I’m going to deviate from my usual ranting for a minute and sprinkle some positivity into my blog.
Self-reflection is something that I don’t do nearly enough. It’s always been easier for me to focus my energy on other people and other issues, rather than focusing on myself. But it’s something that I need to do in order for me to grow as a person.
On June 8, 2012, I created two lists in my journal. One is titled “3 things I like about myself” and the other “3 things I could improve.” I wrote the lists on a suggestion by MissRepresentation, from whom I receive regular emails. The purpose of the exercise was to strengthen your sense of purpose and efficacy, a task that can prove to be particularly difficult for women. So, I’m going to take a whack at it. In the interest of brevity, I’ll just put my first list here (maybe the second one will have its own post later).
3 things I like about myself:
- I care about other people. I take great pride in the fact that I center my moral compass entirely on compassion. Compassion guides me through every part of my life, and although many people will say that this is foolish, I am not ashamed. In fact, I don’t really know another way to operate. I’ve never been one to think strictly logically or rationally – because in reality, human emotion is going to complicate just about everything. Instead of denying that fact, I try to incorporate it into my understanding of the world. I empathize with other people as much as I can by trying to see things from their perspective, and I tend to look for the good in others rather than the bad. I truly believe that there is something good in everyone and I always try to find it. The downside of my compassionate nature is that sometimes I care too much, in that I get too involved in helping others and I forget to take care of myself. I care deeply about people who are close to me, and I’ll do just about anything to be there for them. I know that this is a good quality, to an extent – I just have to be sure to address my own needs, especially emotional needs.
- I speak my mind. I’ve spent a lot of my teen years being afraid to voice my opinions in fear of being alienated and criticized. Growing up in a town full of social conservatives was not easy for me, and I almost always felt alone in my views. However, since coming to college I have realized that my voice deserves to be heard. My opinions are legitimate and valuable. I don’t give a shit if people don’t like it. I don’t give a shit if they find my views to be inflammatory or controversial. I’m not here to please everyone else – that’s not why I write. I am no longer ashamed to voice my opinions in a public manner because I know that my opinions are worth something, whether or not they are “correct.” I am a fairly articulate person (albeit verbose) and I feel confident that I can communicate what I mean in a reasonable way. And it is important for me to do that. As Barbara Kingsolver says, “Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.”
- I am strong. This is something that I don’t give myself enough credit for. I have only realized my strength through the encouragement and praise of others, which I am immensely thankful for. Although I’m still working on effective coping mechanisms, I have developed a sense of strength that helps me deal with my issues, from the everyday to the more serious. For the most part I am able to work through these issues and continue to thrive in social and academic environments. Some times are rougher than others – but my internal strength never collapses entirely, and so I am able to keep myself going even when things are really bad. My mom has been a great source of inspiration as far as strength goes, and she is the strongest person I know.
Speaking of my mom, she told me something today that only she would say. She said, “Becky, attitude is your paintbrush. So go and paint yourself a beautiful day.” All kinds of cheese were raining down at that moment (cheddar, feta, goat, Muenster, Parmesan), but aside from the obvious cliche it is actually great advice. My mom knows better than anyone that attitude can truly make all the difference. I tried to carry her words with me throughout the day and appreciate the positive things, giving myself credit for things that I accomplished instead of berating myself to work harder. So basically, what I’m saying is that reflecting on yourself, in a constructive way, can be extremely beneficial. Unless you‘re a straight-up terrible person, chances are you have done something positive today. Shit man, go stuff your face with ice cream and watch your favorite movie or something. You deserve it.