This week I participated in an activity with some youth that is designed to recognize how unique you are and to appreciate the uniqueness of others—not just the great parts we like to show the world, or the less desirable parts we hide—the good and the bad together.
Often when I do these activities, I am a leader and I know the outcome. People do the activity and it is designed for them to realize things—not for me. I already know it, right? Otherwise, I wouldn’t be a leader. Wrong.
I was shocked at what an effect the activity had on me. Here’s the activity. Try it.
On a piece of paper, write out the following things:
- Your physical attributes
- What you do every day
- Your hobbies/interests
- What you are afraid of
- What you struggle with
- Who has told you that you aren’t good enough (not in those exact words, necessarily)
- What embarrasses you about yourself
Now, here is the fun part. Narrow down your thoughts for each of the items above to just one word. So, for example, your one word for #1 (physical attributes) might be “tall” or “large” or “blonde.”
When we all shared our words around the circle, one by one, I loved hearing the honesty and beautiful sincerity of everyone’s words. How brave and genuine and perfectly awesome and broken we all were together.
Then it was my turn.
Athletic, Strategist, Writer, Losing, Failing, Myself, Fidget
I suddenly didn’t like what I heard. How come everyone’s words were beautiful to me, but my words were so hard to swallow?
I think it is related to #4 and #5. I am afraid of not meeting expectations, mostly my own (hence, the word losing), and I feel like I am failing with the things I struggle with, as well as all the other items on my list, not just the struggles I listed for #5.
So my fears and struggles grabbed hold of all the positive parts on my list and broke them. Ouch.
It didn’t help that the very next day I messed up a project because of the things I struggle with, thus causing me to feel like a loser. This solidified both my fears and struggles into one perfect little storm. Double ouch.
I guess you learn things about yourself every day. Sometimes they are things you already know…but presented differently, like in seven simple words, they strike a new chord. Sometimes that chord is just a bit out of tune. So, I guess it is time for a tune up. Good thing there is always tomorrow. Maybe the athletic strategist will come shining through and tell the failing loser to take a hike. Hope so. I like hikes!