A friend I made in New Jersey sent me a list of self-awareness exercises about a year and a half ago. I know I’ve glanced at the list at least once, but I don’t think I ever started to actually do any of the writing.
I’m not without any inspiration for writing this evening. There’s two entries I want to make in regards to learning Japanese, another entry for Japanese music, two for Japanese food, one about love, and at least one entry discussing life.
I noticed something, though. As I approach my birthday, I’m usually quite optimistic. My birthday is in about three days, and lately I’ve been rather miserable. I’m not down because I’m getting older. I’m actually belittling myself because my ideas for celebrating my birthday have been things I want to do, without really considering my guests’ interests. But then I remind myself that it’s my birthday, it should be about what I want. So either I hate myself for being selfish, or I hate myself for trying to be selfless, there’s really no in-between.
Oh, I’m an awful person, no matter how you slice it.
But, I don’t know. So I figured, if I delve into these self-awareness exercises, I can judge myself accordingly. Am I so bad? Am I vain? Shallow? Just flat-out mean?
I’m supposed to write these down by hand, but that requires paper. I’m also supposed to allot 15 minutes to each question, and they’re supposed to be written down as a stream of consciousness. I might not be self-aware once I’m done, but I’m going to try. If you want, answer the questions for yourself, and click the tag at the bottom to see the other questions and my answers for them.
These first two questions are just preparation. Basically, if the actual questions get overwhelming, the plan is to have an idea of what is going to put me (or you) back to a calmer state of mind.
Number One: Make a list of at least 10 things that bring you comfort, excluding food. If you have more, then write more. If you can’t think of 10 things right away, that is fine. Just leave plenty of space, an extra page even and write them down as you think of them.
- Listening to music
- Warm baths
- Soft and fluffy blankets
- Being hugged by friends
- Petting cats
- Moon and stargazing, especially when the moon is over a body of water
- Wearing my hooded sweatshirts
- Writing/typing on the computer
- Doing crafty things
- Being around candles
Baking is the act of baking, which is why I felt it could be included because it’s not about eating but about creating something. Listening to music is pretty much about any music, though sometimes it has to be a slow ballad and other times I can be comforted by faster-paced songs. Warm baths, maybe with a bath bomb from Lush, maybe some candlelight, maybe something to drink, and I might never want to leave. Soft, fluffy blankets are the reason why I can’t get out of bed when I’m actually motivated to do so. My friends give the best hugs, or maybe I just feel biased towards them. I would have included dogs, but every dog I try to pet tries to lick me and is otherwise super-hyper, whereas cats are usually graceful and mild-mannered. Moon gazing should speak for itself, and while it sounds boring, I actually enjoy seeing everything illuminated by the moon’s silvery light. Daydreaming usually helps me process my thoughts without committing them to any kind of media, and imagining an argument never leaves me with any anger or resentment for whoever I dreamed I argued with, so it ends up being a window to alternate universes because I never daydream things as they really are in this universe. My hooded sweatshirts are lightweight and they keep me warm when the weather is just a bit cold, so I’m comforted by not wearing anything too bulky, not to mention that it also means the weather isn’t too terrible. Writing and typing is another way to process thoughts for me, but if I’m working on actual fiction (which I haven’t done in months, and I’m disappointed in myself for that), then it’s also an escape because I get to create a world and control everything within. I like doing crafty things like beading, though my end result isn’t always as comforting as just making the craft. Candlelight is nice, and I sometimes play with jar candles out of boredom and curiosity.
Not that I really needed to explain myself.
So I guess I can move on to the next question.
Number Two: Make a list of what makes you feel safe. Try for at least one thing that makes you feel safe in the following ways: 1) Emotionally, 2) Mentally, 3) Physically, 4) Energetically, and 5) Spiritually. If something does all, then mark it as such, if it is only one or two things, mark it that way. It could be anyone, anywhere or anything, so long as it makes you feel safe.
- A significant other (emotionally, physically)
- Being in my car (mentally, physically, spiritually)
- Being alone in a room (all)
- Going to the mall (emotionally, physically, energetically)
With the exception of being around a significant other, I feel safest when I’m alone. Honestly, people can “attack” in various ways, without trying or meaning to do so. I could go anywhere, even someplace where I feel relatively safe, and if you catch me on the right day, I could be “attacked.” I know I’m exaggerating things a bit, so I’ll explain. Mother’s Day is coming up, and so is Father’s Day. Both holidays remind me that my parents aren’t in this world anymore. So if I go to the store for random odds and ends, and I see signs for the upcoming holidays, I’ll start to spot certain items and wonder if my parents would have liked receiving that item. It changes the mood at times and makes me sad, though I don’t get so sad that I can’t do anything. Of course, I can see the posted signs and be alone; it will happen. I can be alone but around strangers who start talking about their Mother’s Day or Father’s Day plans, and suddenly I miss being able to make plans.
Also, people can “attack” mentally. While it’s never fun for me to be the smartest person in the room, it’s less fun for me to be around someone who acts like or says I’m wrong about something. If I can tell that I’m around people who get their kicks from putting their noses into books that I haven’t, I will carefully phrase my statements so that the knowledge I have comes off as hearsay or just an emotional investment into the topic. I’m basically saying I know of something relating to the topic but I don’t know how well it holds up or if there’s a better counterargument against it.
Can people “attack” energetically? If you consider that a person can sap you of your motivation by making you feel comfortable, then it’s possible. I figure that if I’m alone in a room, my energy is what it is. If I’m at the mall, then my energy level corresponds to the reasons why I’m there, such as a low energy level if I’m there to see a movie or a higher energy level if I’m at the mall to walk around. My energy in a car can change depending on traffic or the music I’m listening to, and a significant other can change my energy in a number of ways.
I don’t tend to feel attacked on a spiritual level. I have friends who walk along different spiritual paths, and we all just accept what each other believes. I know I don’t play well with atheists, but this usually ends up being a mental attack instead of spiritual. And since I’m around people at the mall, it’s possible to be attacked spiritually, hence my answer.
Lastly, I feel safe physically around a significant other, because it’s my belief that my significant other would love me and care about me enough to defend me. If my significant other attacks me physically, they won’t be my significant other.
That list came faster to me, because I realized that I would keep naming things but add that I’d have to be alone. That’s not to say that being around people makes me uncomfortable or unsafe, but it increases the chance that something could be said or done to make me defensive.
Am I safe to post these statements? Probably not. Someone out there would be sadistic enough to try doing the opposite of these things to see if it bothers me. Am I comfortable posting these statements? Yes, because even if I become bait for sadists, I might also encourage someone to try and make me feel comfortable or safe. I figure most people will fall somewhere between, reading what I have written and nodding in agreement or thinking of what their own responses would be.
When I get to the main questions, I’ll be alone in a room, listening to music. I should already feel calm and safe, but if not, I have this list to consider.
And if you want to participate, you’re welcome to leave your response as a comment, but I encourage you to write your answer in your own journal of some variety (digital or paper). If you want the rest of the questions, click the tag that says “self-awareness questions” and I’ll have them posted as I answer them.