Happy New Year! I hope your 2014 is off to a good start. We rang in the new year in our pajamas and a Spy Kids movie marathon. It was just the relaxing new year’s eve I needed. Usually I choose my word for the year in mid-December but I’m late. I’ve been thinking about my word of the year for 2014 since late November. After struggling for a word that resonated with me, it came to me last night.
My 2014 word of the year is EMBRACE.
For the past week I’ve been sneaking pockets of time to read Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin for my From Left to Write book club. (I tried really hard to finish it before midnight, but still had 30 pages to go into the new year.) In the book, Rubin chose a theme every month for nine months as a basis to make her home (as in her surroundings) happier. She resolved to kiss her husband twice a day (Marriage), decluttered shelf-by-shelf (Possessions), and went on adventures with her older daughter (Parenthood).
I admit that the first half of the book made me feel inadequate. Rubin thoughtfully chose each month’s resolutions and accomplished many of her goals for each month. Should I set a theme for each month as well? The chapter on marriage made me realize that I don’t kiss my husband enough. Which prompted me to later apologize to him for not kissing him enough. His reply? “You don’t like kissing a lot. That’s ok.” And he meant it.
The chapter about parenthood made me feel inadequate as well. Rubin attempts what she calls underreacting. Compared to my parents (or my sister) I’m pretty good at underreacting to the kids’ bickering, spills, etc. The past week with my four-year-old has been challenging. He’s openly defiant about things like going to use the bathroom and washing his hands. Which leads to accidents and lots of crying (on his part). Patience has never been my strong suit and I’ve lost my temper with him more than I should have.
Then Rubin got to January (Time), about the halfway point of her journey to make her home happier. Even she felt the slump. Even she felt like she hadn’t done enough or she continued to break the same resolutions again and again. Resolving to be happy isn’t easy.
I was being too hard on myself. I’m human. I’m not perfect. Neither is Rubin as she freely admits in her book. I guess people expect that an expert on happiness is always happy but not so. Whenever Rubin hit an obstacle on her journey, she repeated her mantra: Be Gretchen. As in being herself. To honor who she is and the desires and foibles that are a part of her.
That’s when my word for this year came to me.
I will EMBRACE myself for who I am.
Instead of beating myself up for losing my temper with the kids or not kissing my husband enough, I will accept that I am me. I might not like make out sessions like I did back in our college days, but I can make more of an effort to kiss him everyday like Rubin resolved to do with her husband. Or I can work next to him on the couch in the evenings (my office hours) while he watches television that that we are near each other. Sometimes I just miss being physically near him.
The word Embrace resonates with my view on my work and business too. I am going to fully embrace my ambitious nature and allow myself to dream big. Allow myself to create and achieve goals I might have felt guilty about making, for fear of being too ambitious. I have to honor who I am and not just do what I think I should do. I will embrace all that I achieved and stop to celebrate before moving to my next achievement.
I’m going to Be Thien-Kim.
What is your word for 2014?
This post was inspired by Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin where she runs a nine month experiment to create happier surroundings. Join From Left to Write on January 6 we discuss Happier at Home. You can also chat live with Gretchen Rubin on January 7 on Facebook! As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.