Oops. When reading through last year’s gratitude journal, I was reminded that my word of 2008 was BELIEVE, not YES. YES must have been 2007’s word. In any case, it made such an impact on my thinking and doing that that I still incorporate its positive power in my life.

Back to believe. I feel that it’s important to believe in one’s self and in the ability to change, to adapt, to grow, to overcome obstacles. It’s related to self-efficacy, a psychological term which loosely refers (not inclined to go find an exact textbook definition) to a person’s belief that he or she can achieve something. The higher the perceived self-efficacy, the more likely it is that someone will attempt something and persevere despite obstacles. If I’m not mistaken, Bandura, the man who popularized this term, felt that self-efficacy could even be more important in a person’s persistence than his or her actual ability…sort of like the old adage about if you think you can, you can; if you think you can’t, you’re sunk.

There’s also belief in others, in humankind. Then there’s belief in the power of love, belief in God, belief that the sun will come up tomorrow, belief that things will work out. One of the things I often tell my students who are in the middle of some crisis or another is that “This too shall pass.” You just have to believe that hurts will heal, that the pain will end. You have to believe that there is purpose in your life and that you are the son or daughter of a loving Heavenly Father who has a plan for you.  Er, I don’t go into that much detail with my students, by the way. ..separation of church and state and all that jazz.

Hmmm. Peace is this year’s word, but I’m going to keep on believing and keep on saying yes. What about you?

By the way, the picture was taken in Macy’s Department Store in NYC last month. I think I might print it out and tack it to my bulletin board.