For the past five years I’ve selected a word to focus on that year. I typically blogged about this on my family blog and made some sort of visual reminder that I could see every day reminding me of the word and why I choose it. Some of my words in the past have been STRIVE, BETTER, ENJOY, GRATITUDE. I haven’t blogged about my word this year, (and it’s already February!) but I’ve been trying to really live my life with INTENTION. It’s a word that I’ve been thinking about since November/December last year and I really wanted it to be my word this year. I’ve been working on getting up early (or trying to) and starting my day out right. I’ve been focusing on trying to set and achieve certain goals. I’m really trying hard to put down my phone and be present so I can be intentional and make the best choices.
But the last couple weeks two words keep reverberating themselves in my mind.
And I while I think INTENTION is a great choice for me, I am beginning to really believe it’s not where I need to focus. I need to be kind.
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think I’m a mean spirited person, but there are some definite areas in my life where I could be more kind. Couldn’t we all?
Being kind is easy towards some people and some situations. But there are other times I really struggle. And those are the times I really want to focus on.
I could be more kind while driving. I can be more kind towards my kids. I could be more kind towards my husband. I could be more kind when someone is struggling. I could show more kindness when someone is hurt. Being more kind to myself.
The other day I was feeling frustrated with a person, but the spirit whispered to me, be kind. OH…let me tell you, I did not want to be kind. I really, really wanted to hold on to a grudge and not cave. This was exactly the type of situation I’ve been thinking about. The times when I really need to focus. I wasn’t being unkind per-se, I just wasn’t choosing to actively be kind either, if that makes sense. It wasn’t easy. But the thought kept coming. Be kind. Choose kind. So I did. It hasn’t fixed every frustration. Life still holds challenges and trials, but in that moment I chose kindness. And it helped.
I’m a believer that we all have something. No one is exempt from challenges in life. Everyone has something. Some are more apparent than others, but I truly believe if we knew everyone’s situation we would choose kindness over all. Maybe that person cut me off in traffic because his loved one is in the hospital dying. Maybe someone suffers from depression. Maybe the stressed out mom at the grocery store with her kids is running low on patience because her husband is gone on a business trip. Or maybe she doesn’t have a husband at all.
We all have something. And if we gave people the benefit of the doubt and choose kindness, what a wonderful place this would be!
How do we have more kindness in our life?
I’ve come up with a couple ways to help me focus on being more kind as I’ve decided to make this my word this year. First – this simple bracelet (pictured above) that I wore to work today. I love the easy, simple reminder to be kind every day.
Earlier this month I came across this 14 day love one another challenge. (click here for details) It’s been something I’m really trying to work on and focus on each day. It’s really changed the way that I look at some situations. It doesn’t have to end in 14 days either. I’m hoping to just start this challenge over again. I think this really helps me focus on being kind.
Last week I decided to pick up one of my favorite books and reread it. What Would a Holy Woman Do? I first read this a couple years ago after picking it up at the library. This tiny little book has stayed with me ever since I read it. It’s been one of my favorites that I think back to often.
First off – it’s super short…like 64 pages super short. (It makes a fantastic Sunday afternoon read.) I actually kinda love that because her message is short and sweet. It doesn’t need 200+ pages to be explained. It’s simple, Nelson asks a couple of her friends to ask themselves, “What would a holy woman do?” for 3 days and record their findings. Each person has different experiences. I loved reading and learning about each of their experiences.
“I learned that I don’t need to lose my temper just because things are spiraling out of control. I noticed things about my children I hadn’t been noticing before, like how there are moments when they actually play well together. And I learned that being holy doesn’t mean being perfect.”
What does this all have to do with being kind? It all comes together with this book. How can I be kind? How can I show more kindness? I believe by asking myself every day, “what would a holy woman do” I can find ways to show kindness. A holy woman would be kind. Sometimes I find a book I wish I could send to everyone I know – this is one of those books. Because no matter where you are in life, you can learn something from this super short book and by asking “What would a holy woman (or man) do?
While I really want to focus on INTENTION this year, I believe I’m being directed in a different way. I’m changing my focus and I’m trying harder to be kind. I’m trying harder to be more patient. I’m trying hard to be more holy. I don’t think it will solve life’s challenges. It won’t make hard things go away. But I do believe it will help me find more peace.
Do you choose a word for the year to focus on? What is your word this year?
How do you show more kindness?
How do you remember to be kind every day?
Do you have any book suggestions about kindness?