YOUNG MINDS 06
The Inside Story
Storytelling is an amazing manifestation of a person’s exploration and expression of private emotions, imagery and fantasies, and it is arguably the most interesting way to bring out the various layers of a character, either mundane or complex. If you think about it, very few could stand to observe a cat chasing after potential meals all day long if that cat and the potential meal aren’t Tom and Jerry!
Given the exceeding self-preoccupation that people often demonstrate, it may be assumed that there is one story that everyone cherishes and nurtures more than all others: their own. A story of their own life crafted in a mosaic of moods, thoughts, moments, relationships and lessons that are experienced. It has to be said that many of us would love the supreme flattery of being immortalised through a magnificent telling of the individuals that we are and the refreshing idiosyncratic ways in which we feel, perceive, aspire and desire in poetry set to a tune!
Since not all of us stand a chance of getting our incredible life stories published in print, we can nonetheless engage in creating our own ode starting with the wonderful enterprise of introspection. Otherwise called self-reflection, introspection entails withdrawing into our own private worlds for a while, away from the commotion of everyday dialogues and interactions, to take a look inwards. Spending some time with oneself to think about the different emotional responses, thoughts and actions you engaged in can offer you a ‘downtime’, a space to understand the days’ events and accommodate them in your rich inner life.
Such periods of reflection can throw up some wonderful insights about yourself that you weren’t aware of before. They offer an opportunity for one to shape their own principles. For instance, while deliberating upon a scene you had with a dear friend in which you had a difference of opinion, you may think of two things: one, difference of opinion with a close friend can hurt, and two, friendship can withstand any number of differences as long as there is mutual acceptance of each other as they are. You will be surprised at how many more simple ‘mantras’ of life you can come up with on your own terms that suits your life and relationships best because, let’s face it, we are not going to adhere to something that comes from others’ experience as much as we will if it is from our own.
There are several activities that facilitate introspection such as maintaining a personal journal, music, art, or anything else that takes your focus away from outside and within yourself. As one goes along with the ebb and flow of a tune, paint brush, or a dance beat, one remains self-aware and is able to express inner conflicts, worries, happiness or even confusion in a positive manner, giving rise to the satisfaction that one understand oneself a little better at the end of the day. The level of self-awareness than you can enjoy through introspection greatly improves your sense of self and emotional maturity. Once we have figured out our preferences and ideals, controlling and mastering our emotions becomes easier and adaptive behaviour is made possible in challenging situations.
You don’t have to be an aspiring spiritual leader to engage in introspection! It is easy to lose ourselves in a world that is full of the noises of others’ opinions and dictates. All it takes is a quiet corner and a little soul searching to find yourself at the centre of your very own story.
SANGEETHA MADHU & JYOTHI RAVICHANDRAN,
THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS- SCHOOL EDITION