Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Give Light and People Will Find the Way

When I was in school, my Creative Writing Professor once gave me an assignment that at the time was extremely uncomfortable for me.  In fact, I was actually hesitant to do the assignment, not that I had much of a choice if I wanted to pass the class. 

My professor instructed the class to divide a piece of paper into two columns. 

In column one, I was instructed to write down all of the things I like about myself.  These would be my personal strengths, difficult situations I've overcome, people's lives I've touched, personal accomplishments, and the values I have obtained throughout my life that increased my feelings of self-respect. 

In the second column, I was instructed to make a list of my personal short-comings, weaknesses, or issues that I still struggle with.  In his words--perhaps you’re selfish sometimes, or maybe you avoid taking responsibility, or is it possible you haven’t followed through with commitments you made to yourself or others.

Whatever these issues were, he wanted us to bring them out into the light of day to be examined.  He said that they would automatically feel less shameful if we acknowledge their existence.

At the end of the exercise, he had us read both our strength column and our weakness column aloud for the entire class to hear. 

Next, he told us to put your hand on your heart and tell yourself, “I am strong. I am weak. I am flawed.  I am broken.  I am learning.  I am vulnerable.  I am human.  And despite all of this, I give myself permission to love myself unconditionally.  I am a growing, evolving being who uses past mistakes as fuel for my journey of growth.  I accept myself as I am, and I set an intention to become the best version of ME."
Ironically, the assignment I had the most trouble with, I found it personally invasive, is now basically what I journal about publicly.