My Word of the Year for 2014


So, like many of you, I choose a word of the year to guide each year.

Its been interesting to observe that process time and I’ve noticed something happen over the years.

When I pick a pretty word, a gentle one that warms my heart, that feels calming to say aloud….I have a gentle year (which is usually oh so appreciated).

But when I pick a word that feels deeply uncomfortable to say aloud, let alone write about in a blog post, those are the words that change my life.  Those are the words that I need to choose to make transformations happen.

The words that have done this for me over the years are:

Thrive (I know it sounds gentle but nope….to learn to thrive we end up dealing with the ways we are only just surviving).

Confidence (yup, that was one of the words that was hard to say aloud).

Confidence was the word I chose in 2012 and like with all of these more uncomfortable words, I feel like they actually take 2 years to really manifest the greatest effects.  Confidence felt like it was getting to the core of what I most wanted to change in my life.   While it has been mighty tough exploring confidence, I look at the past 2 years and see how much has changed within my body image and self-love as well as my business.

So it seems as though every 2 years I’m ready for a get-you-in-the-gut word and my word appeared in September, but it has actually taken me this long to really acknowledge that it is the guiding word.

Because its a big one.  Because its uncomfortable to say.  Because it might be the thing I most need to address in my life.

Are you ready for it?


I realized it this fall at the Wise Bodies, Wise Hungers retreat led by Anna Guest-Jelley and Rachel Cole.  I had taken one of Rachel’s Retreatshops in the summer in Vancouver and at the retreatshop, I had gotten clarity that I was hungry for Love (which was no surprise).  But after the retreatshop I took all those realizations and safely tucked them away, not really thinking about them much until I was sitting in a circle on the wood floor of the Green Gulch Zen Center for Wise Bodies, Wise Hungers and Rachel asked it again.  It was like I opened the book where I had written all that emotion and had shut it tightly until that moment.

Except this time I saw what was underneath the hunger to be loved and to love.  It was the hunger to feel worthy of love.  To not just feel like I would be worthy of it (or any good things that might happen in my life) once I achieved something or had healed certain emotions.  That I was worthy of it today, without doing anything to change, or improve.  

Because we are all inherently worthy of love, just as we are.

I always want these guiding words to be a part of my personal and business journey too and this one, oh heck yes it speaks to them both.  I briefly mentioned in the ‘Behind the Scenes‘ post that I had an exciting week this fall where I had a great call with a publisher and was full of hope.  I also felt worthy (which felt really foreign).  I saw my work with Be Your Own Beloved as worthy of being in book form.  So when that fell through, I was left holding that worthiness in my hands and wondering what to do with it.

Should I let go of that feeling of being worthy of something good to happen?

Am I only worthy if I have the approval of others?

Or, like this journey of self-love, is worthiness something that I get to bestow upon myself? 

I also want to unravel the places where I have been seeking worthiness.  Where I have been expressing my hunger for this worthiness.  Like feeling worthy of buying things.  Feeling worthy or unworthy in my relationship to food.  This is the way these ‘words of the year’ tend to work for me.  Of noticing where there is work to do around that word in order to get to the healing part of it.

To be totally honest, I also hope and want to step into what confidence has taught me and really explore what if I lived from a place of worthiness, not unworthiness?  I feel like these years of confidence have really got me to that transition point, ready to step away from living from a place of unworthiness and into a new story, a new experience.

This feels like the wild unknown.

Like the unspoken under it all.

Like one of the core layers of healing work in this lifetime for me.

I just have to pause and say how grateful I am for the work Rachel Cole puts out in the world.  I wouldn’t have found my way to this word, to being ready to unravel my unworthiness and to build a new relationship to it without her incredibly unique approach.

So, have you found your word for the year yet?  I know its kind of early and I don’t usually have mine by this point in the year, but I wanted to speak this one aloud before I could tuck it away in my back pocket again.  

If you do have a word, or a few you are pondering, I’d love to know!  Are you craving a gentle word this year or an earth-shaking one?

  • rachael maddoxDecember 2, 2013 - 10:44 am

    beautiful, viv. you are an immense bucket of love and magic. so thankful for you.

    my word(s) this year: no expectations. meep!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda @ Click. The Good NewsDecember 2, 2013 - 11:09 am

    Love it Viv- sounds so perfect for you 🙂

    I’m tossing around a few, but keep coming back to “wonder” It’s such a loaded word for me- As in awe, gratitude, admiration, mindfulness, curiosity, miracle, reflect, ponder & so much more.ReplyCancel

  • DebraDecember 2, 2013 - 11:42 am

    Sweet Viv, this hits me like a punch in the gut of the very best kind.

    “to learn to thrive we end up dealing with the ways we are only just surviving” YES!! I’m putting Thrive squarely in the running for my 2014 word.

    As for you, I so hope that 2014 brings you to peace in your absolute innate worthiness. xoxoReplyCancel

  • alexis yaelDecember 2, 2013 - 12:10 pm

    Oh, worthy, yes you are… so much. Much love. That’s a strong word. Whew!

    Mine for this year was expand (and yes, I did and yes, wow). The year before was believe (and yes, I did and yes, wow).

    I’ve been looking for my new word this week (I generally choose one on my birthday, which is this Wednesday, and announce it the next day). So, far I’ve got a few I’m drawn to but I think one has been working its way into my life. I’ll make a decision on my birthday.ReplyCancel

  • pippa @storyofmumDecember 2, 2013 - 12:18 pm

    I haven’t ever managed to choose just one word for a year. Last year I managed to focus on 4 qualities, which is a start! And in each weekly yoga class, I hear 2 new words that ground me for that day and week (one at the head, and one at the heart, like beautiful gifts that centre me), but I love the idea of being stronger in my over-arching choice for 2014. I have no idea what my word will be right now, but I shall start mulling… Funnily enough, as I write this, and think of the wonderful time I had with you and Anna in Practice, I wonder if my word might be SEEN. And oh my goodness, that scares me. Well, we shall see! (PS although of course you have no need of external affirmation, I think your work is more than worthy of a book, and you are most definitely worthy of love) xxReplyCancel

  • Lelainia LloydDecember 2, 2013 - 1:23 pm

    My word for 2013 was “focus”. It really helped me carve out a path that moved me more into doing things I was passionate about and away from things I felt more or less “meh” about. Time is precious and I wanted my year to be focussed on doing things that were important to me. It meant making room for opportunities to do more awareness/advocacy/education work around health, which I love doing. It’s given me the opportunity to work more closely with the UBC faculty of medicine and to have a direct impact on the future of health care.

    I am pretty proud of myself for learning to say NO to the things that don’t fire my spirit so that I have room to say YES to those things that do. That’s HUGE.

    Not sure what 2014’s word is yet. Still mulling it over.ReplyCancel

  • Susan LustenbergerDecember 2, 2013 - 1:26 pm

    As this year comes to a close for me, I want to share with you that YOU have been THE MOST INSPIRING person to me this year and I deeply Thank you!
    I have taken your Beloved course and checked in with fb, flicker and your site constantly. You make this world a magical place Vivienne!
    For Christmas both my daughters 11 and 12 are getting little cameras and your beloved course. They watched as I did mine and now I catch them playing “be your own beloved” How fabulous is that!!!!!!! I mean MAGIC!!!
    My deepest thanks,
    Susan LustenbergerReplyCancel

    • PryraDecember 26, 2014 - 11:05 am

      I was already inspired by seeking a word of the year by you last year… but this year the word just hit me, a few weeks ago. it is being “connected”.
      and within the last days a 2nd one showed up, more personally for me: clarity. it just makes me standing straight (for myself) when I think of it 🙂
      thanks for your “worthy” inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • Alison MiyakeDecember 2, 2013 - 3:36 pm

    Oh, Vivienne! I saw love you and your way with words. I feel so much connection with you and what you write here. I totally get how thrive would be challenging. And I like Alexis’ word “expand”, too! Wow, whole new perspective. Mine this year was “let go” and I am so far from finished. Right now my house is so full of clutter and I will literally be spending this month examining why there are so many things that I can’t seem to let go of. When I started the year, it was all about letting go of old images of me and old patterns of interacting. Think you have helped me a lot on that path! I don’t think I am ready for “worthy” yet, but I am going to be cheering you on. And following along to see what I can learn from you.
    P.S. I so would love to see you publish your book!! I want it already… (hope it includes lots of photos, I think the photos can convey a special depth to the words.)ReplyCancel

  • CassiaDecember 2, 2013 - 8:28 pm

    Love this. I too struggle with this issue of worth. In October I was speaking with an awesome spiritual teacher and she simply looked at me and said “you are worthy simply by being, we all are”. She went on to discuss a buddhist(?) parable regarding a bird with two wings. One being self effort(deservedness), one being grace(worthiness). If we’re always trying to earn(self effort) our way places we’ll just go round and round, for true balance, to properly fly we need to add that grace(worthiness) to the equation.
    Looking forward to seeing you soar even higher than you already do:)ReplyCancel

  • ZerDecember 3, 2013 - 11:37 am

    Hey Vivienne,
    You have inspired me to choose my own word for next year, and to make it official I wrote a post about it… When are you coming to Texas again? 🙂ReplyCancel

  • LoriDecember 3, 2013 - 12:23 pm

    I crazy love this post, Vivienne. <3ReplyCancel

  • sheri stewartDecember 4, 2013 - 6:13 am

    This will be a tough one for me Viv. I love reading your posts. WOW-WORTHINESS!
    that is an all encompassing word for me, for although i do feel worthy of some things, most I do not. my word this year was LIVE TRUE. It has been fun to use it daily as my mantra because i tend to have the ability to be a weeee bit naughty like most people!!! So I will ponder this thought and look forward to more classes with you in 2014. Gonna keep my live true mantra and just add a new one each year.ReplyCancel

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  • AileenDecember 10, 2013 - 11:06 am

    Hi Vivienne… you are so worthy and it is something I can feel and see by reading your blogs. I have a few words–TALENT, INTENT & PURPOSE, COURAGE, CONFIDENCE. Haven’t done this before but I have had a variety of different words throughout the year which have guided me. Most of the time I incorporate these words in my art journal and I believe I will pick one for 2014. I have to think on this and will let you know. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • CarolynnDecember 15, 2013 - 8:17 am

    I haven’t had a gentle word for a while now. It can feel exhausting, if I let it. That said, it also feels like the Universe isn’t willing to let me lounge around in my life anymore and is giving me a bit of tough love. My word for 2013 has been Courage. Like you, my words touch on all the areas of my life. The word that has presented itself to me for 2014 is equally challenging and, like my current word, I know it will take me places yet undreamed of. It’s Persevere. Scary.

    An interesting side note, I feel compelled to acknowledge. I’d never heard of Rachel Cole until a month or so ago and now she’s popping up in my vision everywhere I go. Something to notice and explore.

    Thank you for this wonderful post.

  • […] see the story of a little bicycle and lessons on Confidence that she learned through it.  I see the woman standing behind an altar of flowers learning to acknowledge her hungers and I see a woman in a LOVE dress dancing freely who has worked really hard this year on her […]ReplyCancel

  • Robin Maria PedreroDecember 21, 2013 - 3:44 am

    I love this post! I am sharing a link to it in my closing newsletter for 2013. I think it really makes a difference.ReplyCancel

  • GloriaDecember 24, 2013 - 12:31 pm

    Thanks for this post, Vivienne! My word for 2014 is COURAGE.ReplyCancel

  • B.ReneeDecember 27, 2013 - 1:21 pm

    I saw this from Robins post. I love it. What a great read. Thank you for sharing. I’ve never thought of a word for the year. Something to think about.ReplyCancel

  • […] I was a little skeptical at how cliché it sounded, but after a little more research (this post really did the trick), I’ve decided to give it a try for […]ReplyCancel

  • […]  Worthy: My Word of the Year for 2014 […]ReplyCancel

  • […] this is my year of ‘Worthiness‘ and what a better way to clearly establish that I get to define my own worthiness than […]ReplyCancel

  • Mary Sara P.January 2, 2014 - 5:03 pm

    You are so worthy. I also agree about the two years as well. My word for 2014 is Focus.ReplyCancel

  • KimberlyJanuary 3, 2014 - 3:21 pm

    What a lovely post 🙂 My word for 2014 is Brilliance.ReplyCancel

  • PattiJanuary 3, 2014 - 8:09 pm

    Love this post, Viv. Have I told you lately how inspiring you are? Viv, you Inspire me sooo!ReplyCancel

  • […] decided on worthy. Mara picked receive. Ali selected thrive. And Sas chose […]ReplyCancel

  • Meegan @redstar5January 8, 2014 - 3:59 pm

    I came here to your blog in search of app suggestions for my iPhone and I stumble across this post about your word of the year and am amazed that 2014 will be the year of Worthy for both of us. I choose my word for 2014 on December 29th feeling many of the same things you share in your post. I’m so looking forward to exploring self-portraits as a brilliant way to find more worthiness this year. (in myself that is). Thanks again for your inspiration in so many ways!ReplyCancel

  • […] THRIVE is about making a move away from the status quo. In fact, THRIVE came to me when I read this post from Vivienne McMaster. She speaks about the year that she had chosen THRIVE, saying “to […]ReplyCancel

  • StasiaNovember 3, 2014 - 6:56 pm

    Oh, I just LOVE this post! I too had/have a word for 2014… and my word was value. I’ve long had a rough relationship with money, and thought for a good part of my life that my personal value was directly correlated with the dollar amount found in my bank account. And since that was most often ZERO… well, I felt kind of like a ZERO. I thought my personal value was linked to my statement balance! Being a new entrepreneur, trying to charge for my services, was NOT EASY since I didn’t value my ME-ness. And do you know what happened this year?? Financially, my world fell to pieces. It didn’t get better. It got WAY WORSE! In my mind, I thought I would realize my value, charge a gajillion dollars for my service, and everything would be perfect. Instead, we had some major house, car and appliance problems – all at the same time – that rendered us more shit-ass broke than any other time in my entire life. WHAT?? But ohh, the lessons! I’m learning to truly see MY value, despite my despicable financial situation. I’m learning to feel tremendous abundance, despite my tremendous lack of financial wealth. And you know what… it’s like magic. And I do believe things are starting to shift. I think it will take time, and there is still more garbage for me to get through, but I think the worse is over. It’s almost time to choose my word for 2015, and I’m nervous as to what kind of shit-storm that’ll bring! 🙂 PS. I think you’re beautiful. xo Stasia (Sent here by a mutual friend – Tami Hackbarth!)ReplyCancel

  • […] My Word of the Year for 2014 from Be Your Own Beloved […]ReplyCancel

  • Barbara StoreyDecember 26, 2014 - 12:17 pm

    What an amazing word!! I love it.

    My word for 2015 is purpose – both the noun and the verb form. I purpose to pursue my purpose in life with gusto! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Laura@Ms Smartie PantsDecember 31, 2014 - 1:45 pm

    It is amazing the difference in how we see people and how they see themselves! It’s so hard to hear you say you need to work on worthiness because all that I see in you is brilliant, full of life and love but if you don’t see that it doesn’t really matter what I see. You need to know it for yourself! That is my prayer for you! (Need I say I do get it tho, we are all like that, we don’t feel and see what others can) My word is stretch, I actually don’t like the sound of the word and so I am struggling with it but that in itself will be good because I don’t think “stretch” is always going to be pretty. For me stretch works across the board, I want to physically stretch more but I mostly want to be mindful as I walk thru a day places where I can push just a little more to be kinder, to be more patient, to be more grateful, in everything I do, just try, stretch a bit more! Of course I won’t be able to do this 100% of the time but I want my word to help me keep my eyes open to ways that I can give more! Good luck to you and your word for 2015!ReplyCancel

  • […] I love the practice of picking a word each year and choosing it as a guidepost for the year. I learned about the practice from Ali Edwards and her One Little Word project and my one word of the year has felt like such a guidepost for the personal body image healing I’ve been doing these past few years. Words like Thrive, Confidence and last year’s word which was Worthiness. […]ReplyCancel