A Personal Look at a Therapist’s Story and Journey of One-Word Goals Throughout Challenging Times
I recently heard that the most effective New Year’s resolutions are made using only one word. For example, if “create” is the word then maybe this would be the year you finally take that pottery class you’ve been eyeing or you dust off the guitar in the attic and play it again.
I immediately began to wonder what words would represent my past few years. Looking back, I’ve always embraced the one-word mantra, so I looked at those mantras from a new angle.
In doing so, I discovered that an ongoing goal for me has been “trust”. If you are a mother, a woman, a human with any kind of predisposition for worry or anxiety, then you know that fear can be a big energy drainer during the day. How can we let go of fear? Replace it with trust.
Specifically, I look back at old journals and remind myself of a few things.
1. Most of the things I’ve worried about never came to be.
2. Whatever difficult circumstances I faced, I got on the other side of it, eventually. They are temporary.
3. I have tools inside of me and a support system outside of me to face whatever difficulties are inevitably in my future. I am not alone.
In the face of fear, I repeat to myself “choose trust”. Sometimes I add to the mantra “I have everything I need to face this”. If I were going to flip this mantra into a New Year’s resolution, then I might even look for opportunities to take some risks in relationships, adventures, hobbies, careers so that I could practice “trust”.
This past year or so my word would be “humility”. That wasn’t a word I chose for a New Year’s resolution! (Who would?) It’s more of a word that I have pulled out when I reflect in hindsight what the past few years have brought me.
You see, my daughter got very ill the summer before her senior year of high school. It seemed like a virus that lasted a long time. When she finally recovered from it, she was never quite the same. She caught every bug that went around her school and suffered significant fatigue. When the chronic, persistent headaches began I became very fearful.
Of course, I brought her to every physician her pediatrician recommended, but none could give us the answers we were looking for. I had some gut instinct that there was something systematically wrong with her.
After about a year, I took her to an integrative physician where we discovered that she had Lyme disease. Getting the diagnosis brought both relief and an onslaught of new fears. Of course, using my “trust” mantra helped me, and a new word rose to the surface – “humility”.
It’s an awful word, really. Initially, I thought of it as synonymous with “embarrassment”. But as I got less judgmental of the word itself, I realized that it was really a quality that I admire.
Think about the two kinds of highly successful people you’ve met: the one that talks tirelessly about their achievements, posting perfect images on social media or the one that you get to know who they are and only later find out how successful they have become. Which one do you want to be?
So, how do you get humility? I’m not sure exactly, but I think it looks a little like surrender and realizing you aren’t in control of most things in life. It also looks like facing challenges with transparency, vulnerability and sincere reflection. Accepting compliments with grace and equally being willing to not be noticed for tasks you may have accomplished.
So what is my word this year? I don’t know yet. I’ve tossed around a few ideas. My words come to me organically. Perhaps I will continue working towards “trust” and “humility” (are we ever really finished with those?).
Every week I will spend a little time asking myself “what is your word this year?” And then I do the hardest thing of all, I sit in silence waiting, knowing that eventually, it will come to me.
What word will you choose this year?
Written by Cyndi Benner, MA, LPC, therapist at Inspire.
Cyndi is “trauma certified” by the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA). She brings clinical experience from the Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center. Cyndi is uniquely equipped to hold a gentle and safe space for clients to heal from difficult or traumatic experiences. In addition, Cyndi helps clients through troublesome childhoods, life transitions, loss, identifying needs, parenting struggles and women’s empowerment.
In her personal life, Cyndi has spent years understanding the impact and effects of ADD/ADHD as well as health concerns, such as Lyme Disease. She is Lyme-literate and knows the challenges parents face today and the importance of treating the whole person. Her personal faith and spiritual journey, also allow her to provide faith-based counseling to clients, upon request.
To schedule a session with Cyndi, click below or contact (847) 919-9096 ext. 1 or email firstname.lastname@example.org