My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world.
A few years ago, a friend of mine challenged me that instead of creating a list of goals that could easily be forgotten or dismissed as they become too overwhelming, I should pick one word that I could focus on. This word could become the focal point of my actions and help me in guiding my children and in all my relationships.
Two years ago I accepted the challenge and chose the word Cherish. As the year unfolded, I often reflected on this word and learned to slow down and enjoy the moment. Last year, I chose the word gratitude. I spent the year trying to identifying ways that I could express gratitude in both word and in action. I hope that I was quicker to say thank you and more willing to help when asked. I know I tried, but I find myself in the role of my worst critic, so I often feel that I could have done better.
This leads me to my choice of a word for this year: Optimism.
Optimism is defined as:
1. tendency to expect best: the tendency to believe, expect, or hope that things will turn out well
2. confidence: the attitude of somebody who feels positive or confident
3. doctrine that our world is best: a philosophical doctrine, first proposed by Leibnitz, that ours is the best of all possible worlds.
There is a running joke between Rick and one of our longest friends. (Cindy, please note that I did not say oldest.) Rick and Cindy often refer to me as Rick's favorite pessimist. I tend to play the devil's advocate, always looking for what could go wrong. I find myself always anticipating the worst, planning options for the worst case scenario. While I still feel it is important to be prepared, I want to change my focus so that I do not think the worst first, but look for the best.
Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.
If I learned anything in 2013, it is that if you do not look for the best in a situation, there is a good possibility that you will end up in the corner curled in a fetal possession. 2013 was filled with many experiences for our family that strengthened our faith and trust in our loving Heavenly Father. My testimony was strengthened as I developed a greater understanding of the need for trials in our lives. The year ended with my heart full of gratitude for the many blessings our family had received. This is a feeling I do not want to lose.
So my choice for Word of the Year is to help me carry that feeling of gratitude forward through 2014 and beyond. As I look for the best, I will have a life that is fuller, richer, more joyful.