I think we all struggle to some extent with self-love. I think we are often taught that loving yourself is not a good thing and that loving yourself is thinking you are better than others. True self-love is not an ego trip. It is simply allowing yourself to be who you are, accepting all the bits and pieces that make you real.
I did not have much in the way of self-love as a child and young woman. I was raised not to make waves, to be quiet and keep what I thought and my opinions to myself. I really didn’t allow myself to be me. I did whatever I could to be like everyone else, to fit in. When I realized I wasn’t ever going to be like everyone else there was some serious rebellion that happened. That didn’t work either. I was miserable.
I didn’t like myself. I certainly didn’t love myself. What I did know was that things had to change. It took time, a lot of work and tears…and a good bit of laughter. I learned that I am a little different in some ways and a lot different in others and it’s okay. I am not worthless. I am a good person.
This week while pondering self-love I realized I still have times when I really don’t love myself. Those are the days when I tell myself lies about myself. I tell myself I am stupid, ugly, have no talent, no friends, no one cares about me…all lies! This kind of thinking doesn’t happen often and when it does it is usually when I am not feeling well and dealing with chronic issues that are troublesome and tiring. Of course, this is when self-love is most needed and is most often denied.
I didn’t think I had a mantra but while pondering self-love I realized I do have one. When I start telling myself lies about myself I look in the mirror and say;
You are who you are and that is something to celebrate. The little part of the world you inhabit needs you. Go be who you are and do what only you can do. That is why You are here.
Niki at The Richness of a Simple Life has her Kindness Challenge for 2017 up and ready to go. For seven weeks there will be a kindness challenge for the week. Niki will give a prompt and some thoughts to help get us thinking. The first three weeks the prompts will be with the inward focus of self-kindness and the following four will be outward, focusing on others and how we relate to them with kindness.
My intention in doing this challenge is simply to be more aware of the where, what, when, why, who, and how of kindness in my life. I know I am not unkind but I am often unthoughtful or absent to the kindness needed around me. I sometimes allow busyness or laziness to excuse my inattention of those around me. They may be friends or acquaintances who would benefit from kind attention from me or perhaps there is someone I don’t know personally but know of who needs kindness shared with them.
I participated in last year’s Kindness Challenge and it was something of a challenge…I wasn’t always comfortable with what I was being made aware of but it was worth a little discomfort to be given some insight to who I am and how to become a better me.
See you later in the week with my response to the first week’s prompt…Self-love.
There are many in my life who are kind but there are three women who truly inspire me
to be kinder because they are examples of kindness in action.
I have seen and heard of their loving kindness in action countless times.
Often I am the recipient of their love and kindness.
These women have servant’s hearts.
They see a need and they do what they can to meet it.
When asked for help they are ready and willing to give in any way they can.
Most often they help without being asked.
They just show up when and where there is a need.
They serve people they know well and people who are strangers.
Each one of these women came into my life at a different time.
They came with gifts to share; gifts I needed at that time.
They inspire me to become more of a servant, more loving, and kinder.
To have one such friend is a blessing to have three is a miracle of blessings!
Several years ago I began focusing on gratitude in my daily life. I determined that I would be thankful every day. Believe me, when I say that some days it was hard to be thankful. And still there are days I feel less than thankful. But I have learned to take some time throughout the day to really think about what is happening in my little bit of the world, perhaps for just a minute or two then the day goes on as it will. That minute or two can be what keeps me from losing my temper, being frustrated, feeling depressed or sad, seeing only the negative and not recognizing the blessings that are all around me.
My daily mantra is Psalm 118:24 “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it”. It is part of my morning prayers every morning. Some days I don’t feel like rejoicing and I am not glad but I pray it anyway. Before I go to bed I pray again thankful that I had another day and there is always something in the day that gave me joy. Admittedly, some nights I have to search for that one thing but joy is there. Always.
You may think this week’s challenge was not challenging for me but it was. So often I take for granted the kindness and goodness of those around me. Sadly, sometimes I just don’t notice it. There is lots of room for improvement in this woman and I am working on it.
Click on the links above to read about the Kindness Challenge and Tuesday Chatter.
This week we were challenged to be kind. You would think being kind wouldn’t be a challenge but if you think about it sometimes it is. It takes thought,time and effort to extend kindness.
One of the kind things I do is take food to folks in my building. I am not much for fixing a meal and having people over but when I cook or bake there is always more than enough to share so I take some to a neighbor. They don’t have to be elderly, sick, out of work or needy in some way I just randomly share. Mostly it’s with people I know but if I hear of someone I don’t know who needs help I will take them something. This is something I do on a regular basis.
I occasionally leave flowers at someone’s door with a note. I often don’t sign the note with the flowers, just leave them anonymously. This can be tricky. Seems some people are suspicious if they get flowers for no reason and don’t know who they are from and don’t like it.
As for things it seems I don’t do often I have worked on a couple this week. One thing is taking for granted when someone does their job. I do this a lot. This week I tried my best to remember to say please and thank you. Really we don’t hear those words enough in the workplace and I am one who is guilty of forgetting them.
I also tend not to call customer service people by their name or engage them in any conversation. I have shopped at the same grocery store for years and have never said more than hello, yes, no, thank you and bye to any of the cashiers. Weird when I think about it. I am trying to do better and did talk to Samantha for a minute the other day.
So, there you are. At home, I do okay but I guess I tend to be a bit unconscious when out and about. Going to have to work on it.
This week of the Kindness Challenge we were to think kind thoughts and act/react with kindness. I found that I can act with kindness pretty easily but less so in reacting. I see someone that needs something I usually will do what I can to help. Not always but usually. Reacting with kindness is a bit more difficult. I tend to react quickly without thought. I have a temper that I control quite well. Or so I thought. I learned that I may not “lose” my temper but I do shut down and turn away if something isn’t going the way I think it should. This surprised me. Not very kind! That brings me to the thinking kind thoughts.
Well, seems it’s the temper thing again. Maybe it was just an off week? I had to work at thinking kindly. Not all the time but there were a couple of times when my first thoughts were not kind and I had to change the way I was thinking before I could respond in a kind way.
So where does this leave me? I think I am basically kind but need to be more conscious of my thought patterns. This week’s challenge has made me aware that I am less kind than I thought I was. Not so much unkind as insensitive. This week was a good wake up call.