“What is your ‘word’?” A good friend posted this question on her Facebook page after watching the movie Eat Pray Love, in which the main character (played by Julia Roberts) has her “word” – one which has infinite meaning and truth for her, that is her guiding principle. I loved the question, and carried it around with me for many days, mulling it over.
I first answered “brave” because another friend’s post a few weeks before had become a personal mantra for me: “Stay calm. Be brave. Watch for the signs.” I like that. It prompts me to breathe when I feel the stresses of life creeping into my shoulders (the first symptom of pending panic), and it reminds me that something greater that I am is in control…a huge relief when I know I’m certainly not!
So brave was a good word for me, but it expressed only a part of what I wanted to define me, to guide me. It wasn’t my word.
My friend had many comments on her posting, with people adding a range of words by which they wanted to live: peace, reliable, honest, faith. Still, no word fit what I wanted. I found myself noticing words and catch-phrases everywhere, and I began to examine and discard them: dream, live, laugh, love, choices. All lovely words, all words by which I wanted to live, too, and all words I wanted to define me, but they seemed to be only bits of something greater. Dreams were too ethereal, living lacked description, laughter wasn’t always appropriate, faith felt too vague, choices were what I made but didn’t define the action that let me make them.
What I needed was something more all-encompassing, something that could define an entire lifetime, an entire personal philosophy.
And then I found it.
Believe works. If I believe, then bravery is a given, and so is calm. If I believe, my dreams move from being abstract into the realm of possibility. I am free to live my life to the fullest, knowing it is unfolding as it should. I can love those around me for who they are, and not who I would like them to be, because I know they’re doing what they need to do, too. If I believe, then I am where I am supposed to be, learning the lessons I need to learn, doing what I need to do at this moment in time. I know that the laughter will come in all the right places, and that there is a reason for the pain and the uncertainty (even if I can’t see it at the moment); I know that my choices and actions, while not always prudent or well thought-out, will continue to work together to make me better, stronger, wiser.
And so I choose BELIEVE as my word, because it defines how I want to live my life. It defines me. I believe most people are reliable, and that most of them are honest. I believe in human decency. I believe that if we raise our expectations, people will rise to meet those expectations. I believe in the possibility of peace, and in the potential of humanity (despite what we see in the news every day) to turn itself around. I believe we can all learn to make wiser choices – or at least enough of us to make a difference. I believe in our ability to overcome our own weaknesses.
I believe, because I choose to have faith. I choose to be strong. I choose to live and love and laugh. I choose to believe that I will learn from my mistakes, and that I will continue to grow as a human being because of them.
I choose believe, and I choose to believe.
And now it’s your turn…what is your word, and how does it define you?