One little word® for 2023: embrace

As you know, this year started with some sad news for me and my family. My aunt passed away in January and it definitely rocked me to the core. I’ve been thinking a lot about my aunt and also about how my cousin and my mom are coping with this loss. Life is short, so very short.

Last year, my word was ‘FORWARD’. I desperately wanted 2022 to be different than the year before and I feel that in a lot of ways, 2022 delivered. We slowly but surely returned to a sense of normalcy, and while I remained very cautious, I was able to finally see my family again, and that for me was a HUGE step forward.

I’ve shared previously that I don’t have a process for how I come up with my word for the year. Somehow, a word always presents itself. And it did again this time.

My word for 2023 will be EMBRACE.

em·brace | /ɪmˈbɹeɪs/

  • hold (someone) closely in one’s arms: HUG
  • accept or support (a belief, theory, or change) willingly and enthusiastically
  • to avail oneself of: WELCOME
  • to take in or include as a part, item, or element of a more inclusive whole

I love the versatility of this word and how it can mean many different things in many different contexts. It popped into my head repeatedly in the last few months, most recently when I learned of my aunt’s passing. So, it seemed like the right choice for 2023.

Here’s how I will apply it:

I want to embrace grief and cherish the good memories that I have of my aunt. It’s been strange to grieve from afar and I’ve been grappling a little bit with the fact that I am so incredibly far away from everyone right now, but I am trying to sit with the emotions.

I want to embrace every single moment of this year. I talked about time perception before and how wildly different time can feel. Sometimes, a minute can feel like an hour, sometimes a whole week disappears in a blink of an eye. I want to work hard on this time perception thing; to make things slow down and moments last longer (yes, even the uncomfortable ones). Easier said than done.

I want to fully embrace the time that I hope to spend with family and friends this year. I know time together is so very precious and we never know how much more time we have.

I want to embrace new adventures and opportunities. Sometimes I can get pretty “complacent” in my day-to-day life, but I never regret getting a little bit out of my comfort zone.

I will strive to embrace who I am and prioritize what I feel is right for me. It’s so easy to be pulled into the comparison game and to think that you want what other people have or do, but if you listen closely to your own heart, deep down inside you’ll know what truly makes YOU happy. I want to do that.

Quite frankly, I want to embrace (= hug) people. People, I haven’t seen in a long time. People I don’t see often enough. Friends that I haven’t even met yet.

What’s your word for 2023?

Here are the words I picked in 2015, 201620172018201920202021, and 2022.

  1. I’m so sorry about your aunt :( It’s so hard to grieve when you are overseas and away from family. Something similar happened to me when I lived in Rome and I really struggled. So sending you lots of love <3

    This is a great word and I love your intent with is! Time does move to fast and it's so easy to waste it away!

    I don't have a word for 2023 but am really focusing on my health.

  2. I love this. I’m very guilty of living for the future instead of the present, and I’m coming to realize that I need to embrace and appreciate the good parts of what I have now.

    I predict good things for you in 2023!

  3. I am so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine how hard it is to be so far from your people but am so glad that technology has so many ways to stay connected, right? I love that word and how well-rounded your connection with it is – it really is enveloping so many aspects of the year. My word is “steady” because I feel like I’ve been living in a reactive way (caretaking, pandemic, injury, etc.) and I want to grow steadiness in my habits, emotions, and approaches…

  4. I love this, San! What a great word.

    My word last year was “light,” and this year I haven’t ever really settled on it but I think it is “consistent.”

  5. Once again, I’m so sorry for your loss, my friend <3

    I haven't chosen a word of the year for a while. The only time I officially did this I chose the word Simplify. Last year I made the intention to "Be Kind". To be honest, I mostly forgot about this as a year-long mantra (I mean, I tried to be kind and think I was…but I'm not convinced having it as a mantra did much).

    In 2022, I'm aiming to pick words for a week at a time, but only occasionally. The timing of your post could not have been better; last week was intense and I'm just starting a week of vacation but with some emotional "baggage". I'm now am craving a word for my week off.


    Or maybe I'll should just outright copy you and pick Embrace? What a great word with so many layers.

  6. Such a great word, I hope you have a great year embracing!!

  7. I love this so much, San. Every word you have written really resonates with me. I too have had some losses in the past year and grief is such a difficult thing. Processing it and sitting with the emotions is very difficult.
    I am here with you on new adventures and embracing who we are, embracing our time on this earth. I think I have gotten into a bit of a rut with the pandemic, and it’s time to spread my wings and really get out there and do new things!
    Thanks for writing such a great post!

  8. I love this choice and all your reasons behind it. Life is so very short, and I’m trying my best to be more present too.

  9. This is a perfect word

  10. I chose to not have a word of the year this year. I’ve picked on each year since 2011 but this year no more. I don’t know how I’m going to be doing things I guess, but I’m cool with that. However I like your word Embrace and the reasoning behind choosing it.

  11. I really, really love this word for you and all of the thought you’ve put into it and the meaning behind it. I chose three, like a mantra: “Mindfulness, motivation, manifesting.”

  12. This is a wonderful word and I can’t wait to see how it manifests for you throughout this year.

    Starting the year with a sudden, impactful loss is really, really difficult. I am so sorry you are going through this. <3

    I don't pick a word of the year. I'm more into annual goals to conquer. But if I had to think about the theme I'm looking for this year, it's probably something like openness. I want to make some changes in my life and it's going to take a willingness to be open to what that will look like.

  13. You picked a great word! I love how it has multiple different meanings!

    I picked connection as my word last year because I wanted to make sure I was connecting with people after going off social media in Dec 2021. This year I don’t feel drawn to anything in particular so I decided not to force it. So it’s a wordless year for me. Maybe next year I will feel drawn to something!

  14. So beautiful. What a wonderful word. Even though it born from grieve. It has so much meaning and potential for goodness. Whiting you that you can embrace all those moments, memories and ideas and of course the whole of 2023.

Comments are closed.