Back to Why Joyality?
Take a piece of paper or a page in your journal and answer this question:
Who am I?
Write whatever comes to your mind. It can be simple free association single words or phrases, or it can be full sentences- whatever comes to you.
Try to write honestly and only for yourself. No one else will read this, so you have nothing to prove to anyone. It is okay to acknowledge things you both like and dislike about yourself; be honest in your praises and your criticisms of yourself, trying not to downplay or exaggerate either.
There is no right answer to this question. This is simply an exercise to start you thinking about yourself in a way we are not often allowed. We are taught to focus on doing things, and we are praised, criticized and defined by what we do or don’t do. We are rarely recognized truly and honestly for who we are, and as a result most of us have no coherent answer to this question. That is okay. Your answer does not need to be coherent, it only needs to be honest. Get excited- this is an opportunity to explore yourself, to reacquaint with the parts of yourself that have slipped into the shadows of your everyday life, to remember what you know and discover what you don’t know.
After you are done writing, take a deep breath. How do you feel? Energized? Exhausted? Excited? Scared? Notice what feelings come up and try not to get attached to them. Simply let yourself feel them and breathe, letting them pass through you.
Now look back at what you have written. Try not to pass any judgment about your writing or about the impressions you get of the person you have created through this exercise. Simply notice the kinds of things you have written down. What have you focused on about yourself? Physical appearance? Relationships to others? Roles you play in life? Mental and emotional characteristics? Is there a balance between these aspects or are some much further developed than others? Notice what parts of yourself you know well and what parts of yourself you don’t have much to say about. You may notice, looking back over it, that there are aspects of your person you have left out completely. That is fine. Just notice.
Also take notice of how you feel about all of that. Are there parts of yourself you would like to get to know better? Are there ways that you currently define yourself that you would like to change? Again, just notice these feelings without becoming attached to them or to the person you “are”.
This exercise may bring up feelings and ideas about who you want to be, who you wish you were. That is natural. Striving to be better is a part of being a human being, and it can be a wonderful and fulfilling part of life if you remember the only person worth striving to be better than is the person you were yesterday. It is when we get caught up in striving to be better than others that we forget who we truly are and who we truly want to be. Use this exercise as an opportunity to accept yourself for where you are in the process of becoming. The purpose of this exercise is not to pass judgment or assign value, but simply to familiarize and connect you with who you truly are.