The Word: 2023

Choosing a word of the year

Words, they say, are spells. And the word of the year can be an intensely potent spell that you cast not just over a year, but — dare I say it? — over a lifetime. They have an inherent magic and power that can work in ways you may never have imagined, to bring you the exact medicine you need at any point of time.

That medicine can sometimes be bitter, sometimes not. But like any good medicine, a word of the year can change you in bold and beautiful ways. Like Devotion. My word of the year for 2022. It was a bitter pill to swallow, and yet — it swept through my life, leaving me with some important and necessary questions to answer.

Like in years past, I became aware of a new word for 2023 around October. But unlike in years past, I just wasn’t ready to work with that word. Not just yet. Not after the ride that Devotion took me on. I needed something more gentle. Something soothing. It wasn’t until the end of December that I finally found my word.

Word of the year soft

Soft. That is my word for the year. Evoking as it does images of ease, comfort, and nesting. Just what my tender heart currently requires.

A soft life is gentle and fluid
there’s space to both
grow and challenge yourself
and to rest and nourish your soul.

to pursue a to-do list
and a shenanigans list.

softness is a mindset —
with space for beauty and delight,
slowing down in a culture of hustle,
honoring your human needs and limitations,
being present for what is
instead of constantly trying to fix
what you perceive is broken (but maybe isn’t).

soft is beauty and slowness
imperfection and compassion
ease and nuance
open-hearted and trusting and
savoring what is pleasurable.

Soft is what I am calling in this year.

Before you go, tell me this: do you have a word of the year?

Still to find a word of the year? Download the Visioning workbook – it’s designed to help you reflect on the year gone by, plan for the year to come, and choose a word for the year! Click on the Download now button below, and I’ll pop it right over to you!

Posted in Year-end wrap-up.

I’m an artist and art educator, podcaster, tarot reader, and writer. I share my discoveries along the path to inspire you to live a more creative, soul-centered life. Receive my love letters for more of my musings on life and creativity. P.S. I love Instagram - join me there?


  1. Glad to drop here, Shinjini. Wishing you a wonderful year ahead and I love the word. I often tell myself that I need my softness back, this reminded me again of it. I haven’t picked a word as-is for this year, but I wanted to choose Simplify again, because I loved that year very much. It’s been with me for a while now, but passively. Thinking if I can activate it again this year 🙂

    Lovely read 🙂

  2. What a gentle word for 2023, Shinjini! Loved how you are intending to make room for a myriad experiences under the shadow of that one word. Here’s wishing the year turns out just as you’d like it to be, so when you are looking back, it’s rich with the kind of things that your heart and soul will revel in.
    Thank you for sharing your #WOTY—it nudged me to come up with mine too. So much has been going on at my end, that blogging has suddenly taken a back seat.
    I’ve come up with a few words in mind for this year. Need to finalise THE one! Will be sharing in a blogpost soon. 🙂

  3. Soft. It evokes a tender emotion that is most needed in today’s harsh world. It’s a beautiful word, Shinjini.
    I didn’t come up with a WOTY this year. But, self-love is my motto for the year. I needed it after being quite harsh with myself, and entertaining self-doubt, anxiety and criticism when things didn’t work out well earlier. So, now I am focusing on myself, and finding joy in writing and art, refraining from comparing myself with others and simply enjoying my journey.

  4. So beautiful, Shinjini. Last year I read a book called ‘Try Softer’ that really appealed to me. It’s got a Christian bent or else I would have suggested it to you. With my word too, I’m trying to be gentler with myself, as Shilpa mentioned in her comment here.

  5. I have not chosen a word for the year yet, I don’t know if I will. Soft is a brilliant word. My name means that and I hope I am able to embrace softness this year too.

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