Tag Archives: Hate-Loss Challenge 2013

Group Therapy Thursday: Mirror Exercise Discussion

 

hatelossbadgeHappy Thursday everyone, and welcome to our first day of group therapy for the Hate-Loss Challenge.  Last week we all downloaded a copy of Karen Anderson’s Mirror Exercise.  Today, we’ll share our thoughts about it.  Also, I’d love to know how your Gratitude Jar challenge is coming along; can you believe we’re 9 days into it already? 

 

If I’d read through this exercise a couple of years ago I would have thought it too simple a task to really change any perception I had about myself.  Clearly, I knew nothing about mirror work. Having done quite a bit of self esteem exercises since then, I knew this was definitely going to be a challenge. We’re all so used to seeing our reflections, it’s easy to get disconnected from what’s staring back in the mirror unless we work on it regularly (which personally I haven’t since before my surgery last June). 

I have to say, I think it’s interesting that a couple of you opened your eyes and found your mother’s image in the mirror; fascinating.  Although this didn’t happen to me, I did have trouble carrying out the exercise the first several times I tried it.  Holding onto it and projecting that emotion while gazing at myself was the most difficult part. I was able to gather that warm, safe, powerful feeling deep inside, but when I opened my eyes I’d lose it immediately.   Last year at this time I was practicing mirror work every day and getting pretty comfortable doing it, actually.  In fact, I continued to do it long after the challenge was over but after surgery, I never really picked it back up.   It’s obvious to me how much one can regress in a few short months.  I’m now learning to accept this ‘new’ body which has been very challenging at times.  I am getting better at it, however as with any exercise – be it training for a half marathon or doing self-esteem work, it all takes practice and diligence in order to see progress.

Other than the exercise itself (to give you a chance to see where you are on the self-acceptance ladder in your life), I felt that it was equally important to understand what physically happens to our bodies when we neglect our mental health.  Physiologically, we react negatively to stress – specifically stress that we bring onto ourselves when we direct negative and harmful words inward.  We all have the ability to rid ourselves of this kind of self inflicted abuse.  We are all worthy of praise and love and acceptance, aren’t we?  It is well within our control to change the way we feel about ourselves.  I hope you’ll consider using this exercise or other kind of mirror work after today.  It really can make a difference.  

How did you do? 

Did you run into any obstacles when trying to complete this exercise?  If so, were you able to work around the obstacle in order to finish it?  What are your thoughts on the scientific explanation of why it’s so important to have a healthy attitude? 

Remember, Karen is giving away a copy of her book to a lucky participant and in order to enter you must comment in THIS post about your experience in doing the Mirror Exercise.  If you have a blog and write a post about today’s exercise, please link your post in the comments section below so that other group members can read and share their thoughts with you.  If you don’t own a blog, please use my comments section for this week’s update and you’ll be automatically entered for Karen’s book giveaway.  A winner will be announced at random on Monday, January 14th.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting our next exercise for discussion on Thursday, January 17th.  Thanks for participating everyone, and have a good session!

xo,

~Ellen

Welcome to Day One of Hate Loss 2013

Happy New Year, everyone – and WELCOME to Day One of the Annual Hate Loss Challenge. I am so glad you’re here!  Taking this first step to being attentive of the way you treat the most valuable person you know – YOU – is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. It is my hope that by the end of this month you’ll be well on your way to:

Being mindful, which will allow you to meet each moment with full awareness. 

Becoming more compassionate with yourself.   

Eliminating insecurities that are weighing you down by giving yourself the love and respect you deserve.

These may seem like trivial exercises at first but if you aren’t used to reinforcing the goodness within, they can be quite tricky to downright difficult to do.  Pick up any self help book or simply Google the words self-esteem and you’ll find study after study which proves that having a non-judgmental, appreciative opinion of yourself is crucial to your overall well being. 

To show my appreciation to everyone who completes the 31 Days of Gratitude and attends all of our group therapy Thursday sessions, you will be entered into a drawing to win an 8×10 print from one of my paintings:

 

I wrote a quote which reads: “I am both imperfect yet, perfect. My branches may bend and twist, but I am beautiful, still.”  I think this is a perfect reminder of what this challenge is all about.  If you’d like more information on this print, head over to my Etsy shop.  Please note that if you are interested in this drawing, you’ll need to officially enter your intention of committing to the challenge in the comments section of this post to be considered. It’s my way of keeping track of everyone Smile 

 

Thirty One Days of Gratitude begins today!

By now you should have your Gratitude Jar in place; by bedtime tonight you should have a slip of paper in your jar or container with a sentence or two about what you were thankful or grateful for today.  

For my gratitude container I decided to use a large flower vase I had in storage.  I dressed it up a bit with ribbon and a pine cone, and put it on my night stand, complete with a pen and note pad:

 

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There is only one rule for this exercise: Please try to remember to add to your gratitude jar daily. If you forget a day, no worries – just add when you can so that you get the most of what this challenge has to offer. Remember, you’re attempting to create a habit with the intention of enriching your life!   What you write this month is completely up to you, and there is no wrong answer.

What if you should have a day when nothing goes right and it’s been a completely awful, terrible, horrible I hope to never, ever have another day like this again! kind of day and you’re in such a state that you simply can’t get past it to be grateful for anything? Well, I have an answer for that, too!  Ask yourself this question before you write your moment of gratitude: 

What didn’t happen to me today? 

Answering that question will provide you with a moment of gratitude.  Right now I’ve got three things in mind that I could put into my gratitude jar:  a) I didn’t have to bathe my dogs today.  b) I didn’t spill any tea on my clean shirt today (something I do ALL of the time!) c) I didn’t come down with the cold that’s been going around today.  ALL things to be grateful/thankful for. 

Need more inspiration?  Here are some wonderful quotes on gratitude that I found which should totally put you in the mood for this exercise:

 

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” – Epictetus

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

- William Arthur Ward

“To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant. To enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch heaven.”  Johannes A. Gaertner

 

In addition to doing 31 Days of Gratitude, we will be working on self esteem throughout the month.  On Thursday, January 3rd, I’ll be posting information about our next exercise.   Don’t miss it! 

XO,

~Ellen

Keeping Promises

When I was around 6 years old my parents left for the weekend to visit some friends.  At first they hesitated leaving my 16 year old brother and 17 year old sister in charge of me, but ultimately left feeling fairly confident as my siblings assured them that I’d be in bed by 8 and that they would make sure the house was as neat as a pin upon their return. Little did Mom and Dad know that those promises were code for Ellen will be in bed by 8 because we don’t want her in the way when our friends come over and, the house will be neat as a pin because we’ll have some major cleaning to do so you never find out about our groovy party (yes, groovy.  Hey, it was the seventies!)

 

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My sister holding me during the ‘good old days’, aka: before I could talk!

 

I don’t remember a lot about that Friday night but I do remember coming into the living room where my sister was doing ‘The Bump’ (a super cool dance step back in 1976) and asking me to go back into my room to make another ‘really pretty, detailed picture of the dog.’  The thing was, I’d already brought her a picture of every member of the family – and the house, the car, the yard, and my favorite food.  Was she trying to get rid of me or something? 

After another ten minutes or so I came back with another drawing of our dog Cocoa (an incredible likeness, I might add) to a whole house full of teenagers singing along to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.  Finally my sister, who loved me but was clearly getting frustrated with me constantly badgering her, pulled me off to the side and stepped up her game. “Ellen, you know that question you’re always asking Mom and Dad about? The one they always tell you you’re too young to know the answer to and then make you go outside to play?  Well, I’ll tell you if you promise to leave us alone for the rest of the evening. Deal?” 

Sis was playing hardball now.  I glanced over at my brother who was staring at her with newfound awe and admiration for coming up with such a brilliant idea.   Clearly this was information that I had to have – needed to have because everyone else already knew the secret to where babies came from – everyone but me, that is, and I hated being left out of things.  “Okay!”  I said as I eagerly followed my sister back to my room. 

Sitting at my desk I listened as she explained how babies were made.  My eyes grew wider and the look on my face went from excitement to confusion; then, ultimately – horror.  I sat silent as my sister wrapped up her lesson on the male and female anatomy and then said, “Now, remember – you promised you’d leave us alone, remember?  Oh, and don’t tell Mom and Dad that I told you.”  With that, she opened the door and wandered back to the sound of the Bee Gees blaring in the other room. 

I kept my promise…sort of.  I did leave them alone for the rest of the night.  I was too embarrassed to go back into the living room where my brother and sisters friends were, instead choosing a coloring book to get my mind off of such yucky information. 

Mom and Dad arrived home to a clean and quiet house on Sunday night, clearly impressed by my brother and sister’s caretaking skills.  That is until my six year old body couldn’t hold onto my secret any longer (I think I lasted a couple of hours though, so YAY for me, right?) and I recited nearly every detail of my newfound knowledge with my mother who looked at me in shock, then at my sister in anger. 

My sister got into trouble for that one, though I don’t remember whether she was grounded or had the phone taken away.  She got over it pretty quickly though, because I never did tell my parents about the party.

I’m proud to say that I wasn’t emotionally stunted by having had ‘the talk’ at such a young age, nor did that event lead me into a life of chronic promise-breaking; in fact, I’m pretty stellar at keeping promises when it comes to other people.  It seems the only person I have trouble keeping my promise to is me, which is why I’ve never been a big fan of New Year Resolutions.  I rarely set specific plans into motion for the simple fact that I don’t want to feel like a failure if I can’t follow through.  Beginning January First, however, I am making one promise that I fully intend to keep for the entire year.

I’ve written about my gratitude journal and how positive it’s been in helping me notice the good even when things such as surgery and recovery have taken up a big part of my life over the past several months.  I wanted to take this idea one step further and create more of a visual reminder of the many things I’m grateful for, so I’ve decided to write out every good thing that happens during 2013 and jot down each experience on paper.  I’ll fold it in half and drop it into a container (which I’ll likely keep by my bedside so I don’t forget to do it) and at the end of the year, read through all of the positive things that happened during 2013.  What a powerful way to end the year on a good note while bringing perspective to my life. 

Like this idea?  I hope so, because we will be incorporating this act of mindfulness into our Hate Loss Challenge next month.  Start searching for your gratitude containers because there’s only a couple of weeks left before we ring in the New Year! 

~Ellen

Hate Loss Challenge 2013 Introduction

Gah!!  January will be here in no time, which means I’d better share with you my overview on the upcoming annual Hate Loss Challenge for January, 2013 Smile

 

hlthree

This challenge has evolved over the last couple of years, and every year – thanks to readers spreading the word – it continues to grow with more and more participants. 

It all started between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2010.  As I read browsed and read various weigh loss blogs I noticed a common theme:  many bloggers were amping up for weight loss challenges to kick off the New Year, determined to work off those extra holiday pounds.  While these weight loss challenges were nothing new (I’ve had several of those New Year resolutions myself), many of these perfectly beautiful young women were berating themselves for not having met a certain goal for the year; I read post after post of bloggers beating themselves up for not having dropped that pound for the week and ultimately, disgracing themselves on their blogs for the way they looked. 

I decided that what if, in addition to these weight loss challenges, there was a hate-loss challenge that focused more on loving ourselves for who we are at this moment? 

So, on January 1st 2011 the Hate-Loss Challenge was born.  Given ‘exercises’ to do for that month, we started creating a more positive environment for ourselves and learned to accept the goodness and beauty in each of us as we made our way towards a healthier lifestyle.  We came together here on my blog one day a week for Group Therapy Thursday and shared our progresses, our concerns and supported each other with theirs.  Those who blogged committed to writing their own post so their readers could be involved and offer support. 

Many things will remain the same, such as Group Therapy Thursday.  This is the day when participating bloggers post their progress reports as well as link their posts to my own progress post so that readers can visit and read other people’s posts, as well as offer support.  There will be a few new surprises this year, including giveaways! 

Note: **You do NOT have to be a blogger to participate.  You can commit to this challenge by following the exercises and then reporting your own progress report in the comments section of my blog every Thursday.  This is OUR challenge – all of us; no exclusions Smile

Still have questions?  Go to the Hate-Loss Challenge Information tab at the top of my blog and you’ll get an idea of what you’re in for.  

More to come.  In the meantime, for those of you who already know you’d like to participate or simply just spread the word, feel free to grab my HL Challenge badge located on the right of my sidebar and add it to your blog. 

xo,

~Ellen