MY WORD OF THE YEAR FOR 2023
I haven’t believed in new year’s resolutions in a long time. They set you up for failure I believe and I don’t want to do that to myself. As long time readers would know, I am already way too hard on myself. I constantly fight perfectionism and I always feel like I have to be productive, or the inner critic rears it’s head. I used to choose a Word of the Year (WOTY) years ago – an intention to set my compass by – and it seemed to work for me for a while, until it didn’t, and so I haven’t chosen a WOTY for a long time. However, in recent weeks (maybe even months), a particular word has been appearing in my head constantly. It just won’t leave me alone. It’s banging on my brain saying “hey you – listen up, choose me”. Maybe this is why WOTY’s stopped working for me years ago – because they need to choose you, not you choosing them!
So, as mentioned in my Hello 2023 post, after many years of NOT having a WOTY, this year I realised that I needed to listen to that banging on my brain and officially make this particular word my WOTY. That word appears in the image below and is . . . “ENOUGH”.
WHY THE WORD “ENOUGH”?
There’s no other way to explain the choice of this word, or I should say why it chose me, than to be very vulnerable and open. That’s not always an easy thing to do in such a public forum, but I have to in order to present the real Min here on the blog and to connect with others that might have similar issues to myself!
A book I read once that had a profound effect on me at the time was “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle (I must read it again). In that book there were many quotes but these few come immediately to mind, and have really stuck with me:
“The moment you start watching your thoughts, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated”
“Be the observer of your mind”
“Observe your thoughts, don’t believe them”
Eckhart Tolle believes that we need to acknowledge the two selves. First, you need to become aware of and acknowledge that you and your thoughts are two distinct entities that are entangled inside. He encourages observing your mind with your conscious self, deeply rooted in the NOW to help untangle the conscious self from the egoic/unconscious self, which is mostly our thoughts that as we all know can swirl around like crazy (the ‘monkey mind‘)!
So, I’ve been ‘watching my thoughts and observing my mind‘ and see many red flags that need attention. It comes down to mental health, really. I feel like mine hasn’t been very good lately. I have days that I am very sad, and I’m emotionally exhausted. Five years on, and I’m still grieving the loss of my Dad. I know I always will be. I am getting used to living with it, but it’s always there, a little pain in my heart that sometimes turns into a lightening bolt pain. There’s been lots of time spent caring for Mum, and lots of worry now and for what might be ahead. It’s been hard to get any focus or momentum with my art or my plans to write and illustrate a children’s book, and I beat myself up about that. The inner critic can be so nasty and unkind. There’s been a lot of terribly sad and tragic news amongst my family and friends over the last 12 months, and there’s a couple of friends/acquaintances that seem to have vanished from my life. As an empath I feel and absorb all of these things very deeply. I haven’t had a proper holiday in many years (bring on our planned trip to New Zealand in May!) and I am really feeling the consequence of that. Apart from a few reasonably short local getaways, my life has been on a constant repetitive routine of jobs and responsibilities for years with no nice long holiday to properly hit the reset & revive button, and very little ‘fun’. Additionally, I am very hard on myself when it comes to purpose and achievements, and I set very high expectations for myself. I’m very self critical. I’m a perfectionist. I often don’t feel enough, in many ways. All of these things I have observed with confronting clarity as I observed my thoughts . . . so . . .
- ENOUGH is ENOUGH. Enough of letting myself get run down to this point. I need more regular ‘proper’ holidays, a break from my regular life in order to revive and reset, and I need more fun!
- ENOUGH with caring so much about what others think of me; and of assuming I’m being judged based on what I look like; what I do with my time; and/or if my personality seems interesting enough.
- ENOUGH of setting such high expectations of myself and being so mean to myself when I don’t meet them.
- ENOUGH with the constant self criticism picking at every aspect of myself.
- ENOUGH with thinking I am less then other people, and assuming people think poorly of me.
- I am ENOUGH. I am here for a reason!
I used to have a better grip on a lot of the things I’ve listed above (self criticism, perfectionism, etc etc) and I’ve written about them before (and many more similar topics – see here) but certain elements of self care have lapsed due to recent ‘life overwhelm’ and here I am again. There’s so many things that have contributed, many of which I’ve outlined above. There’s also been a very long global pandemic which has impacted all of us often more than we realise, and I do think that social media has not helped me either. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media BUT the comparison trap is a very real thing that can get into your cells without you even realising it. Before you know it your unconscious self is saying things to yourself like “they are so fun and popular” “pretty” “gorgeous clothes” “fabulous holidays” “perfect marriage” “successful career” “amazing accomplishments” etc etc. The truth is, you never know the whole story of what is going on in someone’s life. Social media truly is just the “highlight reel” … BUT … it can still get you regardless, you know?
The thing is, I’m 58 (59 in late May). I don’t want a busy life anymore. I don’t want a busy business. I’m at a stage of life where I want a slower pace and a quiet life. I’m becoming more spiritual with each passing year as I seek to understand myself and what I want for the final years of my life. I know I want them to be deeply fulfilling and meaningful. I think sometimes with social media, we forget that a lot of what we are viewing is from people at a different stage of life, and this can be dangerous as we can subconsciously be drawn into the comparison trap with people who are sometimes 10 to 20 years younger than ourselves!
Basically – ENOUGH with all the negative thinking about myself. ENOUGH with giving a toss about what others think of me, and time to embrace the fact that I AM ENOUGH (and . . .more holidays and more fun)!
SO WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?
- Well we’ve booked a holiday to the South Island of New Zealand for 3 whole weeks in mid-May to early June for starters! Hooray! I am so looking forward to it. I will be over there for my birthday. As it will be the last birthday in my 50’s I am so glad it will be a memorable one.
- I need to do more art!
- I’ll re-read ‘The Power of Now’ – time to revisit the enormous and profound impact this book had on me.
- Gratitude – I need to revisit a regular gratitude practice because the 365 Grateful Project I did in 2012 was so helpful in improving my happiness and positivity, along with being more present and aware.
- Continue to do my daily yoga and pilates practice and meditations too. I enjoy this daily practice immensely – it’s great for my body AND for my mind.
- Practice being kinder to myself (stop and correct that inner critic). I’ve had a lot on my plate. Still do. I’m doing good things. I’m trying my best.
- Try to set realistic little steps that will help me slowly move towards the goals I have for myself.
- Rest when I can. Busy = overwhelm. Overwhelm = stress/paralysis/inner critic. Being un-busy works much better for me as a HSP & Empath.
That’s all I can think of right now. More ideas might come to me with time. Please do let me know yours if you have any!
I’ll check in again here on the blog periodically throughout the year to see how I’m going with this WOTY. Do you have a WOTY? Do tell if you do!
Ciao for now,