Here we are in Week Four of the second annual Hate-Loss Challenge. In this final week, you have the option of choosing one, or both of the following exercises.
Option One: Pay It Forward
When we’re feeling particularly down about our looks, our lives, or our past, we can easily become self-absorbed by those feelings. We lose perspective on the fact that there are people within our reach who love us and need our love as well. Reaching out to others is a wonderful way to help build self esteem. Can you remember a day when a perfect stranger passed you by and stopped long enough to say how much they admired your scarf? Your hair? Your smile? Think about how that simple gesture made you feel. Perhaps you walked a little taller, a little prouder that day. You can achieve that same feeling by engaging in acts of kindness towards others. Random acts of kindness not only boosts the self esteem of others, but it also gives us a sense of purpose and a different perspective on life. By showing kindness towards others, we become more open to acts of consideration towards us. The world feels a bit brighter; a bit better place to live.
According to Mental Health America, ‘Research indicates that those who consistently help other people experience less depression, greater calm, fewer pains and better health. They may even live longer. Doing good can make you feel good. It might remind you that you’re relatively lucky; make you feel connected to others; help you feel needed; take your mind off your own worries for a while, and add a sense of purpose to your life.’
Exercise for the Week: Show a stranger a random act of kindness and then write about it. How did it make you feel knowing that you stepped in to make someone’s life a bit easier? How did that person react?
By making yourself acute to your surroundings this week, you’ll most likely have several opportunities to make a difference in someone’s life. You can choose a simple act of holding the door for a new mother trying to maneuver her stroller into a store, or paying a compliment to a passerby on his or her outfit. If you want to go a bit bigger with this exercise, you might buy that cup of coffee for the person standing in line behind you at your local café hangout, help an elderly person find his or her car in a parking lot, or take a stuffed animal to your local hospital and leave it for a child in need. No matter what you do, embrace the feeling you will get in knowing that you’re making someone else’s life better – even if it’s only for a moment. That is a major self esteem-booster.
Quote for the Week:
No kindness, however small, is ever wasted.
Option Two: Put yourself first
This is an alternative exercise for those innate nurturers out there. Chances are, you already do random acts of kindness every day and rarely put yourself first. According to a very good article in Ladies Home Journal, ‘in failing to put our own needs first, we hope or assume others will give to us as we give to them.’ But all too often, when our expectations aren’t met we’re left feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, depressed, resentful and burned out. These feelings often come from guilt; we convince ourselves that we’re unworthy. It is imperative that you take care of yourself and your own needs, not only for your emotional health but for your physical health as well. ‘Freedom and joy come from simple, single acts of healthy selfishness, and each act feeds the next until suddenly you discover that you are living the honest and satisfying life you always dreamed of.’
Your exercise is to pay an act of kindness to yourself and then write about it. What did you choose to do? How did it make you feel afterwards? Lovingly treat yourself to something you’ve been putting off, or wouldn’t normally consider. Maybe you’ve been wanting a manicure or pedicure. Arrange for some alone-time and grab yourself a glass of wine and a good book. Get a facial, or a new haircut. Light some candles, put on some relaxing music and take a hot bubble bath. Whatever you decide to do, just be good to yourself, because you deserve it. When you begin realizing your own self worth and make a point to regularly act upon it, your self esteem will only continue to grow.
Quote of the Week:
Be the change you want to see in the world.
I hope this exercise proves to be challenging in a fun way. You’ve all worked SO hard this month, I wanted to end this last exercise on a good note with the simple reminder that life is tough enough; if we have the opportunity to make one person’s life a bit easier – even if that person is ourselves – it will surely change the way we see the world. These are great exercises to practice as often as you are able.
Finally, discuss how your daily affirmations are going. Are you noticing a change within yourself? Are some words becoming easier in this third week?
Thanks to you all for your inspiration, continuing support and unconditional love. Have a good week and I’ll see you back here on Thursday for group therapy.