I teach and often ask my students to do a lot of reflection. Many times, I start my class with a reflection question, like “What did you want to be when you were a kid?” or “When were you the happiest in your life?”
I hand out 3×5 cards and ask each student to write their thoughts down. They will discuss their response with a fellow classmate and that will usually lead to an open classroom discussion on the topic. At the end of class, I will collect all the cards so I get a chance to read and learn about each and every student. I want to know all of them. What are they thinking? What are their hopes and dreams? Who are they as a person?
This past semester I asked two questions I had not asked before:
1) Do you have any frequent, negative, internal narratives about yourself? If so, what are they?
2) Do you have any frequent, positive, internal narratives about yourself? If so, what are they?
The responses were fascinating. Some had mostly negative narratives about themselves. Others had mostly positive. A majority had an equal mix of positive and negative.
Out of my 30+ students, only 1 had no negative, internal narrative about themselves – one person viewed themselves in a purely positive light.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this exercise, but I walked away feeling a bit sad, surprised, not surprised, introspective and curious.
What if I polled more people, would I get a similar outcome? How much does our internal narrative influence and impact our life? How much does it affect our future reality? What if we aggregated everybody’s internal narrative? What would we get? The world as we know it?
I felt the need to express my mixed emotions and what came out was this poem. I shared it with my brother and he decided to bring it to life.
Check it out and let me know what comes up for you.
Fighting with Ourselves
Why do we fight with ourselves?
Can we not love ourselves?
Why do we self-sabotage?
Criticize and shamify?
Crimp and curtail?
Look deep inside and see Your Beauty
Look inside and feel Your Perfection
What’s not to Love?
and Political wars
What about the war
thats rages within?
Are we not at war with ourselves?
Are we not walking heaps
Of positive and negative energy?
Which energy will win out?
Which Force will sound the trumpet of victory?
Oh, but what difference does it make?
I am just one person
There are 7 billion of us
Let us take an inventory
Of our own positive and negative energy
All of us
Let’s aggregate it
Add it all up
What do we get?
The world as we know it?
The future is in our hands
In our hearts
Positive vs. negative
Which will we feed?
Which will we nurture and support?
Let us look deep inside and see our Beauty
Let us look inside and feel our Perfection
What’s not to Love?
If we can all become positive
Will not the Earth?
It is time
Vikas Narula (@NarulaTweets) is Creator and Co-Founder of Keyhubs (@Keyhubs) – a software and services company specializing in workplace social analytics. He is also Founder of Neighborhood Forest – a social venture dedicated to giving free trees to kids every Earth Day.
Vikas is passionate about purpose-driven entrepreneurship and teaches on the subject at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.
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