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I can’t think of a better way to start the week and the year than on a Monday. It’s also ideal to set the tone for the blog with my word of the year. 2017 ended on a delightful high, especially December, but wait, wait! Gosh, I am getting ahead of myself. This is what happens when you write under the veil of excitement, expectation and happiness. Come to think of it, that’s not a bad thing!
So, let’s get back to the word of the year.
I’m no longer one for resolutions and goals. A while ago (4 years if I am not mistaken), I realised that these things are fleeting, rarely maintained and can lead to disappointment. But, a slight shift in perspective and approach helped immensely. Enter the concept of a single word. How is it better than a goal?
For one, it’s rather vast and all-encompassing. In 2015, I picked Happiness and in 2017 I picked ‘Peace‘. This year’s word is something that has been on my mind for a while now. Perhaps it came to me thanks to the latter half of 2017.
My word of the year for 2018, is going to be:
It was in 2017 that I truly understood the power of kindness and how it could inform every aspect of my life. Here’s how I am hoping it will help with my vision for a kinder 2018.
Family is a large part of my life- be it immediate relatives or the extended ones through marriage. The same goes for the people I am fortunate to call my close and trusted friends, both online and off it. In December, 2017, it was with some satisfaction that I wrote a post about going 800 days yell-free with my daughter. For someone who thought she could never stop yelling, four years ago, it was an eye-opener what kindness and positive parenting could bring about.
Similarly, it was only this year, after 16 plus years of marriage that I could confidently say I understand my husband well enough. Marriage is a work in progress. There is no perfect, dream destination. Every moment is one where we learn and grow together. Kindness has been a large part of that growth: where we are kind to each other’s health, our work demands, our parenting roles and our conversations with one another.
Friendships are tricky things. You think you know people extremely well, intimately so. Sometimes, though, things just don’t work out. There really is no fault to be laid at anyone’s door. Circumstances change, life goals diverge and you must feel grateful for the presence of those friends in your life when they were there. I found myself being unkind in my thoughts towards people and the worst part? I fell victim to blaming them for my state of mind. This was extremely harmful to my health, mental and otherwise.
That’s when I changed tracks. I opted for kindness and letting go of anger and hurt. It didn’t come easily to me, and I fell off the wagon more times than I care to admit. But practice helps. And with time, I’ve learnt that kindness helps with forgiveness.
In Writing & Blogging
The last quarter of 2017 has been one of the best periods of my blogging life. It started with making the switch to HTTPS in October. On the surface of it, that seems like a very trivial reason to change anything, but let me explain how it mattered.
Suddenly, I was facing the prospect of how important blogging was to me, as a person. It’s always given me greatest joy to write. Now though I felt a surge of joy when I contemplated the idea of lifting the blog to another level. I’m not talking about numbers, but the idea of seeing it grow as a resource for parents and bloggers.
In mid-October, I created a vision map for my blog. Closing my eyes, it came to me that the posts I enjoyed writing the most were of two types: the ones from the heart and the ones where I was helping people. At times, the two types converged into a single post. I decided it was time to be kinder to my blog, nurture it regularly, work on a better layout and make it a place where people could feel comfortable coming by to read, like they would at an old friend’s home.
That’s when I discovered and fell in love with the power of Pinterest. You may wonder how a visual search engine is connected to kindness! But it is! I took the time to find a picture, work on it with care, find out how it could connect with the reader and build interest in a post. This was me, being kind towards my blog and by extension, myself.
If that was kindness towards blogging, I found that writing wasn’t to be left behind. A short, personal essay I wrote in November touched many readers and that’s when another light bulb went off. I must cultivate writing regularly, like tending to a garden. Water it with care, watch it flourish.
So, starting today, January 1st, I intend to write every single day. It could be anything from 100 to 1000 words. Oh but don’t worry, it won’t be here or on my other blog. I will be doing it on Medium. You are welcome to follow me there and even join in, if you think this is something you’d like to try.
On February 19th, 2001, my Guru and guide gave me a watch. Handing it to me he said, ‘WATCH’: Watch your words, actions, thoughts, character and heart.’ These have always resonated with me but it is only now, nearly 17 years later that I think I understand what this means.
Harmony in thought, word and deed are crucial if we are to evolve as sentient beings. I had to put daily, conscious thought into my actions. Oh, how wonderfully mindfulness has come to my rescue here. And the evidence has been obvious.
The way I know that a conscious kindness practice has led to my being more patient with Gy.
How speaking softly helps me control my urge to yell.
How taking a moment to breathe and respond helps with regulating my emotions.
The way I learnt to stop gossipping about people.
And the best part? It all takes root in two crucial emotions: Kindness and Love.
In Receiving Kindness
Kindness is a wonderful emotion. It leaves you open to the warmth, goodness and peace in the world and also lets you welcome all of it into your own life. That’s precisely what happened in the last month alone.
December saw me win three awards for my work in the social media and blogging space. I am still blinking a bit as I say this because they all took me by surprise.
- The first was from Tutorful (formerly Tutora,UK), who chose me for the Best Parent Insight Blog, 2017. I was the only Indian blogger on their shortlist and to win was totally unexpected!
- The second was the runner-up trophy from Women’s Web for my use of Twitter as a blogger.
- Finally, the month ended with winning a very special award- This blog won the best blog in the Relationships category at the Indiblogger Awards, 2017!
What this taught me was something very simple and very satisfying: Do good and be kind and pretty soon, the Universe will turn around and do the same for you.
I pledge to be kind this year towards others, my work, my health, my writing, my blog and above all, to myself. If just 3 months of kindness can do so much, imagine what a lifetime of kindness can bring into your life.
And if you’ve read this far, I thank you for your kindness and ask you:
What is your word of the year?
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