28 Day Self-Love Challenge

Day 1: April 26, 2016
Write about yourself - include physical characteristics.
This had to be the first one.  Okay, well I am of average build with dark brown eyes and dark brown hair that falls below my shoulder blades.  Maybe longer, I can't check right now because my hair is up in a bun.  In the summer my skin tans, and in the winter it fades.  I have some wrinkles above my forehead.  I like my smile when I smile all the way.  I still find fault with my teeth (two rounds of braces and two implants later will do that to you), but when I smile I don't notice the mistakes as much.  I feel this intense pressure right now to downplay the way I look.  I'm terrified to use words like "nice" or "pretty" or anything that would make me seem pleased with myself; I'm so concerned with appearing conceited.  Do other people struggle with that?  I wonder if that's a side effect of some type of societal pressure on women.  So instead, I beat the crap out of myself.  This is why I have to do this challenge in the first place.

Trying to describe myself in an objective way is incredibly difficult.

Day 2: April 27, 2016
Write about one physical feature that you love about yourself and why.
This one's also hard.  Women are forced to focus on their breasts or their rear in terms of attractiveness, but neither have been sources of concern for me.  My boobs are small, I accept this and my butt is my butt.  So what I'm trying to say is that the physical feature I like about myself (when I'm working out which I haven't recently) is my stomach.  It's also the feature I hate the most BUT when I am working out I can see the progress I am making and because it's something I feel like I control, there's a sense of accomplishment.  So I guess I would say my stomach because it also reminds me that I am strong when I push myself.

Day 3: April 28, 2016
Write about one personality trait that you love about yourself and why.
I think that I am a great listener.  I have the ability to lend an ear and listen to someone else's problems without interjecting and making them feel worse.  I like that about myself because I think everyone could use an ear once in a while so I try my best to always do that.

Day 4: April 29, 2016
Write down one thing that you need to forgive yourself for - and then forgive yourself.
I need to let go of how awful I was in past relationships, not because of the pain I caused other people but the harm I did to myself.  The only excuse is that I was weak and scared and I need to forgive not being able to stand up for myself and do what's best for me.

Day 5: April 30, 2016
Write 3 positive words that you believe your closest friends would use to describe you.
Amicable, considerate, and loyal.

Day 6: May 1, 2016
Write about one thing that you feel you are really good at and why.
I make an amazing Penne Alla Vodka.  That's probably not even true, but it's my favorite thing in the world and I just happen to make it, so...yeah.  Penne Alla Vodka for lifeeee!

Day 7: May 2, 2016
Write about what makes you truly happy.
You know, happiness is sort of funny.  I don't think there's always a tried and true thing that will make you happy.  I just feel like, sometimes I'm in a moment and I feel grateful when I can recognize that it's simple happiness.  I guess, then, what makes me truly happy is recognizing the moment.

Day 8: May 3, 2016
Write about someone that motivates or inspires you.
I am truly motivated by my cousin Alisha.  She's younger than me, so I think it's weird when I tell people I look up to her.  Alisha is the type of person who makes friends with every single person when she walks into a room.  Its simply her kind heart that outshines every one else.  I admire that about her personality and I strive to be like her every day.

Day 9: May 4, 2016
Write down a quote that motivates or inspires you.
"We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely.  All art is quite useless."
- Oscar Wilde in the preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray

Day 10: May 5, 2016
Write down one unhealthy thing that you do and cross it out with a big X.
I procrastinate so long that I end up stressing out and freaking out last minute.  It literally costs me sleep at night.

Day 11: May 6, 2016
Write about the place you would go right now, if you could go anywhere in the world.
I don't have a specific place that I feel strongly about being.  For me, I think if I could truly go any place, it would simply be somewhere where all the people I love are in the same room and we're laughing and eating.  I don't know, sort of simple and not adventurous but it would just be nice to be surrounded by people I enjoy spending time with.

Day 12: May 7, 2016
Tape a picture of yourself that you love in your journal.  Write about why you chose it.
This picture is from my cousin Kyle's wedding in August of 2013.  It was captured by my other cousin's wife, Jenna Sasala.  I like this photo because I love dancing like an idiot.  When I'm dancing, I don't really care what other people think.  Well, I mean I already know they think it's awful, but it doesn't bother me.  So that's why I chose this photograph.

Day 13: May 8, 2016
Copy a short poem that has meaning to you in your journal.
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching 
Or Cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
-Emily Dickinson

Day 14: May 9, 2016
Go to bed at least one hour early.  The next morning, write about how you feel.
This one was such an amazing goal.  Slipping off into dreamland at 9 o'clock was wonderful...until I got a phone call at ten.  And then at eleven.  Different folks, can't be blamed but I actually felt groggier so I'm going to stick with my regular routine.

Day 15: May 10, 2016

Draw something.  Get out the crayons and spend 15+ minutes drawing anything you want!
I am awful but I am totally defying this one.  Drawing is nice but I only like to do in a coloring book which I don't have.  So instead, I spend 15 minutes reading The World According to Garp.  It is magnificent and just as good if not better than drawing.

Day 16: May 11, 2016
Write a note to yourself that explains why you are fabulous!  Promise to read it in 5 years.
Jen,
You are so stubborn!  But it's fun to watch (I guess) and I'm sure you make people laugh even if you're not laughing too.  You've also got such a vivid imagination that you're never bored for long and I hope you never lose that.  It just gets weird when you forget what's real life and what's been dreamed up in your head, but it's still such a beautiful ability and you seriously better be using it for good five years from now!!!
Keep it up you nutjob.

Day 17: May 12, 2016
Exercise today.  Write about how you felt before, during, and after the workout.
I didn't really work out.  I eked out ten push-ups and some sit-ups this morning before work.  It did feel nice to carve out a little me time.  I'll start working out again after this wedding.  I promise.  I think.

Day 18: May 13, 2016
Write down the name of one person you need to forgive and why - then forgive them.
I don't want to write his name, but just to be clear he isn't someone I dated.  Ever.  I'm only recently realizing the damage he left in his wake and I'm struggling to accept that I've spent the past ten years denying he's affected my life.  He has and I walk with the ghost of the decisions I made back then every single day.  I forgive him for destroying a piece of me but it's no longer his fault that I keep repeating the same mistakes.  He hurt me and I forgive his sad pathetic beer-belly (probably) old ass.

Day 19: May 14, 2016

Spend 15 minutes in silence focusing on one positive attribute of yourself.  Write about it!
This one didn't work for me the same way meditating doesn't work for me.  I'm not good at clearing my mind and thinking about one thing.  I like to think of lots of things.  It's also the day of my brother's wedding so I thought trying to quiet my mind today was a good idea.  IT'S NOT POSSIBLE I TELL YOU.  Mostly, I just thought about how I (usually) make a good first impression and I want to tap into today, especially when Hangry Jenny comes out to play.  She did last night, it was baaaad.

Day 20: May 15, 2016
Write down a positive memory from the past year that made you feel good.
I'm going to have to go with this past Friday night at Jonathan and Jessica's Rehearsal Dinner where my brother gave me an opal necklace and a beautiful letter.  He made me feel appreciated and loved.  I'm not going to forget it very easily.

Day 21: May 16, 2016
Write "I Love You" 10 times.  Feel free to decorate the page around the words.
I thought this was going to be lame but it was actually very nice.
Day 22: May 17, 2016
Write down one thing you want to accomplish and how you are going to make it happen.
I want to be a writer.  Whether that means I am writing technical manuals or writing the warning labels on food, I want to have the word "Writer" in my job title.  This fall, I'll start working on my Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.  I'm on my way!

Day 23: May 18, 2016
Write a thank you note to someone you are thankful for.  Make a copy and send it!
Dear Mom,
Thank you for being my role model.  I don't know how you're able to hold us all together the way you do.  You're astounding.  We do not treat you the way you deserve to be treated.  I promise to do better.  There are not enough words in the history of the world to express my gratitude.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Day 24: May 19, 2016
Write down a hobby that makes you happy.  Schedule a time to do it this month.
I really like putzing around the house and doing a fix it upper.  Now that my brother is officially married and on his own (holy crappola!) I think the house project I'm going to shove down my parent's throats is redoing his room and make it into a genuine guestroom.  I mean as it is currently, it's a bright teal color.  Very.  Bright.  OR I'm just going to start knocking off some of the DIY's on my Pinterest board.  That would be awesome.  I miss doing that.

Day 25: May 20, 2016
Tape/glue a picture of something or something that makes you feel good about yourself.
One of my faculty members sent this e-mail to me last week and it said, "Thanks for always being so supportive."  It made me feel like I'm actually helping and not just walking around shrugging my shoulders on the daily.

Day 26: May 21, 2016
Write about one thing that makes you unique and different from everyone else.
I lived with my Grandpa and loved it.  I mean, I hated it sometimes, but mostly I loved hanging out with him.  I don't think most people choose to live with their grandparent the way I did.  And if they do, then they are crazy.

Day 27: May 22, 2016
Write this down: "Dear ___: You are beautiful.  You are courageous.  You are unique. You are amazing.  You are worth it."
Day 28: May 23, 2016
Write about how this Self-Love Challenge made you feel and how you have changed.
It's funny but I still try to write answers to these questions that are negative.  Why is it so much easier for me to pull up a laundry list of what's wrong with me but when a question asks for the good I can't think of one thing? The change here, though, is that I gently slap myself on the wrists and try to rearrange my thoughts.  It's really a struggle but, hey, Rome wasn't built in a day and I don't expect to be magically changed by a 28 Day Self-Love Challenge.  I did expect to be motivated to move forward and I notice the slight alteration in the way I view others too.  I'm less harsh in my critiques because I'm learning not to ride myself so hard.  I'm enthusiastic.  I'm headed down the right path and I can't wait to see myself on the other side.

This Challenge was created by the Skinny Mom.

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