Relationships are complicated. They just are. But sometimes the most complicated relationship we have is the one we have with ourselves. How we view ourselves, how we relate to ourselves mentally, physically, spiritually matters. The amount of guilt absorbing, forgiveness, shaming, celebrating, embracing, soothing and caring for ourselves all contributes to that relationship. Even something like adhering to our own values, being assertive and setting boundaries with others, factors into our relationship with ourselves.
Mindfulness includes becoming aware of oneself in a way that notices, acknowledges, and responds to these many complicated facets.
This activity helps teens and adults gain more awareness into these complexities and that awareness has the capability to change everything.
All you need is paper, old magazines, glue or tape, scissors, pens or markers and mirror paper (optional)
1. introduce the activity by discussing the complexity of relationships. What makes relationships so complicated? What are factors that are important in relationships? (Time, attention, mutuality, respect, care etc)
2. Discuss and elicit from the individual/group ideas about the relationship with one’s self. How is this the same or different than relationships with others? Is this something we commonly notice or attend to in the same way?
3. Introduce the activity as a way to create a collage exploring the relationship with oneself. Encourage individual/group to come from a mindful stance of curiosity. Simply see what comes to awareness without judging it.
4. Allow space for the individual or group to share what they created. How was that process for you? Was there anything that surprised you that came up? What emotions did this elicit? Was it difficult to keep a non judgmental stance? Why is a mindful stance important in this process? How could a mindful stance about oneself on a daily basis be helpful? What are tangible ways to live this out?
Remember: keep a trauma informed stance of helping the individual or group feel safe. Let them know this could bring up hurtful past experiences like trauma (which often shape or change the relationship we have with ourselves) and that they always have the choose to stop, take a break, and choose to include or share only what they want to (empowerment).