others. Saying nice things, smiling more, sending thank you notes, or random text messages to make someone I love happy. The best part of this so far is that it's helping me to notice when other people do something kind for me. I think people are genuinely nice and good, it's just hard to realize when you're not focusing on it.

- Being kind to myself. You know the saying, you are your harshest critic. So true in my case. For every one mean thing I say about other people I say 100 about myself. Being kind means that I accept my flaws and move on. The other day I forgot to renew my certification for something and instead of freaking out about it, getting mad at myself for being forgetful, or crying, I paid the late fee and got over it. No sense in beating myself up over something small in the grand scheme of things. It also means accepting that what I am doing is the best I can do. I tend to compare myself to others and think I am not good enough. I need to remind myself (often) that what I am doing is the best I can do at this particular time given the particular situations. Done. Well, not done, I need to keep reminding myself of it so I won't get mad when everything on my list isn't done and I still can't cook dinner without setting off the smoke detector.

- Spending time with my "kind". Get it? Kind can mean more than just being nice! I have realized that I am not really good at making friends. I am good at keeping friends, just not making them, there is a big difference. This year I am going to make more of an effort to continue to be a good friend, daughter, wife, sister, etc. I also want to put effort into building relationships with my kind of people. I am not exactly sure how I will go about this, but I have some ideas. Most of this primarily has to do with realizing that when you're 29 the definition of "friend" is a lot different than it was when I was 12, or even 20. Friends were all encompassing when I was 12, now that I am 29, not so much. I really enjoy spending time by myself, but also need to see that the people I choose to spend my time with are my friends, despite the fact that we've never painted each others nails, slept over at each others house, or talked on the phone for 2 hours a night. I also have been working on realizing that having 100 friends doesn't make you any happier than having 2 friends.

A month into my word and things are going well for the most part. I've noticed that the kindness tends to bring more kindness, and sometimes the kindness train comes to a screeching halt and stays in the station for 2-3 days. Kindness breads more kindness. It's hard to get back on track after falling off for a few days but I can honestly say I feel better when I am focusing on it and actively trying to be kind.


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