At the end of every year, many word organizations come out with their word of the year.
A word of the year generally sums up the past twelve months.
Merriam Webster’s word of the year for 2022 was gaslighting.
The Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year was goblin mode.
And the word of the year for Collins Dictionary was permacrisis.
As I learned about the choices each one of these organizations made in regard to their word of the year, I felt a little sad. They are all quite negative.
And to be completely honest, I didn’t even know what goblin mode was until I read its definition. It is a behavior type that is self-indulgent, greedy, and lazy and rejects social expectations or norms unapologetically.
It’s definitely a weird choice for a word of the year if you ask me.
But when I read Ariana Huffington’s post about her choice for word of the year and why what we choose matters, I felt a breath of fresh air.
Rather than focus on all the negative things that have made up the previous year, Ariana Huffington chooses words that are positive, hopeful, and optimistic.
A word of the year doesn’t have to be negative.
I get that there are a lot of challenging things that have happened over the last few years.
And although I choose to always look at the world from a glass-half-full perspective, I can understand why different organizations and people have focused so much on negativity.
Things have been really rough for so many.
Sometimes when things start going bad, people start to fall down that tunnel.
And, like a rabbit hole, once you start going down that hole, you tend to stay there and focus on all the negative thoughts instead of thinking about how to get yourself out.
When life gets hard, it’s so much better to focus on the good.
I’ve learned through my own experiences that when we focus on the good, we are better able to recognize the good when it comes.
If we’re constantly focused on the negative side of things, those good things that can change our perspective tend to pass us by.
It’s hard for anyone to see the good when their focus is on the negative side of life.
Words matter. And the words we choose to describe each year determines where our focus is.
This is why I love that in 2021, Ariana Huffington’s word of the year was “Resilience+,” a perfect word as we were coming out of a worldwide pandemic.
Since the pandemic of 2020, we’ve all had to learn a little more resilience as the world continues to change.
Her word for 2022 is “Human Energy,” which is also very positive and hopeful—just like the human spirit.
Ariana’s words have inspired me to think about my own word of the year.
I’m not really the kind of person to make New Year’s resolutions. I truly believe that if we want to make changes, we should start right where we are.
I’m not against New Year’s resolutions. But I don’t believe we need a new year to become a better person—we can do that any time of the year.
However, I really love the idea of having a word of the year.
Most word organizations determine their word at the end of the year after everything has happened.
But I want to go forward with my word—starting at the beginning of the year.
I want to live this year with my word in mind.
So for the next twelve months, I will be focusing on the word grace.
Grace can mean many things. For me, it’s about giving ourselves grace.
It’s important that we recognize we’ve all been through a lot these past few years. I recognize that there are people who go through a lot every year. But since the pandemic, life has not returned to what it once was.
I think grace is the perfect word for so many of us moving forward. It’s important that we give ourselves grace and recognize that things are going to happen that are completely out of our control.
We need to be kind to ourselves—that’s how I see grace. It’s about respecting ourselves and understanding that we’re going to make mistakes and have hard times in life.
No one escapes the mistakes and challenges life brings. But grace is about taking all those pieces and building ourselves up to become stronger and more resilient rather than falling down that negativity trap.
Grace is giving ourselves permission to be exactly who we are.
Allowing ourselves grace is about giving ourselves permission to fail, permission to make mistakes, and permission to struggle.
When we have grace, we stop using our comparisons of others to diminish our own value and worth. We stop comparing other people’s perfect moments to our own imperfect life. And we quit looking at what everyone else is doing and focus on the good that we can do.
Everybody struggles, and we all need to give ourselves grace so that we can move forward in life with greater positivity.
Sure, there are moments when those negative thoughts will creep in. Trust me—I have my own negative moments. But in those moments, I try to remind myself of who I am and what I believe in.
In those negative moments, it takes work to bring myself back into a different and more positive mindset. But when I do, it changes the whole outlook and direction of my day.
Grace really is all about mindset.
If we can learn to move forward with a positive mindset, it changes the way we behave.
Research has shown that learning to focus on the positive over the negative improves a person’s mental health and well-being.
A positive mindset lessens stress, increases self-worth, and helps create a more balanced and happy life.
Grace helps us to focus our thoughts on the positive side of life. And focusing on the positive just makes us feel better.
So this year, I will not make a New Year’s resolution. To be honest, it’s been over a decade since my last New Year’s resolution. But I will move forward with my word of the year.
And that word is grace.
We all need a little more grace in our lives so that we can move forward in the best possible mindset to help as many people as we can and make this world a much better place for all of us.