If you followed my recent activities or read my previous blog article Are you too your own worst enemy?, you know that loving kindness and being kinder and more gentle with myself has played a big part of my life over the last few weeks. It’s time to close that chapter for now by challenging myself (and possibly you?) with the following exercise!
Gift me 5 minutes of your time (this article won’t be much longer, I promise), and then treat yourself to 20 minutes with yourself. What do you have to lose? You’re here now anyway, right?
- Grab a pen and a blank piece of paper.
- Write a huge title on the top: 37 things I love about myself.
- Find the first 5 easy things you love about yourself,
- then the next 5 ones, even if they feel a bit superficial or clichéd,
- another 5 that you always hear from people around you,
- or a few that you have used in job interviews and simply
- keep going until you have at least 37 items on your list and have successfully run out of possible ideas.
Break – you’ve done a good job, pat yourself on your back!
But we’re not done – let’s move on to the second part:
- Throw the paper away. Alternative option for your own entertainment (if your current circumstances allow): Take a lighter and burn the paper you’ve been working so passionately on.
- Get another piece of paper and start again.
- Add the title “37 things I love about myself”,
- and get to work.
I hope you have enjoyed the exercise!
All right, you’ve only skimmed the text, haven’t you?
What’s holding you back from actually doing the exercise? Let me give you a few thoughts on it before you give it another try.
- It’s about discovering what you have never considered valuable or lovable about yourself.
- The incentive is to go beyond shallow descriptions or remarks that you could easily address to a billion people on this planet.
- This could help you find a few key points: Have you heard the phrase that you should never compare yourself to others, but only to the version you were a week or six months ago? This usually helps you to look at yourself in a different, kinder, gentle and more loving way. And then you get the most honest and intimate insights into yourself.
- Find detailed qualities, actions, personal characteristics and the corresponding circumstances in which you have proven yourself to be valuable and therefore worthy of self-love.
- It’s not a thinking exercise. Try to connect to your heart and see what comes up.
- The exercise does not have to be easy or hard. It can be funny though – and that might help you to come up with a few. So introduce silliness to the exercise. Perhaps you’re able to shock yourself by writing something as weird as “extremely weird but endearing glow when people mention their extremely unique (weird) hobbies or interests [ insert example] which finally gives me the chance to reveal my hidden passion of [ insert hidden passion] ”.
A few final remarks on the exercise
- You cannot fail this exercise.
- Don’t be afraid to see something written down that you have never felt or appreciated about yourself. You might discover yourself in a new way, and that also comes with uncovering blind spots that might feel uncomfortable at the beginning. But you got this. 🙂
- You don’t have to come up with 37 items.
- It’s not necessarily a one-time exercise, but you can repeat it again and again, if and whenever you feel like doing it.
- Yes, you can come up with more than 37.
- Even a single point that makes you look at yourself differently can have a big impact and be worth the exercise.
- The true value of this exercise often only becomes apparent when you look at your list a few days or weeks after completing it.
- You may realise that you have completely forgotten an important point that you love about yourself, and that is completely fine and happens all the time, in challenging moments as well as in exercises like this one here.
So what about doing the exercise now?
Maybe you’ll end up feeling like sharing one of the 37 things with others if it feels right for you? That’s optional but might allow you to take another step towards more clarity, openness and connection with yourself and others.
I hope you enjoy it.
Take-Away: What I have learned from this particular exercise
So I’d like to share one of the things I love about myself.
It’s an answer I found again after crashing into all the walls of this planet a few weeks ago and picking up the pieces of myself with the help of friends: I’m proud that I’m still searching and discovering what I need, and that I haven’t given up after all this time.
Anyone who knows me personally knows that this process includes more than a decade of searching and also partly desperately wandering around. However, I love that I still haven’t lost the drive to find out where and what I ultimately want to do, experience and achieve in life.
But what I love most about the process lately is that I’m allowing myself to walk it in a more forgiving and gentle way that is also quite public and open and shared with you as well.
Keen to reinforce positive feelings about yourself?
A meditation that fits this exercise
If you want to establish more self-love in your daily life and have never practised a loving-kindness meditation up to this point, take a look at the end of this article Are you too your own worst enemy?, where you can find a short introduction and the link to one of my guided meditations.
If you already have a certain experience or have practised with my guided version for beginners, it might be worth trying this more straight-forward version for your daily start into the day. Compared to the beginner-friendly version that helps you throughout the first week of practice, this version contains less explaining and guiding but more silence for your own (daily morning) practice.
If you found this meditation helpful, don’t forget to give it a thumbs up and share it with others who could benefit. Drop a comment and let me know how you feel after this meditation. Your feedback and shared insights can inspire and help others on their mindfulness journey. 🙏