Discovering my character strengths helped me to get a better insight to who I am. My top strength was creativity. At first, I was not sure I agreed with that. I am not creative – I do not draw well, I am not a painter, a poet, or a musician. I possess no creative talents. Though after reflecting a bit, I realized that creativity does not mean I have to be good at creating a piece of art. I am an abstract thinker. I understand things by using analogies. I like figuring out how to solve problems. One example of that is when I moved into my apartment this past August. My bedroom was the size of a walk-in closet. I’ve accumulated so much stuff from these past two years living in Richmond that when my brother helped me move here, it took five trips from my old place to his new place. He was driving my Jeep Liberty. Well when I moved in here, I seriously doubted there would be a way to fit everything into my bedroom. Somehow, I made it work. It was just like playing a giant game of Tetris. It was a frustrating situation, but I enjoyed the satisfaction of solving what seemed to be a near impossible task. Though I may not be artistically creative, I think creatively. I am also an over-thinker. I can over-think and over-analyze just about every aspect of my life. The downside to that is that it causes me to lose sight of what I am doing in the present moment. The benefit of it is that I’ve come to learn that every problem has a solution.
I also enjoyed learning about mindfulness, social emotional learning, and emotional resilience. Being mindful is helpful in putting aside my “mental clutter” and focusing on what I am doing in the present moment. Short meditations before stressful situations, like taking an exam, is a great way to calm down and stop freaking out over what I do and don’t know and what my exam grade will be. That anxiety right before taking a test is not beneficial. If I prepared for a test and studied, then I will be fine. If I didn’t prepare, then it is likely that I will not do so well. My opinions or feelings about what the end result will be are irrelevant right before taking a test. If I know it then I know it. If I don’t then I don’t. Although many times I can make situations out to be more complicated than they actually are. It is a character defect of mine. The things I have learned in class, such as mindfulness, paying attention to what I’m good at, recognizing that actions or outcomes are not definitive of my character, and being kind to myself, will help me grow. Often times, it is difficult to notice when I’ve improved and how much I have changed. I can only see myself from my perspective – I cannot see myself from an outsider’s point of view. My friends in my recovery network remind me that I have improved a tremendous amount from the time they met me almost two years ago until now. It feels uncomfortable being praised. That probably stems from how much I mentally beat myself up but that is an issue I will not go into detail about. My point is that through being made aware of myself, I am able to pay much more attention to the choices I make. Making positive life choices for myself will help guide me in the right direction and will ensure that things will turn out, maybe not the way I want them to, but ways in which are best suited for myself and overall well-being.
The picture I chose to represent how I felt about this semester is one that my mom emailed to me a couple of weeks ago when I was having a really bad day. In that picture, I am either 3 or 4 years old. I’m doing a karate kick while wearing my ballerina outfit. I think that picture of me is a funny, but realistic representation about how I approach life. I may be experiencing one thing, but I am able to quickly adapt when the situation calls for it. I have experienced a multitude of emotions, problems, and challenges this semester but I made it through in one piece. Somehow, I found ways to redirect myself or adjust to my varying array of challenges.