Happy New Year! Hope the dust (or indoor carpet of pine needles) has settled and you’re now thinking about what the new year holds for you. As usual, this time of year, I’ve been both taking stock and looking ahead. One of the things I try to do in January is choose a word that will guide my actions for the year. A few months ago I decided that I wanted to choose something that would help me be less critical and more helpful. The first word that came to mind was “magnanimity” but that’s just a mouthful and also seemed like I was the queen of something. Which I’m not. Unless you count my capacity to stack half-read newspapers, books and magazines around my night table and then, well, I rule.
I also thought about the word “generous” but again that felt like I was queening it over others. The word “kindness” nibbled at me but it seemed too sweet, too much like a generic Hallmark card. Then a friend told me that the Dalai Lama says kindness is his religion and it seemed to have a little more gravitas. And I checked out an online thesaurus for like words and found these: charity, decency, graciousness, solicitude, humanity, understanding, tolerance and even magnanimity. One of the best synonyms was “fellow feeling.” That’s a friendly (though complicated) intention I’d like to pursue.
My runner-up word is kindle. It shares the same root word as kindness but compels me to action. Here’s hoping I can kindle the best in myself and others this year. All through practicing kindness.
How about you? Have you set any words for the year? If you’d like help doing so, I recommend signing up for Susannah Conway’s free Find Your Word course. You might also like to see what other folks have selected for their words over at One Word 365. Turns out the other two members of my Kindness tribe are in Mount Holly, North Carolina and Knoxville, Tennessee. Places I’ve never been, but I have no doubt there are kind folks there, too.
Hope to see more of you in the New Year!