Back in July I started the #12ThingsILoveAboutMe concept. The idea seemed like a good one and people were on board and excited to participate. So I kicked things off by explaining why I wanted to do this in the first place and every month after I posted something new that I loved about myself.
I stopped right before the half-way mark. I'm not proud of quitting and I'm struggling with whether or not to keep going. I thought that since it was my idea that I should be able to commit to the whole exercise and maybe, just maybe, inspire someone else to participate along with me.
A number of people joined in at first. Right out of the gate I had a huge response and thought it could really be something great. But then I slowly was left standing on my own declaring what I loved about myself and instead of feeling empowered and motivated to keep going I felt silly and completely narcissistic.
I know the idea of the exercise is not to be narcissistic but instead to give people who self-loath and don't appreciate themselves the ability to embrace their uniqueness and actually learn to love the person they are on the inside and out.
When I picked 12 as the number of "things" to share it seemed so easy. Twelve isn't a huge number and coming up with something once a month didn't seem like it would be a stretch.
Boy was I wrong!
It was a lot harder than I imagined it would be to shout out "things" I love about myself. It was hard coming up with something different each time and furthermore it was hard coming up with things that didn't sound superficial and petty.
But that was the point. It didn't matter if it was superficial and petty or profound and serious. The point was to feel unashamed about loving ourselves. It is clear to me now that I do still struggle a great deal with letting go of insecurity. The exercise started to make me feel a bit vulnerable and that is something I have a very hard time with.
As December 12th crept up I wasn't in a very positive mood for whatever reason and I felt that I would be forcing out something I loved about myself instead of really believing it. I didn't want to be fake so I just let the day come and go and made no reference to it whatsoever. Same thing with January.
So here's the thing... I still feel like the concept was good. I feel like the meaning behind the whole thing was good. Maybe I'll pick up it up again and maybe I won't. But even though the #12Things has fizzled and faded away, it wasn't completely a lost cause.
I'm proud of myself for even approaching CaitlinHTP with the idea in the first place. She is someone I truly admire and never thought a blogger of her caliber would have such a positive response to this concept. Seeing my name and face on her blog and having her enthusiasm behind #12Things was a huge accomplishment.
The second thing that didn't make this a lost cause was the fact that I did put myself out there and shared a few things that I love about myself without any shame. Of course as I mentioned earlier, I started to feel a bit silly and I suppose shameful for doing this but that's because old habits die hard. Shaking my negative self-image will continue to be a process for me and one that I truly hope has an end point. I thought I was nearing the end and I have days and even weeks where I think I'm finally comfortable in my own skin then... poof! I'm right back to struggling once again.
I'm a work in progress. I'm okay with that. I'll keep trying and I will keep pushing myself to feel vulnerable and work through it. Even if I am standing on my own with an idea I feel passionately about it should not deter me from stopping. I will continue pushing myself to share ideas that I have and not be ashamed to do so as well as sharing and probably most times, over-sharing, my thoughts and feeling with all of you.
#12ThingsILoveAboutMe is officially hibernating for the winter. Maybe not gone forever, just sitting in the wings waiting for the spark of inspiration it deserves.