The one year challenge, "The Last Year of Your Life" gives people 52 personal tasks to complete over the course of 52 weeks. The first week requires a choice that may be difficult for some to pursue, but ultimately, it is the first step in truly changing your life. The task is to show ourselves unconditional love. Over the course of seven days, profound lessons began to emerge as I placed my attention on myself and my well-being.
We Must Stop Punishing Ourselves
We are willing to open our heart to others and unselfishly love them. We exert energy and push ourselves to create the best life for our children, parents, employees and other people and beings that we consider important. If any of these loved ones fail at something or make an error, we do not criticize them to the point of spiritual destruction. Instead, we build them up with constructive words and may even offer assistance. If we do this for them, why can we not do this for ourselves? We must not use abrasive tones or words during our inner conversation. If we do not reach the level that we are aiming for, we shouldn't label ourselves as failures. We wouldn't tell a child who got an F on an exam that he or she will never amount to anything in life. We would instruct them to try again and do better next time. There is always a second chance to treat yourself well, even if you are on the edge of self-obliteration. When we stop punishing ourselves, we allow time for us to be successful. When we abuse ourselves, we invite others to do the same act. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated, " Whenever men and women straighten their backs up, they are going somewhere, because a man can't ride your back unless it is bent”."
Allowing Yourself to Take On New Challenges
During Week 1, I sat at my desk longer than usual and worked on my goals and projects. At first, I believed that I could not do such a thing because I am so easily distracted. However, I realized that if it was someone else's work, I would be working efficiently in order to generate quality by a deadline. When we love ourselves, we take ourselves seriously. We do not consider ourselves to be a joke or feel that another person's goals are more wonderful than our own. Self-love creates healthy expectations. We begin to see challenges as opportunities to prove our greatness and self-discipline.
Learning to Relate to Others
I realized this week that sometimes I came off as anti-social. I didn't want to utilize my energy to relate to others and I had a difficult time forcing myself to do so. Instead of punishing myself for feeling this way, I simply allowed myself to accept how I felt. I stopped feeling guilty about it. I practiced talking less so that I could listen to what other people were saying and letting go of my impressions when first meeting people. It was a week of patience. There were several people that required much of my attention and time. In the midst of my frustration, I considered the situations a lesson and responded without allowing impatience to take over.
Allowing Myself to Enjoy
I spent a considerable amount of time alone. I decided to ALLOW myself to do the things I wanted to do. I did not realize that this was a challenge for me until I made the effort to do so. I had always filled every void with a goal related task, but never moments of simply BEING. I decided to allow myself to have a fun day and place my projects aside. I took myself to the park and walked for hours, observing my surroundings. I did not rush as usual and made myself walk more slowly. I allowed myself to sing all of my favorite songs and take my time with all of my tasks. However, the most enjoyable thing that I did was taking out the time to read. For months, I never made time to sit at my desk and read a book slowly. When I did this for a majority of the week, the peace that came from this hobby was indescribable.
Overall, what I learned from this week was that when you love yourself unconditionally, you will learn to achieve your goals in an efficient manner without detracting from your health and other aspects of your life.