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My 2021 Word of the Year Is...

Last year, for the first time, I had a word of the year. I would never have guessed what an impact that word would have had on me throughout the entire year. I thought about it almost every day. It opened my mind and heart, provided me with new opportunities, got me thinking when I was stuck, and reminded me to appreciate people for what they do, say, think, and have to offer. This word was so impactful last year, that I didn't really want to change it. But it is a new year and so it must be a new word.

I'm excited to share that my word of the year is "UNDERSTANDING".

Some of you may be thinking that using "understanding" is a cop-out because it's so similar to my 2020 word, but I checked and it wasn't listed as a synonym, so I'm going with it.

For me, UNDERSTANDING comes in so many forms.

When I look within myself, I want to understand who I am:

I work on understanding my values. This helps me learn what is important to me, what motivates me, what drives me. When I understand my values I know how I can move forward in ways that bring me happiness and a sense of belonging. I learn about my beliefs and my core truths that guide me. Some of the most important values to me are family, connection, and trust. I need these to feel authentic. My authenticity allows me to live a self-caring, HAPPY life.

I look to understand my boundaries. This supports me as I stand up for myself. When I understand my boundaries I can define how I want others to treat me. I can share that with them so they can be a supportive part of my life. I can ensure my boundaries are acknowledged and adhered to so I can continue to grow safely surrounded by love. My boundaries aren't there to keep people out, they are there to let the right people in.

I learn to understand my standards. My standards are the expectations I have for myself. I figure out how I should treat myself, and therefore how others should treat me. What do I deserve, and how can I support myself. I can define what self-care means to me, I accept that I'm not being selfish, but instead, I'm taking care of myself. I learn what I need, and then figure out what motivates me to get it. I look to understand the expectations I have for myself and learn the ways that I can best get there.

I embrace the understanding of who I am. I search for my authenticity, what I like, need, what I hold on to, how I deal with pressure, success, what motivates me, how I relax, and so much more. By finding out who I am, I understand the WHYs of my life. The choices I make, and made, now make sense to me. I know why I choose to move to England with a man I knew for 3 weeks (next year is 20 years of marriage). I know why I became a drug counselor to adolescents (most rewarding and heartbreaking job EVER). I know why I chose Coaching as a career (less of a job, more of a lifestyle). As I continue to understand myself, I continue to learn what works for me, what needs I have, and what I can let go of. Life becomes more welcoming, whole, and happy.

When I look outside myself, I want to understand the world around me:

I want to understand the people around me. Why do they do what they do, what makes them tick, what are their values, boundaries, goals, wishes? By learning about others, I can learn about my place in their world. Maybe I will learn to guide them, walk the road with them, or to serve them. Maybe I will learn what I want can do, be, and accomplish. Life is about growing and we do that by learning from the world around us. By understand others in the world, I can understand more of who I am.

I want to understand the world that my kids are growing up in. While I'm living in the same world as my children, it feels so different than the world I grew up in. Just like so many generations before me, I think "it was simpler when I grew up," but it really feels true this time. My kids are growing up with computers in their hands and a world of information at their fingertips. They are experiencing history, whether it's a pandemic, social change, environmental changes, racial unrest, increased awareness, drug use, or climate changes, this is history in real-time. There are new words and phrases that have become the norm, and old words and phrases that are completely unacceptable. Communication is different. Their world is smaller than ever and bigger than they could ever imagine. Their options are wide open, they can do and be anything they want, barriers are disappearing, and they have so many choices. I may never understand it all, but I will continue to learn as I grow.

I want to understand my children. More than just the world they are growing up in, I want to know who they are, their values, beliefs, boundaries. I want to understand the impact I have on their lives, how they are affected by their friends, the changing environment, the pressures they feel, and this crazy ever-changing world. I want to know what makes them tick, what motivates them. What do they like, what do they believe in, what do they want from the world. What are their WHYs and how can I help support them. I know I don't have all the answers. I'm trying to understand them while they are learning about themselves, I want to understand enough to just be there for them.

So, clearly, there is a lot I want to understand and believe me I could have kept going. "Understanding" is a question and an answer for me. I look forward to seeing how it changes me, affects me, and influences me throughout the year.

I'd love to hear, what is your word of the year?

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