I’m a huge fan of Brené Brown so immediately purchased ‘Rising Strong’ when I made the decision to start focusing on challenges.

The book takes a look at getting up after a failure. As I am turning my ‘year of vulnerability’ up a few notches, I know there are going to be times when I am down and want to quit. To retreat back to a cocoon of safety.

But as Brené so rightly puts it:

“Once we fall in the service of being brave, we can never go back.”

This is something that I’ve had constant discussions about with one of my friends. We agreed that now we have had our eyes opened and ventured out into the unknown (whatever or wherever that may be). That the once comfortable spot was no longer comfortable. For alas, we had changed and therefore no longer fit the old mould.

The challenges!
When I first decided to spend 2017 as my ‘year of vulnerability’ I lost myself in Pinterest for a good while. 

Seriously that website is dangerous, I was not only pinning challenges and quotes for vulnerability but somehow I managed to start boards for recipes, makeup, crafting and a summer body! Here is my Pinterest if you want to have a look. 

All that Pinterest research and I’ve made the decision not to follow any of the challenges I pinned – but instead work on my own. Some challenges will be daily, others I will do when the situation arises.

1. Stay off Facebook.

After a month off, I was going to re-enter the world of Facebook yesterday. This was due to a ridiculous thought came into my mind: “I can’t not be on Facebook when it’s my birthday”. I decided then, the best thing for me to do, which fits nicely into this challenge, is to stay off it until my birthday has passed – the end of July. Self-esteem isn’t achieved through the love, attention and approval of others and no amount of ‘happy birthdays’ and picture collages are going to make a difference.

2. Three Nice Things!

Years ago to get myself out of the habit of judging others, including people I didn’t even know. I made myself say three nice things about the person if I said something that wasn’t nice. This approach really worked and on most occasions, I was simply able to observe people instead of judging them. So I’m going to turn things around and put the focus on me. Whenever I catch myself in comparison or bashing mode, I’m going to say three nice things about myself!

3. Why I Rocked Today!

At the end of each evening I am going to email myself, like I do for the ‘making miracles in 40 days’ project. I am going to say why I rocked that day. It could be one thing or it could be more but I am going to end the evening on a high.

4. Look at myself in mirrors and see the beauty in me.

My last post It’s time to face the mirrors! is what inspired me to start the challenges with self-esteem. I said that at the end of July I would like to be able to look in any mirror and truly say “I am beautiful“. So for that to happen – mirrors have got to be looked in, smiled at and flirted with! 

5. Spend time in nature.

I am happy in nature. I feel refreshed after spending time in it. On Sunday I was a silly mare and missed my coach back to London. The weather was absolutely gorgeous so I found some grass and laid on my back and spent the next couple of  hours reading, people watching, breathing in the fresh air and my absolute favourite thing of the day – watching the clouds float by. Seeing them form into shapes and faces. I was young again. Innocent. No cares in the world. I could have stayed there all day but I couldn’t miss another travel booking.

6. Look after my mind and my body.

I meditate each morning anyway, only for 10mins but it is a vital part of my day. I am going to continue this but add in an afternoon meditation wherever possible. Unfortunately I haven’t been as consistent with exercising. So I will ensure I exercise at least 3 times a week – jogging or doing my Jillian Michaels DVD. This doesn’t excite me but I always feel great after I’ve exercised so it’s happening!

7. Read work by black authors and watch some documentaries on black history.

In my blog post Back to Black 🙋🏿 I admitted that I haven’t been embracing that I am black. Well for my self-esteem to increase that has to change. I need (and want) to be stand up proud and accept myself and really love my beautiful skin tone. Immersing myself into black history will be a good start. I will continue with this challenge throughout the year.

8. Question: ‘What do I want?’ and give myself ‘Permission’

No more using the throw away comment ‘I don’t mind’ or always going with other people’s ‘flow’. This month I am going to ask myself what it is I want to do, and do that. I am going to go with my gut feeling even if that means I’m doing something on my own. 

In ‘Rising Strong‘, Brené talks about giving herself permission with the use of permission slips. Instead of masking her emotions  she writes down on a piece of paper what she is giving herself permission for. Such as: ‘Permission to be scared, cry and put myself first’. 

Brené says doing this “gives you the opportunity to be your most authentic self”.  SOLD!

9. Treat myself – at least twice – just because!

I rarely treat myself ‘just because’. Apart from my obsession with buying books I buy things when I need them. Clothes/Shoes – for work, to replace worn out items,  or because I’m attending someone else’s birthday/party/event. Perfume – because my last one ran out. I want massages, dainty jewellery, art work, days off just to ‘do nothing’. But I make excuses why ‘I shouldn’t really’. Yes I should if I want to.

10. Wear my Sunday Best

A few years ago I created and hosted an event called ‘Sunday Best’. It was held on a Sunday and attendees were asked to wear what ever they felt great in – hence the name Sunday Best. I welcomed everyone with a story about why we shouldn’t save our ‘best’ only for special occasions. I haven’t stuck to my own advice as often as I’d like so wearing my best on random days this month it is! Yes you yellow dress – I’m going to rock you whilst at the supermarket!  

So there you have it. My challenges for July. I will also do some ad hoc challenges as the month progresses. If you have any suggestions on other challenges which fit in nicely with the self-esteem theme please do share them.

Let the loving myself games begin!

Emma x

Instagram: @emmalouhalliday
Twitter: @boomerhalliday

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