"Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate, and to humble." — Yehuda Berg

It is going to come to no surprise I have a thing for words. I love words and the power that they hold. I do wish they were better used throughout life and not so consistently misused, but we can’t have everything, can we?

Enough sarcasm. I’m trying to make a solid point and it’s this – there is power in the words we use daily and especially in the words we use to speak to ourselves. We’ve talked before about self-talk and the inner narrative we possess. I want to touch on how we can impact our minds, moments, days, years, and lives based on the words we surround ourselves with.

My senior year of high school I started a personal tradition based on a story I wrote. I had a dream one night about a woman who had recently passed away. They found her back covered in tattoos. Not flowers, butterflies, or random tribal symbols, but in words. Different sizes and fonts, but every inch was covered in words. I came to learn that for every year of her life, this woman chose a word to live for that next year and she tattooed that word on her back. These words on her back were a story of the life she lived and of the person she chose to be.

Every year I choose a word to live out, like the woman in my story. There have been years the words have been easy to choose and easy to live out. Other words have been harder to find and a struggle to live through. One year I chose “Sparkle” because I wanted to be something bright in the lives of others, which was relatively easy. Another year I chose “Embrace Change” which turned out to be a struggle I still fight today.

For 2021, I chose the word “Everest” so that I would always climb to the next peak no matter how hard the journey. I had no idea how hard that would really be, but I will continue to take one step after another.

As we come to the end of 2021, it is time for me to find my next life-building word. This one was chosen for me this time and it will be something I may never fully live up to, but for good reason. For 2022 my word is “Steadfast.” This is particularly significant for me because after my dad died, person after person used the word to describe him. Dad handed me this word and I will strive every day of 2022 to be “firm in purpose, committed and unwavering in all things.”

Here is my challenge to you — find a word for the coming year. It can be anything you want but choose it knowing this word will be a part of you, much like a tattoo, for the rest of your life. Find a word that describes how you want others to see you. I’m sending you thoughts, hopes, and words to carry you into 2022, which currently remains a blank book waiting for us all to write.

Happy New Year to All!

Sarah Deats

Sarah Deats is the Arizona Outpatient Support Services Manager at RI International and the Hope Inc. Stories Inspiration Engineer. Her goals are to make a connection with everyone that she can while building community, spreading hope, and sparking change. She believes that while life may not be easy, it is never lived alone.