Think of a Word…..
So, New Year’s Resolutions are kind of passé, right?
I mean you can make them, sure, but lots of us have agreed that actually, we are setting ourselves up for failure when we inevitably can’t keep them. Then we have a reason to be unkind to ourselves. Plus, we shared our well-intentioned resolutions with all those in our lives, and across our top four or five favorite, most-used social media platforms. So now the resolutions have gone down the pan (mid-Januaryish), they all know we bailed out, given the nature of the digital goldfish bowl which our generation socialises in. Not a good look.
Instead, I see people choosing a word. The word can be anything, and it’s trendily called a “watchword”, a “focus word”, or a “safe word”. The past few years, I’ve fancied this idea, although as the end of December looms, people start identifying their chosen words, and I’m like “Think of a word! What is the matter with you? One word! Just one fucking word! How hard can it be?… No, the word cannot be ‘fuck’….” So after this cute little convo in my mind during the first week of the new year, I’ve just given up. And the Januarys pass. Until this year.
This year is different. This year, I. Have. A. Word.
I actually have a word! I will tell you what it is, but first a little context. Some of my difficulty in choosing is that all the good ones are gone. Does it matter if I pick a word that one of my friends is using? Well of course not. Except, who wants to seem like a copycat, right? And it reeks of cliché. As well, a few of the words I considered, and indeed, the one I have chosen, are personal qualities, and as a person who lacks any sense of self-esteem, I don’t want to be seen as a braggart. So, although I think I do embody my word I’ve selected, I also think it is an ongoing challenge to sustain that commitment to it, as situations threaten it on the daily. This helped me choose – it’s a word that I can stake a claim to at times, but actually a personal trait I’d like to aspire to and keep striving for.
Integrity. That’s my word – my word of the year, the first year of this new decade (2020, rather a grand and gorgeous name for a year, don’t you agree?) Now, before we look at the word, I would like to explain my discovery which is part of the reason I chose Integrity. While I was considering it as a possibility, I noticed something. Another word inside it: Grit. Ha, you didn’t notice that before either, did you? Now, grit used to be synonymous with dirt, perhaps some particles of it inside your shoe. These days, it is also defined as a sought-after quality. It is in line with the ‘what-doesn’t-kill-you-makes-you-stronger’ concept (like the Kelly Clarkson song by the same name.) It’s like grit is earned by surviving adversity and hard graft. Then I started to think about the analogy of how diamonds and pearls are created (meme about this). And I thought “Hmmmm…. Yes, I truly have experienced adversity at times. I’d love to be a sparkly diamond-like person, or a shiny pearl-like person someday.”
Then, it all began to make so much sense. Having integrity sometimes means being faced with a shit hand dealt to you, and sticking to your belief system, even though this journey feels hard, and the path uneven. It can be tough in those situations to do all those valiant things like “rise above”, and “be the bigger person”, but in the end, integrity wins, every time. This is where the grit comes in. Occasionally, put up with a bit of grit in your shoe, and grit your teeth through a challenging encounter. All these are essential ingredients to cultivate solid integrity. They also contribute to long-lasting, unshakable integrity being built. Just like the grit which helps make the diamond sparkle eternally, and the pearl shine forever.
To test this all out, I thought about friendships which turned toxic, disintegrated and finally dissolved over time. Unpleasant situations where people increasingly behaved vengefully, spitefully and unkindly. I could have challenged their behaviour with justification, and naturally I felt hurt, betrayed and angry about it. But even before revenge crosses my mind, the default setting is activated; Integrity, nourished by grit (steadfastness in the face of testing times.) I walked away with my chin up, free from any responsibility for having caused hurt.
So, yes, I am pleased to share that after a few years of searching, I have found a word to call my own, and joined the “New Year Focus Word” gang, leaving the New Years’ Resolutioners to their disappointment (or not, in which case – well done you!) The final thought I have on all this, is that given how long it took me (at least 3 years), to pin down a word for myself, please don’t be surprised if I carry it into next year too. Januaryness is rather harsh, and it’s comforting to know I can weather it with my new focus word. By focussing on Integrity, embracing it and exhaling it, there is actually a good chance that one day, if I find some self-belief along the way, that I too may begin to sparkle and shine.
2020 love to you all! xxx
Definition of Integrity
Definition of Grit