Becoming Kind to Myself
by Hani Choksi, student leader
My introduction to the Becoming Yourself Series came about when I first became a volunteer group facilitator during my 3rd year at McMaster. One week, instead of having our regular leadership training meetings, we were asked to attend one of the Reflection Circles to learn more about reflecting and leading reflections. That was the beautiful week when I first met Marybeth and was introduced to the Becoming Yourself Series (BYS). As I had never been to a reflection circle before, that first session was unlike anything I had taken part in and would soon be the main reason why I continue with the next two series of BYS.
I specifically remember one activity we did that day where we each took a piece of paper and tried to ‘mould’ ourselves and our feelings through that paper by folding, crumpling, and tearing off bits and pieces. I remember Marybeth guiding the activity by telling us that it was okay to just let our hands be free and express what they want, rather than trying to make something ‘beautiful’ or cohesive. By the time I was done, it was no longer what I started off with or something that would make sense to anyone else, but to me it still somehow felt right for the paper to look just the way it did.
The themes and feelings of freedom and safety while expressing myself have continued to stay with me as I continue to attend Reflection Circles. As I journal and do other creative activities, I feel comfortable expressing not only the good and happy parts of me, but also the parts that are more difficult and upsetting – something I have rarely felt in the past. The idea of showing self-compassion and treating myself “the same way I would treat a friend” is something that has made a huge difference in how I view myself and has taught me to be kinder to myself when facing negative emotions. I am very glad to have made this serendipitous discovery called BYS and hope to take the lessons I have learned with me wherever I go.