Let’s not call them resolutions this year. That almost feels like forecasting failure. Instead, as 2018 draws to a close, let’s commit to doing something better that extends beyond ourselves. I’ve got plenty I want to do to make the house neater and work more efficient, and both of those ultimately make my life easier. But I also plan to be more humble, empathetic, compassionate, and kind in 2019.
So, when that toddler ahead of me in the checkout line at Target throws a full-on screaming fit, I’m not going to give myself credit for suppressing an eyeroll and swallowing an audible sigh. I’m going to smile reassuringly at his flustered mom and assure her it will get better.
When the driver behind me honks because I didn’t floor it through the intersection as soon as the light turned green, I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps they’ve got a sick child at home or an emergency at work. At the very least, they’re probably having a bad day. I’m going to hold them in the light that whatever is weighing them down eases and that they get where they need to go safely.
Even if I don’t give money to the person experiencing homelessness, I will look them in the eye and say something that acknowledges their humanity rather than speeding up my pace as I look away.
None of this saves the world, but I’ll be taking more responsibility for my role in it. Like any resolution to exercise more, eat better, or perfect an elusive skill, there will be times when my efforts fall short. I will be snappish, rushed, or not entirely present to the situation, but I might actually learn more from when I screw up than when I get it right. And as with other habits, humility, empathy, compassion, and kindness become more ingrained and reflexive the more we engage with them, and we become innately better at them. No visits to the gym or personal trainer required.
In 2019, the path to HECK is open to all of us. Participate in a workshop to walk it with others, but also don’t be afraid to step out on your own.