WHO AM I?
THE WHAT AND NOT THE WHY
by Mona Soorma
The other day, I was ranting to vent my emotions following a particularly irritating set of events when I was told that I am a very negative person.
That was a stunner!
Was it because I was ranting? This was rather extraordinary to my mind, firstly because I believe we rant to someone who we think has our back, whom we are comfortable with. Secondly, to me, ranting was a quick and effective way of getting rid of negative emotions so I could move on with a happy frame of mind and not let an annoying set of events spoil my day. I always think of myself as a very positive person, someone who likes to stay stress-free and tries not to let external things affect my inner peace. It’s true that my way of being positive is a little weird, I like to have a plan B and then a plan C for all the things that could go wrong so that I am prepared. That gives me confidence and peace but that’s just me. It may not be you and that’s okay too. We all deal with things in our own way, there is no right or wrong way here, just the way that works best.
But I am digressing from the point. It was unimaginable to me that someone who has known me for years would perceive me so differently. That put me on the path to introspection.
Am I really the way others see me as?
Does everyone see me this way or is it just someone’s personality that is colouring the reality differently?
What do I need to do about it?
So I thought about these things and the answers were not too difficult to find, at least some of them. I think I do need to delve a little more deeply into myself but I will not bore you with the details. What I want to say is that introspections are a really handy tool to get to know ourselves. And contrary to what I always believed, thinking that we know ourselves is not the whole picture. How we are perceived by others is also a part of reality that we must look into if we want to ourselves truthfully.
Here’s something interesting. Did you know that there’s a wrong way and a right way to introspect? Research tells us that plenty of people who introspect to get to know themselves better end up more depressed and stressed than those who don’t because they’re doing it wrong. They’re asking themselves the wrong questions.
Let’s go back to the questions I asked myself. I asked myself what I am really like, not why I am the way I am. Pondering what actions or thoughts make me appear a negative person and thinking about what I can do to be different or to be perceived differently will help me get better. Asking why I am like this or why am I not being perceived as I think I am is the easy way to get depressed. Why brings out the victim in us and that stresses us out and eventually makes us unhappy.
So the question to ask during introspection is what not why but what.
What am I? What am I feeling? What can I do about it?
The why is important to ask when we introspect about events. Like why did my book not do well? Why did I get a bad grade on my assignment? We need to find the answers to why here, so we don’t make the same mistakes again and can do better next time. But when it is about us, what is the golden question.
Besides, research shows that putting feelings into words helps us to control our negative emotions better by preventing the brain from triggering the fight-or-flight response.
However, introspection doesn’t always have to be dark and lonely! During my random thinking process, I came up with a fun way to get to know myself and to see if my perception of myself matches up with the others. Here’s how.
Think of yourself as various material things and see what you come up with. It sounds easy but it is not! Not unless you’re totally confident and self-assured which I am not!
So I thought if I were a flower, what would I be?
I would definitely be a sunflower, following the path of the sun with my whole being… that one was easy.
If I were a perfume what would I be?
Bubbly and light, maybe champagne, but definitely not fresh like lime. No citrus notes in me. Maybe a hint of jasmine sometimes, something airy… Sigh. I am still thinking. I haven’t come up with the right combination yet.
How about the wind?
I am definitely not a zephyr though I would love to be. I love the way that word sounds on my lips. I believe I am a steady and calm breeze, often picking up speed randomly to create gusts ( Hey! My gusts are my productive periods, not destructive ones!) Though my kids would probably liken me to a sporadic twister that sweeps everything in its wake and then disappears…
Do you see how things start getting clearer even when we’re having fun?
You can liken yourself to a fruit, a bird or animal, or a season. The list is endless. Then ask the others in your life to liken you to the same things and see how they differ in their perception. Think about what you want yourself to be instead and what you can do about it.
And with that, you’re on your way to knowing yourself and giving something to the writer in you to get busy with, as well. One stone two birds… so the saying goes. Get to know yourself. You are beautiful as you are, but remember that you are also a work in progress. Work on yourself to get even better. As for me, I am in the ‘editing phase’ of the book called Me, and maybe by next year, I will manage to become a fragrance that’s fresh but not fruity, with a near-elusive note of mystery in it!
Mona Soorma is a poet, writer, and translator from India. She enjoys writing in every form and loves to experiment but her genre of choice is poetry. She has authored several books of poetry and prose and is always looking to expand her horizons.
Apart from her writing, she focuses on giving a platform and a voice to Indie writers with her various initiatives to help them along in their journey.
You can find her as manicsylph on your favourite social media.
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