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,
I’m linking up for the first time with Sue, Jo, Deb & Donna for ‘What’s been on your calendar” #WBOC
Hi Min it is great to have you join us for the #WBOYC link up and I love your WOTY. ‘Enough’ is a word we should all reflect on and realise that as long as we give our best we are ENOUGH. I’m so pleased you have booked your holiday. NZ is a fabulous place to explore. Like you, I’m reflecting on what I want from life as I’m 66 in August (which I can’t quite believe) but although I still want to do things I’m looking at a more measured pace. Take care and again it is great to have you link up. I look forward to reading your WOTY progress throughout the year. You’ve certainly made a good start. xx
Hi Sue, thanks so much. Yes the word ENOUGH just kept presenting itself in my head and so I couldn’t ignore it any longer. Enough already and I am enough. I am very excited about the NZ holiday in May and hoping that all will be ok for me to get away for that time as it is very much needed. I think we all ‘can’t quite believe it’ with each birthday these days. This year is my last birthday of my 50’s and I really can’t believe that! I’m grateful I’m still here for it though, as so many aren’t as lucky. Thank you for hosting and hope you have a wonderful weekend! xo
I’ve never chosen a WOTY but what I do is choose a small goal that I want to achieve during the year. One year it was to find the perfect lipstick that I really liked. Another year it was to experiment with air fresheners to find the one that made our house smell lovely. That one backfired a bit because I found out that most of them give headaches! I did find one that I can use in small doses and it makes our house smell nice. It was a learning experience and worth experimenting.
This year I’m trying to do something artistic for approximately 20 minutes a day. When I do this I make a cross on a yearly calendar which starts to form a chain and then I can see how long I can maintain this practice and not break the chain. I read about this idea somewhere and thought it was worth giving a go. So far so good.
Hi Helen, I love your ‘small goal’ idea! I haven’t chosen a WOTY for many, many years. Not sure if I will again next year. I only did this year because the word ENOUGH just kept appearing in my head! If no word choses me next year then I might just go with your idea of choosing a small goal. What a shame that all the air fresheners gave you a headache (except the one you can use in small doses)! I think it’s fabulous that you’re going to try and do something artistic for 20 minutes each day! I love the cross on the calendar that forms a chain idea too! I hope it all goes well for you. Have a great weekend Helen! xo
Oh that inner critic can be a real meanie can’t they Min? Your WOTY is fabulous and sets the tone for your year ahead and as it chose you then it is all the more powerful.. No-one has the perfect life, we all battle but it can be hard to see past these things sometimes and sharing your vulnerability like you have is a real start. You are enough, you’re talented, beautiful, caring, insightful and kind and I’ve never met you in real life, I know these things from reading your words. You’re also going through a lot and grief plays a huge role in our thinking. You and I are on the same page with losing our dads and now with caring for your mum and the unknown, it’s hard work. I’m so pleased you have a holiday booked and let the countdown begin! Lovely post and thanks for sharing with us in our newly named #WBOYC linkup. Take care xx
Hi Deb, yes that inner critic can be awfully mean. Mine has gotten a bit too big for its boots lately so it is time to put ‘it’ back in its place. Thank you so much for your kind words! Maybe we will get to meet in person one day when you’re up this way again. I am looking forward to my NZ holiday very much! Three whole weeks of adventuring, exploring, discovering, beautiful nature, learning new things, zero of my usual daily chores, some fun, a break from all my responsibilities, etc etc. Thanks Deb! Hope you have a wonderful weekend! xo
I love ‘enough’ as a word as it has two huge meanings for me. I never feel as if I am enough, or could be enough.
But I also panic about not having enough or running out. It’s why I’d buy 4 family sized blocks of chocolate instead of 2 or multiple bags of binge food because I was worried I wouldn’t have enough.
And I absolutely agree that you need to be less-hard on yourself and treat yourself with more kindness. xx
Hi Deb, the word ENOUGH has so many different aspects to it doesn’t it? We are all so hard on ourselves but the truth is that we were created exactly as we are for a reason. I’m enough and YOU are enough too! The trick is taming our inner critics so we can actually believe it! xo
Hi, Min – Ditto what Sue and Debbie said above. I’m honoured that you joined us and shared so openly.
I know that your candid words will touch the hearts of many — they definitely did for me.
Enough it a wonderful two-sided WOTY (You are Enough, and recognizing things that you have had Enough of). Recognizing that despite all that has been on your plate you have still done great things is a wonderful reflection. And the commitment of being kinder to yourself for 2023 is so important and something that we should all reaffirm. Thank you again for sharing so deeply.
Hi Donna and thank you! It’s not always easy being so open (mainly because relatives, old work colleagues, friends etc might read this and that makes me want to crawl under a rock) but this is stuff that us humans do/think/feel and if we’re open and honest and talk about this stuff then we realise that and we can feel more ‘normal’ and connected as humans. It’s also quite therapeutic to get the words/thoughts/feeling out of the mind and body and onto the page. Thanks for your kind comment Donna. It means a lot! Hope you have a wonderful weekend! xo
That sounds like a good word Min. I have phrases rather than a word; I often recite -‘All shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well’ to myself. This year it is ‘Be the lake’ – i.e. calm and serene underneath while all above me is chaos 🙂
Hi Sherry – I love your “be the lake” phrase. So clever. I’ll keep that phrase idea in my memory bank for future years! Have a great weekend! xo
What a great word….and I remember listening to the words of Erkhardt Tolle way back. I understand the mental mess, the mixing up of all the thinking and then the criticism.
ENOUGH! Go well dear Min.
I just wrote an extra post tonight which I may link up for next week for WWandPics and it’s called “Thoughts on Thinking”.
Thanks Denyse, Eckhart Tolle says some amazing words doesn’t he? I need to read The Power of Now again because it was incredible and I need to get those words and thoughts back fresh in my brain. I look forward to reading your post on ‘Thoughts on Thinking”! Have a wonderful weekend Denyse! xo
Hi Min – I chose “Enough” as my WOTY several years ago and was interested to see how its meaning changed as the year wore on – it went from having enough to being enough – and focused a lot on gratitude and acceptance. I like how you’re using yours as a full stop and a line in the sand to create new ways of thinking and new habits. It’s easy to slip into compare and despair (which is why I don’t use IG and unfollow anyone who’s too perfect on FB) and you’re right, it’s a highlight reel existance and one we set ourselves up to fail if we start to think it’s real. I’ll look forward to watching how you bloom as the year progresses. 🙂
Hi Leanne, I think the word ENOUGH will present in many forms for me throughout the year – enough of this and that, I am enough, and yes my focus needs to come back more to gratitude and acceptance. That is something I was doing very well but it has lapsed as life has become quite challenging and overwhelming in recent times. I love Instagram but am very aware that I am getting pulled in the compare and despair vortex. So many of these people (who are fabulous!) are a decade or two or three younger than me and at a different stage of life, so the comparison thing is ridiculous! I may need to unfollow some accounts to help myself out a bit – fabulous as they are. Thanks Leanne. Have a great weekend! xo
Min, As I read our post, I was nodding my head in agreement! Yup, I’m a perfectionist as well, with a lovely inner critic who is constantly telling me I’m not good enough. I’m great at Compare & Despair….but I can say that I’ve at least recognized when I’m doing it now and can stop the negative spiral with a question of, “Do I really, really want that in my life?” Most times, I have to say, not really, I don’t want to exert the effort that whatever it is takes! I also “hear expectations” that are not really there (and then feel bad when I don’t meet them). I’m glad to hear you restarting daily gratitude… it’s definitely been a positive for me. And a 3-week holiday – wonderful! Me, I’m working on having my inner voice learn about forgiveness and compassion.
Hi Patricia! Being a perfectionist is such a drag isn’t it? It wastes so much of my time and it can paralyse me at times. I recognise when I’m doing the compare and despair thing too. I notice that I give myself a talking to in my head at times … things like “she’s 10 or 20 years younger – of course she’s doing that. You don’t want that anymore!” etc. In the past when I did my 365 grateful challenge I found it helped me to ground myself in the now and become more observant. It also changed my perspective to a much happier one. As for the NZ holiday – OMG – I can’t wait! Thanks for your kind and thoughtful comment Patricia. Have a fabulous weekend! xo
Hello Min, ‘enough’ is a good choice for your WOTY. I hope you find it helpful to use as a brake when your inner critic is taking over your thoughts. I have an inner critic which I find difficult to silence and for something quite small, it is so persistent and mean! I’ve been using ‘stop’ when my voice becomes too loud, which does put it on mute for a while.
You have a lot on your plate and are coping admirably – I’ve been where you are and it is so difficult, physically and emotionally, when you are looking after someone. Be kind to yourself and take time to rest and recharge your batteries.
I look forward to reading how you get on with your WOTY.
Hi Elizabeth! I think enough is definitely the right choice for my WOTY because I’m very aware that I’m being way too super hard on myself at a time in my life that is very challenging. I know I need to be kinder to myself. The inner critic is rather brutal at times. Good idea to use the word STOP as a bit of a mute button. I’ll try that! Thanks so much for your comment. It means a lot! Hope you have a lovely weekend! xo
I love that word for you and can’t help but feel that it’s your art as well as the yoga/pilates that has brought you to this point. I’m excited for your trip with you!
Thanks Jo! I’m excited about my trip too! I have never needed a holiday so much. I think that lots of things led to my WOTY including absolute exhaustion on every front! xo
Hi Min, It’s good to catch up with you via #WBOYC. Your plans for 2023 and your WOTY are excellent. Self-compassion, kindness, gratitude, and rest are all so important to our overall well-being. I look forward to hearing more about how you go with your WOTY and your trip to NZ.
Thanks Natalie! You’ll definitely be hearing about both. Hope you’re keeping well. xo
Catching up with you and beginning with this post. I chose the word ‘consistent’ but after reading the reasons for your choice of the word ‘enough’ I am thinking it might be a word better suited to where I want to be right now. I really do so much better when I have a daily routine but LIFE never allows me that. By 64 almost 65 you would think I could just get over it and do what I can when I can. But starting my day off with a catastrophe or an unplanned event turns my world upside down. I wish I could just think to myself that whatever I get to is ENOUGH. Which I know is a slightly different interpretation of the word to yours.
I think something we both are seeking in this year and beyond is time to enjoy our favorite activities. Time to be. I have ‘consistently’ scrapbooked more, written more, exercised more. So maybe there is hope for me yet. I don’t feel the torment of the comparison of my life to the lives of others. At least not terribly so. And I think the happier I become with my life and doing the things I love to do, the potential for comparison will decrease.
Wishing you a wonderful holiday.
Consistent is a good word Leslie! Being consistent is what can lead to healthy habits or to letting go of unhealthy ones. We do need to be kind to ourselves in the process though … and accept that as long as we try our best well that is enough. I’ve tried to be consistent in posting here on the blog once every week. I dropped the ball this week and didn’t post. I just didn’t have time with so much on my plate lately. I’m not gonna beat myself up about it. So be it and moving on I’ll try and post next week. I agree with you that having more time for favourite activities would be lovely! Thanks for the holiday wishes – still a couple of months to wait yet but good to have it to look forward to!