Today concludes my October Challenge of Self Compassion.
When I started out this venture I was only halfway through the month and was struggling with keeping a daily journal. I had been aware of how helpful writing was for me, posing as a ‘window to my soul’ and helping me discover the derivation of my feelings and emotions, and therefore basis of many of my actions.
I write because it helps me. It feels good. It is extremely uplifting to get my words out and watch them unfold in front of me, not always knowing the direction in which they are headed, or their purpose entirely, but having faith that they will unravel and develop into something of higher meaning as planned, sits in the back of my mind, and works as my motivation to continue this ‘hobby’.
I connect with this type of writing because it is how I live my life. Unplanned, with poise and grace, yet with fear, stress, anxiety of a forseeable negative future, that my positive thoughts (or words in this case) must refute. Everytime I push something out, a blog, a Facebook post, an email, ‘as-is’ without the constant hovering, contemplation, that only creates self doubt- I move closer to a place that allows me to ‘be me’ and proves to myself my abilities in such. This validation drives me.
Needless to say, writing has become a huge helping hand for me in my adventures into a world of heart-centered-entrepreneurs, do-gooders, positive difference makers, and every other personal or business venture/endeavor in between.
But I don’t always do it.
I don’t continue to write, as much as I should or as much as I like.
I get caught up in the everyday nuances of life, of activity, of numbness. An escape to hide from my potential. Writing brings this out of me. It confronts me. Forces me to face myself. It’s not always pretty. It’s scary sometimes to see my emotionals laid out naked on the page. It hurts to identify the things ‘holding me back’ or the people and situations that have marked me and/or my life negatively. But it helps me face this. It helps me get over this. It helps me move past it so I can keep going on my path.
I used to get stressed out when I ‘missed a day’, or didn’t journal at night.
I used to really berate myself for ‘skimping out’. I’d feel like a failure. Like I let myself down.
It hurt. It didn’t help me. It brought me down. It de-motivated me to work. Sometimes I’d try to ‘catch up’ and go back to an old post I never finished. But it wasn’t the same. It’s like trying to go back to a party the next day at 3 pm and rekindle the lively emotions that were just present hours before. It doesn’t happen. (unless its kegs & eggs day, you’re just a grandma and the party’s still going).
So to ‘fix’ this problem I came up with a challenge. I’d write everyday for a month. It didn’t sound to hard. Other people were doing it. I knew it would help me. So I did. And there is still a “September folder” in My Docs: under PassionPursuit, that only has the dates and journals from the 13th through the end of the month, missing Sept. 13, 14 , 16, 21, 22, 25, 29, 30. I was never a math major, but out of the 17 days I was supposed to do it for (that’s right I was starting mid-month) I seemed to eff up quite a bit.
I highlighted my failure.
I keyed on it. I focused on it so much that I stopped writing. I stopped writing for over 15 days. I was so bummed from ‘failing’ that I gave up and didn’t even think about journaling daily. I pulled excuses and said an email counted as writing, and then soon I became unaware that, that challenge had even existed for me. I missed it.
It became harder to write blog posts. It became harder to understand myself. I didn’t realize it at first, but I was walking around with a lot of weight I didn’t need to carry. I was angry a decent amount of times– over little things, and I wasn’t even aware of my bitterness.
Finally I realized I needed to start writing again. My Grandfather’s words softened my worries. It was only a few weeks prior, that a short conversation between us had transformed my perspective on my passions and purpose. He had brought into light something I didn’t know about myself. He gave me the confidence and courage to push through at times I knew would be difficult.
So I went back to the challenge.
But this time. I did something different.
I set up “goals”. I hate that word. Sorry, I feel like it only works with ‘structured’ people and limits others and to be completely honest I don’t think I resemble any form of structure. There’s nothing wrong with people who do, it just doesnt resonate with me. Let’s try it again–– I came up with challenges. (Ahh there, much more empowering, with no side dish of stress).
These challenges would follow monthly, but they would each have an intended direction. Note- not an intended outcome, but merely a direction. There were things in my life I wanted to incorporate, personality traits, skills, characteristics, things I wanted to be known and remembered for. I know this is difficult to talk about, but death reminds us of our lives and of our purpose. When asking your purpose, consider this:
Ask those closest to you, If you were to be gone a month from now, (despite their sorrow and grief) what unshared gift would sadden them most, that you never got to share with the world.
Having done so, I have been able to live aware of certain gifts I can offer, and have worked more diligently to express and and share them with those in need. This has led me to grow a will to share other gifts, as well as polish and refine my gifts.
These monthly challenges will help me to do so. How– I am not entirely sure. The outcome– up in the air. (just how I like it).
This was not a tedious procedure. The thinking goes on in my head anyway at night, but it was the actionable steps that made this possible.
Open up Google Calendar. Create New event for rest of October. Name it “Self Compassion”. Next, create new event for month of November, title it “Integrity”, December– Generosity…
I didn’t stress over these. These were qualities I knew I wanted. Or qualities I had that I knew I wanted to perfect. And by perfect I mean continuously work on. If you are unsure about what qualities, characteristics, skills, or traits you would like to ‘work on’ (once again I prefer the terms refine, polish, hone, shine), than ask yourself what is it you would like to be remembered for. What do you value. What’s important for you.
Be accountable. How? Share what you are doing with someone you can confide in. It can be anyone, friends, family, foes, The Facebook team. Whomever you share it with, is not as important as the fact that you are sharing it. By making it public you are allowing others to hold you accountable for your challenge. I shared mine with Liz Flores. She didn’t even know what it was or what I was doing. I think it took me three days before I noted in an email, Oh hey, btdubs, The invite I sent you on G Calendar is so you can hold me accountable for my upcoming challenges, feel free to join me, thanks :)
And lastly, Step 3.
Have Self Compassion. Yes, ironic, this was my goal **challenge this month, and it took doing this challenge to truly learn and understand it. What I learned was that the number one thing you can be to yourself at all times in every situation is compassionate. Radical self love in every moment. Embracing where you are, highlighting your successes, and understanding yourself in every moment. Self Compassion kicks in on those days you didn’t write. On those nights something came up and you forgot all about it and you woke up out of an anxious sleep to stress how you didnt write the night before. Haha it sounds silly when you say it out loud. But really, it’s important be understanding of yourself, be your own best friend. Because berating yourself and cutting yourself short doesn’t get you anywhere. Had I been more compassionate to myself in September I would be writing this blog post a month ago. I’d be one challenge ahead, one characteristic better and one step further on my path. That’s something I have to live with (haha it’s okay, i’ll survive) because once again, it’s only life :) And its ours to live it. So do what feels right in the moment, and try to be in tune with yourself as best as you can. But when life happens and you fall out of whack. Embrace it. Understand. Give yourself a break, because then you can get back in tune, and put your best foot forth.
I’m embarking on Integrity for the next 30 days. If anyone would like to join, shoot me an email kdiamond33(at)gmail.com so we can support each other and help one another out. Oh and ps. Journaling= one sentence, one word, a letter. Or it can = a paragraph a novel, or an ebook. It’s whatever works for you :) That’s the beauty of being compassionate. Do what supports you in the moment and empowers you on your path. Would love to hear and share your stories!
Have you ever done a monthly challenge?
What is the hardest thing you face when setting a new habit or daily exercise?