The second prompt for the Kindness Challenge 2017 is Self-Compassion.
For Mother’s Day I went to the church service at my son and daughter-in-law’s place of worship. We were a group of eight so getting ready in the morning and getting out the door was a bit of a challenge. My son was ready before all of us and just smiled and said “It’s an exercise in patience.” When we arrived for the service, we were late and had to tip-toe in during the Mother’s Day sermon. It was a sermon on ‘Patience’. 😀 As we made our way to our seats, the pastor was saying “And if we find ourselves always arriving late, we need to have patience with ourselves.” It really gave us all a laugh! 😀 It helped to give us ‘self-compassion’ and lightened up the moment.
What I took away from that sermon was the message on a photo on the huge overhead screen. The pastor was sharing the story of what was written on Ruth Bell Graham’s tombstone. It was a message of Self-Compassion and Humility. It was a reminder that we’re all ‘under construction’ in this life.
“End of Construction – Thank you for your patience.”
Ruth Bell Graham
I remember a time when things were particularly stressful in my life and I felt I wasn’t measuring up to my expectations for myself. I was being my own worst critic and definitely much too hard on myself. Then I read the quote below in a book I was reading for inspiration. It was such a kind and compassionate image of God being there with us through it all.
“Please be patient. God isn’t finished with me yet….”
~ Chinese Symbol sketch by Mary Lou ~
The first prompt for the Kindness Challenge 2017 is Self-Love.
One of the suggestions for this week was to create a self-portrait and I remembered that I’d already done that back in 2015 for a 31-Days of January Art Challenge. On the 19th Day our prompt was to sketch a self-portrait. So I’m daring to share it: the five hearts are my five children and the quote “The greatest gift a woman can give to herself and her family is her own independence.” It came from the book ~ The Shell Seekers ~ A novel about a woman and her evolving relationship with her grown children ……… and adjusting to the cycles of life.
When I was growing up in the 40’s and 50’s, self-love was considered a negative thing. Being kind to myself was something I’ve learned to do over the years. I was told I was too rough on myself. The sense of unworthiness began at a young age when we were taught to think up all the ‘bad’ things we did when we went to confession every Saturday so that we could be worthy enough to receive communion on Sunday. The best I could come up with at 7 years old was something like ‘I answered back my mother’, ‘I ate a piece of chocolate during lent’ ‘I got angry with my brothers for teasing me’….etc. Sometimes we’d make up something! Love of God/Love of Neighbor and self-sacrifice were all tied up into one ball of yarn and somehow self-love was left out….. or so we thought. When I attempted to put myself first …… to say I mattered too …… it was thought to be selfish and unkind. Now I realize that being selfless vs being selfish are more about balance. That I am worthy and I do matter. It’s helped me to set healthy boundaries in my life when others pressure me to be and do what I’m not comfortable with. ‘Love your neighbor as yourself”. It’s helped me to trust my intuition and my heart going forward even though I sometimes wrestle with ‘Catholic Guilt’. 😀
“Shame is the most powerful, master emotion. It’s the fear that we’re not good enough. “
~ Brené Brown ~
So ….. the mantra I’ve used this week comes from the video below:
“It’s Enough! It’s Plenty!”
Some of us have too little self worth and are too selfless. Some of us have too much narcissism and take advantage of the kindness of those who are too nice. Seek the middle ground.
Kindness is contagious!
Another Challenge that really makes sense to me!
Nikki @ The Richness of a Simple Life has come up with a fantastic challenge! This is the second year and it looks like it’s catching on at a time when we all could use a bit more kindness in our lives. I hope you’ll visit Nikki’s website and find out all of the details through the link above. The Kindness Challenge begins next week and you’ll find the sign up sheet below.
Color Your World With Kindness
Sign-up is open for the 2nd annual Kindness Challenge! Click on the photo to be redirected to the sign-up page! Last year we had over 80 participate and focus on kindness for 7 weeks. The rules are minimal and simple-
- You don’t have to be a blogger to join
- One reflection post a week
- Take it at your own pace
If you want to focus on increasing the kindness in your life and the world around you, I encourage you to join. You’ll get a prompt a week to focus on one topic to cultivate kindness along with practical exercises to incorporate it into your life.
Challenge start date- May 7th, 2017
Please share this post with those in your circles. The more people we have focusing on kindness the better! I also encourage you to get a group together. Maybe a few coworkers, friends, family members, a mom’s group, fellow creatives, whoever you like!
To see last year’s challenge, clickhere to see an example of a challenge prompt post.