Hate-Loss Challenge: A Piece of You

 

hatelossbadge

When I came home from the hospital after my hysterectomy last year, I felt pretty beat up.  I could barely walk, slept very little, and had a 4 inch incision across my lower abdomen which was terribly sore and swollen.  As the days slowly worked their way into weeks, I felt less and less happy with my body.  It felt like someone had swapped my formerly healthy self with a broken, scarred, slow-moving half-wit.

Wanting to see the person I had previously known in the mirror, I made several attempts to put on makeup and do my hair, but it just wasn’t in me.  Showering took so much effort, it was all I could manage to do. Because I moved so slowly and became so tired after my showers I stepped out, wrapped myself in a towel and immediately sat down on a nearby chair until I mustered enough energy to put on some clothes.  I did however give myself a gift during that time. While sitting on that chair I tended to my feet which, under normal circumstances I would have likely neglected as I usually did. 

I’ve never particularly liked my feet and since they are the farthest parts from me, I honestly forget about them a lot of the time.  But during that first month post-surgery I lovingly dried each toe, softened my heels with lotion, trimmed and filed my nails and even put cuticle oil on them.  Later, when I could reach for a longer period of time I’d put on a pretty coat of nail polish.

By the time I started feeling stronger, my feet looked better than they ever had in my life and honestly, I was quite proud of them. Every time I looked down at my swollen belly, I couldn’t help but look past to see my two feet staring back at me; it somehow made me feel better about myself. Who would have thought that by doing one small thing: attending to my clown feet (endearing term, isn’t it?), I could improve my overall attitude? 

 

Most of us know this already but it bears repeating:   when low self esteem finds a place to settle in our lives it doesn’t come alone.  It welcomes all kinds of ‘friends’ along like depression, mood swings, eating disorders, loneliness, withdrawal, anxiety, stress, and unhealthy relationships.

How do we go from having a low opinion of ourselves to being in control of our thoughts and emotions and feeling genuinely happy? It can be done but it takes discipline, just like anything else that’s worth having in life.

 

This week’s challenge:  A Piece of You:  be kinder to your body

What part of you have YOU been neglecting lately?

Challenge:  Spend the week tending to a part of the remarkable body that serves you. Beginning today, choose a part of your body that you’ve been dismissing or have been neglectful of and pay special attention to that area for the next week by nurturing it every day.

Why this exercise is meaningful: We are just as beautiful as the people we admire. We are worthy of the same nurturing love and affection that we give to others. By concentrating on a specific area of our bodies and treating it with compassion and kindness, we realize that our body is not our enemy but something amazing and worthy of gratitude and appreciation.

Examples: Do you have hands that always seem to be dry? Heels that are always cracked?   Do you tend to care for your hair or always pull it back into a ponytail or hide it under a hat? Do you splash water on your face at night or do you gently cleanse and moisturize?  When we feel unhappy about our looks, sometimes it’s easy to ‘unplug’ from our bodies and ignore everything but the basics. We simply don’t want to be reminded of the areas we dislike. The trouble with this concept is that when one area suffers, others can suffer as well which can lead to a further lack of self confidence.  Work together with your body. Be compassionate and loving to it. It’s the only one of it’s kind.  

 

Helpful quotes for the week:

Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it.

~ Confucius

Beauty is not caused.  It is.

~ Emily Dickinson

Yours is the energy that makes your world. There are no limitations to the self except those you believe in.
~
Jane Roberts

 

This challenge will run until Wednesday night, January 16th.  We’ll discuss it next Thursday.  Some questions to consider for our discussion next week:

Which area did you choose to work on? Was it difficult to nurture yourself every day? What did you learn about yourself during this time? Did you grow more compassionate towards that area of your body and/or less critical of it? Were you able to see other parts of your body with more compassion?

NOTE:   If you haven’t posted about the Mirror Exercise yet, you can do that here at any time, but in order to entered into the drawing for Karen’s book, you’ll need to have it posted by Sunday night at Midnight EST.  A winner will be announced Monday morning!

Have a good weekend, everyone!

~Ellen 

13 thoughts on “Hate-Loss Challenge: A Piece of You

  1. KCLAnderson (Karen)

    This is going to sound crazy, but something I’ve recently realized is that I tend to rush through things like showers, washing my hair, my face, brushing my teeth, etc. I have made a conscious effort in the past couple of weeks to slooooow down and take more conscious/mindful time with these self-care tasks and it has made a difference. So rather than choose one part, I am going to continue to focus on this aspect. :-)

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      This is true, true, true. We never seem to take the time to really ‘care’ for ourselves. Doing so really does make a difference!

      Reply
  2. Brenda

    I’m finding by just focusing on that one body part for just 1 day so far, I’m also paying attention to other areas too (last night after focusing on my body part, I then decided to give myself a pedicure and paint my toenails, then dug out a toe ring I haven’t worn in YEARS..and my feet are not even close to being my chosen body part LOL)..

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      This is such a wonderful thing, Brenda. I am so grateful that you’re gathering such positive experiences from this. It makes this challenge so worthwhile to me. LOVE that you pulled out your toe ring :) I hope you’re in a climate where you can show it off. Mine would be buried under big, rubber boots right now!

      Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      I think this will be a good thing Hanlie – and I’m interested in seeing what others have to say about it, too. It really does seem to change our perception of our bodies when we focus on one part, rather than as a whole. Brings more compassion.

      Reply
  3. teresa

    I love what you wrote. I’m late with everything this week, but I’m going with feet too! I’ve been *kindof* taking better care of them, but not in a committed way. Plus, you made it sound so romantic, now I’m more into it!

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      You and I have discussed this before I think; sometime after my surgery. I knew then that this would be a good exercise to do and it really has made a difference in how I perceive myself as a whole. I hope it has the same effect on others.

      Reply
  4. Beth

    It’s so funny that you choose this exercise this week Ellen…one of my “resolutions” that I wanted to do this year was to take better care of myself. Put lotion on my feet, elbows, hands, pluck my eyebrows more often, shave my legs regularly (which I do NOT do in the winter! sorry if it’s TMI), wash the make-up off my face at night and put lotion on every night, etc.., etc… I thought, darn it, maybe I will feel bette about myself if I take better care of myself! I did pretty good the first week, but then I went back to work and the business and tiredness overcame me!! But you have encouraged me to get back into the swing…but maybe I shouldn’t do too much at once…maybe just one thing a week, and switch to something else the next week…hmmm, I have so many to choose from, I wonder which one I will pick?? You will have to wait until Thursday to find out…LOL

    Reply
  5. Brandi

    This is such a great exercise! I was just thinking about this the other day. Being apart of this challenge has caused so many feelings and thought to go thru my head. One of them was feeling pretty. Pampering myself with something whether it be painting my nails, or buying a pretty scarf. I painted my nails the other day and I haven’t done that in YEARS!
    I love Emily Dickinson’s quote.. “it just is”….
    I am going to stick with my hands this week.. I deal with so much paper that they stay dry. They get my full attention this week. :)
    Thanks Ellen!

    Reply
  6. Pingback: Looking at my hands. « Faith Fitness and Laughter

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