Wednesday 4 October 2017

#271 Selecting a character from the ones inside our heads

Of all the parts to my morning routine, it was the shower that woke me up. I wasn't a morning person but after twenty minutes under steaming hot water, I could usually tolerate the world.

It wasn't uncommon for my mind to whir away. Everything about getting clean and dry was done on autopilot so there was plenty of time to think. Some days I just thought about whatever came up. A freewheeling inner monologue. At other times, I'd take a more discerning approach.

I'd heard, from the first coach I'd met, that in the interest of self-awareness, it could be beneficial to assign roles to the internal stances that arose in deliberations. When wondering what to have for breakfast, the child might suggest something chocolatey. The adult might go the other way and suggest fruit. If I didn't really want fruit but only felt like I should have it, I might notice that it wasn't just an adult voice, it was an overly judgemental one, like that of a strict schoolteacher. In that way, a set of characters were born.

The purpose of the characterisation was not to induce schizophrenia but rather to develop a greater awareness of the messages we give ourselves. To notice which of the wandering thoughts were beneficial and which were not. There was room for fun in the exercise. The characters could correspond to any film, play, literature or TV series. Friends and family members weren't always a good idea as I tended to be biased when evaluating how useful they were. Characters from stories were simpler and played more obvious roles. Star Wars was a pretty decent example, as it had a wide range of identifiable characters.

The next step was to think about who I would want to listen to under the circumstances. Considering their different strengths and imagining how the plot might play out. In theory, the more experienced I became in identifying the types of thoughts I was having, the quicker I'd be able to arrive at the most beneficial perspective. To switch from Darth Vader to Han or Luke. Just as long as I didn't take it too far and end up closing my eyes and trying to ride my bike using the force. Even mindfulness exercises had their limits.


Running on empty said...

It can be helpful, sometimes, to live in a place with less choices. Not for people with allergies,or medical conditions that require specific items or services, but for the rest of the population. Too many choices becomes too much sometimes, resulting in no choice being made at all.

Profound Familiarity said...

At other times, I imagine the availability of choice provides ideal conditions for a greater degree of introspection and self-awareness.

Running on empty said...

How so?

Profound Familiarity said...

A poor customer whose only choice is bread or hunger only needs to know whether or not she is hungry.

A wealthy customer in a supermarket on the other hand may consider nutrition, expense, taste, advertising and other factors. In doing so, she may more carefully reflect upon her own dietary needs, finances, preferences, persuadability etc.

This is especially true over time.

Running on empty said...

I don't get that impression when I see the unhealthy crap in other people's trolleys.

Profound Familiarity said...

Lots of junk guzzlers are there?

Running on empty said...

I guess so! Do you buy healthy food?