There is no denying the power of words. If you’ve ever read a story that moved you, a quote that lifted your heart, or flinched at harsh words thrown at you, then you know that the old adage is disproven - sticks and stones can break your bones, but words will leave a mark inside forever.
Words can be wielded like weapons or tools - creating something, or tearing things apart. The yogic concept of ahimsa - non-violence - applies as much to the way we speak to and about ourselves and others, as well as how we act physically. The tone of voice, the language we use - it is as important when directed inwards as outwards. Really internalizing that realisation was perhaps the greatest turning point for me in coming out of an eating disorder, and talking to myself with far more love and kindness. I stopped picking apart my body in the mirror, or questioning why I wasn't a different kind of person. I decided to talk more kindly to myself, and it created a huge shift. The mantra “I am enough” has become my anchor - and I talked about this in an interview on mindful parenting on the Here for You for Them website.
Mantras or affirmations are hugely effective and impactful, but I want to talk about something different. What about the power of a single word? A few years ago, my wonderfully wise friend, Michelle Reeves who is a Life and Mindset coach, introduced me to the idea of choosing a word for the year. Every year, as we approach the end of the calendar, many people make lists and plans for the coming 12 months. Personally, I like to make my resolutions on my birthday (any one else do this?), but choosing my word of the year has become far more important and impactful.
Making a list of goals and objectives is powerful, there is no denying that, and by writing things down we create a sense of accountability to ourselves, and where the intention goes our energy flows - however there can also possibly be even greater frustration at not achieving what we put on the list, and so we start feeling down on ourselves.
What about if we approached the whole idea of achieving our plans a little bit differently?
What about if we made a list, and then sat back to look at it and identified what exactly is the shift in attitude that we need to create in ourselves to bring our dreams and goals into reality? What do we want to FEEL in the next year? What is going to drive us towards doing what we need to do? Because the truly magical thing is that EVERY SINGLE POSSIBILITY already exists within us. The universe has hidden magnificent gifts in us, we now need to untell the self-limiting stories and bring ourselves into a place that will allow us to unlock the potential to do what we need to and want to do. Is the word that will spur you on CALM? JOY? ACCEPTANCE? EQUANIMITY? EMPOWERED? FEARLESS?
But how to choose a word? One single word that will sum everything up? It’s hard! I am hopelessly indecisive, so I end up often choosing 2 words each year. But no more than 2. And then I repeat them so that the feel of them rolls around inside my mouth like sweets, I write them and rewrite them, and if I get a little thrill of electricity each time, that feeling of “YES!”, I know I’ve chosen the correct words for what I want to feel to bring things into fruition.
To start - write down all the you want to achieve next year, and as a word pops into your head, write it down on the same page, so that your intentions and your goals sit beside the words that indicate what the energy and attitude is that you need. Keep writing until you’ve exhausted every plan and idea for the year.
Then look again at them, distill them, there will be duplication, a running theme will start to emerge, certain things will take priority over others.
Eventually, you’ll end up finding that one word or perhaps two, really stand out for you, really speak to your heart and soul, and fire up your mind with the possibility of what you can accomplish. Hold those words close. Write them on a postcard, or in a sharpie on your mirror. Stick it wherever you want to see it and be a reminder of your word of the year.
Michelle, my friend who introduced me to this idea, has actually got a fantastic workbook on choosing your word, and she has kindly shared the link to it here. I would love to know how you feel about this idea - perhaps you do it already? If you don’t, give it a try, and I truly hope that this makes a difference to you. It has made a huge difference to me. Come back and share your thoughts!