Strength: (n.): the quality or state of being physically strong; the ability to resist being moved or broken by a force; toughness; the quality that allows someone to deal with problems in a determined and effective way (taken from Merriam-Webster).
At the beginning of this year, my boss challenged myself and co-working friends to identify a “word of the year” as a means to encourage and elevate ourselves in a meaningful way. It could be any word, no restrictions, but it needed to be motivational for us to keep up with all year long. I wish I remembered the process I went through to finally nail down the word, but I decided on “strength” and am SO overwhelmingly joyful that I did.
Some point last year, I started on a journey to be more assertive and confident in what I wanted out life, particularly from relationships. I, as many other young adults in the world do too, went through an emotional whirlwind that left me broken. It was from that experience that I realized if I wasn’t vocal about what I wanted and if I didn’t love myself more, then I was going to continue to get hurt because it was what I thought I deserved. I challenged myself to be strong and share my voice through the remainder of 2014 and could already tell I felt better. I took that idea with me into 2015 and thus “strength” was born.
- I wanted to be physically strong. By nature, I’m not the most athletic person and I cannot tell you the last time anyone commented on my strength game. But I didn’t want to be thought of as weak, by myself or others; I wanted to believe I was capable of being strong. So I made it a point to do more strength-based workouts whether it be at gyms, with trainers, or friends!
- I wanted to be emotionally strong. My tendency to quiet my own voice in order to maintain others’ happiness and avoid any confrontation or conflict was getting the best of me. In order for me to grow as a leader and as a person, I needed to believe that my opinions mattered and that ultimately I mattered.
Today is July 29th and there are 155 days left in 2015. I think about my word daily and it motivates me to try new things, be confident, and be a better version of myself. About 210 days ago, I told all of the people I love in my life that this was my word and they’ve helped me stand by it. I’ve done more strength-training workouts and feel a change in my body (probably because I eat less sugar now but who’s keeping tabs). I’ve stood up for myself in friendships, at work, in my current relationship, and I’m so proud of myself! I definitely have days where I choose to not be strong, but it doesn’t mean I did bad. All I can do is approach the next day and next situation, with strength and believe I can do it. I’ve learned to love myself, be proud of who I am, and be confident. I plan to commit to finding a “word of the year” every year and hope you try it too!