One of the things that has been most helpful to me in my development of self-awareness and, ultimately, self-acceptance is journaling. For years, I journaled long hand and still have all the notebooks in boxes both in my office and in my attic (I’m not sure why I’ve kept them– I don’t really go back to read them but getting rid of them doesn’t feel right so they stay). Journaling, for me, is a way to get quiet and discover what I already know but haven’t yet allowed to bubble to the surface. It’s clarifying, and, for my personality, it creates new norms. It’s very hard for me to go against something that I declare and claim so if I journal, for example, that I need to start saying no more often to create more creative space in my days, it’s hard for me to then say yes to the next ten invitations without some introspection. Now, I still sometimes journal long-hand, but, in many way, this blog has taken over as my journal.
Even if you don’t journal at all, it can be really helpful to periodically engage in some deliberate reflection exercises. Because capturing your own voice is so essential in self-awareness in self-acceptance, there’s a fair amount of journaling, reflection work in Beautiful You.
Today, I’m inviting you to do an exercise for yourself that I started using in my workshops in 2009. I wasn’t sure how it would go over and whether or not it would be effective, but, over time, I found that it always led to really profound guiding statements for my students and myself.
Describe yourself in 25 words or less without using any physical descriptors or naming any of your roles. Don’t overthink it. Just write your sentence in a minute or less. I love this exercise because it allows the writer to see herself beyond her physical appearance or the roles she playes in life. In fact, it allows us to simply understand and, hence, embrace our essence. This exercise is featured in Beautiful You (Day 34), but I encourage you to do the exercise again as you might find a new grain of truth for you.
For example, here are two examples of my statements over time…
I am a woman who is proud of her history, aspires to use her creativity positively, and looks forward to her future.
I am a woman who is suddenly aware that I can control my destiny by creating the day that I most wish to have.
What are your 25 words? What did you discover or affirm in writing your 25 words?