This was Week One of the The Kindness Challenge, hosted by The Richness of a Simple Life.
The focus of Week One was Self Kindness.
Have you ever heard of the saying that “you have to love yourself before others can love you“? You have to love and accept yourself for who you are before you can expect for someone else to do so. Part of loving yourself is being kind to yourself.
The Exercise to go along with this week’s challenge was to pick at least one of the following suggested exercises.
- Think about something you’re grateful for
- Tell yourself something that you love about yourself
- Read an inspirational quote first thing in the morning
- Wake up and think about 10 beautiful things in your life
- Do something nice for yourself
- Dedicate some time to yourself
- Give yourself a break
- Think of 5 good things for every negative thought
- Come up with your own self-kindness exercise
I chose three to focus on during the week, which was kind of cheating, because I’d already added two items to my daily life the week before.
Dedicate some time to yourself
Think about something you’re grateful for, and
Tell yourself something that you love about yourself.
A week prior, on May 1st, I’d already decided to begin each day with some meditation time and writing what I’m thankful for in my journal. When I’d realized how much I’d slipped and how infrequently I spent this valued ‘me’ time over the past two years, I knew I had to make a conscious effort to start the practice again.
I knew (from my own experience over the past few years) that if I got up and started in on the day’s activities, I’d never sit back down and use this time of reflection. Starting out a new month, I began going to bed an hour earlier and getting up an hour earlier to spend a quiet hour in my writing room. This dovetailed perfectly with the activities of dedicating time to myself and thinking about what I was grateful for.
Since those two items were already being incorporated into my life, I added in the part about telling myself something that I love about myself.
Easy, peasy. Right?
Ummmm…not so much.
Monday morning started out just fine. I listened to a thirty minute guided meditation by Jennifer Farmer, a Super Hero meditation. Check.
Then I journaled a list of things I was thankful for. Check.
I came to a screeching halt when it came time to tell myself something that I love about myself. I had a tough time with that. At the end of the week, I’m still struggling with that one.
I have no problems telling others what I see and admire in them. I feel that I’m a great cheerleader…when it comes to encouraging other people. Finding good qualities in myself is not as easy to do.
I discovered another glitch in the week. While listening to the Super Hero meditation, there were three affirmations in it.
–I love and appreciate myself.
–I have compassion for myself and others.
–I forgive myself and others.
When I heard the first, I thought ‘Ah ha! This is perfect for this first week of being kind and gentle with myself.’ The next two confirmed it.
But later that day a memory surfaced. A memory from my senior year in high school. 1976. Something that I realized I’d never forgiven myself for. Forty years later.
This is what another one of my mentors, Michelle Barr, calls ‘your stuff coming up’. In order to heal and move on, ‘stuff’ surfaces, things that hold you back, things that you’ve never dealt with. And I realize that there’s still some work I need to do. I need to show myself compassion and forgive myself for many things (more than just the incident from 1976).
Whew! I didn’t think this Kindness Challenge was going to challenge me like this. I thought all I’d have to do is show a little extra kindness to others in my life over the next seven weeks. I didn’t expect it to come with a dose of soul searching and contemplation.
Thus, I wrap up the first week. But I don’t think this week is truly over. I’m going to have to work on this one for a little while.