Taking Heart

I’ve read from somewhere that as an alternative to making New Year’s resolutions, you can instead pick a single word for the year ahead. I think it’s called a ‘power-word’ or something to that effect. I’m not sure exactly what the word is meant to be or do, but I take it to be something that represents what you want to achieve, uphold, or become more of in the year ahead.

I’m better at making sense of things past than at assigning things to the future though, so when I first learned about it, I looked back at the years that had passed to see what word I might’ve associated with each. Indeed, immediately a word representing each year did easily crop up. For 2013, it was faith. For 2014, endurance. Last year, 2015, it was balance.

This new year 2016, I’ll try to assign one looking ahead.

The word is heart.

I don’t mean the red, squishy thing. People who know me well enough would also be quick to recognize that by ‘heart,’ I don’t mean love, although that might be…something (haha).

By ‘heart,’ what I really mean is ‘spirit’ or ‘courage.’


Since the year started, my phone’s wallpaper (pictured above) has been that quote by Nelson Mandela, and the song on loop in my playlist has been Superheroes (The Script).


“When you’ve been fighting for it all your life
You’ve been struggling to make things right
That’s how a superhero learns to fly
[Every day, every hour, turn the pain into power]”
~ Superheroes (The Script)


Through these things, I think what I’m really trying to do is remind myself to take heart. As it is, I have to rely on a lot of external reminders to make it work, because left to my own, internally, I’m kind of a wreck (I have to admit, I’m kind of neurotic and since I’ve started reading DSM-5, I have diagnosed myself with more than one mental disorder.)


“Courage implies firmness of mind and will in the face of danger or extreme difficulty.
Spirit also suggests a quality of temperament enabling one to hold one’s own or keep up one’s morale when opposed or threatened.” (Merriam-Webster)


I remember this one time when I was minutes from going in for a do-or-die interview I really, REALLY wanted to do well in (because I really, REALLY wanted that job—at least that time, I did). I was on the verge of tears because I had just come off a very tumultuous time trying to get to that interview (i.e. being notified only the night before, catching a flight at the last minute, among others), and the frazzle it caused me intensified my anxiety about the interview tenfold.

I knew I wasn’t mentally ready to go in for the interview, so before going to the interview room, I took a moment to calm myself down in a restroom. And by calm myself down, I mean burst into tears. I was texting someone who knew what I was going through at the time, and I will never forget this person’s words that led me to take heart again and just go for it despite every negative emotion I was feeling at that moment: “Be brave and be strong. Not everyone is given the potentials that you have. Use them to your advantage.”

Many times we forget what we are capable of as we get overwhelmed by the million other things in our lives that are not going well. We fail to utilize the inner resources we have to survive the ordeal—the ‘fire in our soul’ gets extinguished and we stand to lose all chance of making it through because we cease to try. We cease daring to believe that what we hope to happen is still possible. We don’t dare enough to give it a go.

I realize that last year, too, I did not dare enough. I think it was because of two things: 1) I felt that so much of me was required to survive my first year teaching full-time (plus a few other responsibilities) that I no longer had energy left over to do anything much else; and 2) I somehow lost heart along the way. It might’ve just been burnout, or anxiety that I let be the killer of my spirit. Either way, it was a sad thing to let happen, really, because losing heart meant losing the drive I had to fulfill the purpose I had anchored my life on. I kept asking where, where had that girl with the heart to do this gone to?

This year I’m taking it back, though.

I am taking heart. ♠

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