how to know who you are 101

Today in class, our professor chose what many people may consider one of the world’s hardest questions as an icebreaker. He requested that after he called our name, we would tell the class our answer to the question “Who are you?” Although my last name puts me fairly high on the attendance list, there were many people who spoke before me that answered this with confusion and lack of surety. “I have no idea who I am”, “I don’t know the answer to that question”, “I’m here to find out”, and so on. This truly shocked me. Surely, not every person on the planet can have complete self awareness and understanding, but at least a little bit? Apparently not.

I feel as though many people do not understand what it means to know who they are and that is why they feel unfit to answer that question.

So today, I have decided to teach my own condensed class on how to know who you are. Enjoy!

Step 1: Remind yourself of what you do know: the concrete things about yourself.

Each person on this earth should have a few things about them that they are sure of. Whether that be where you live, what you do on a day to day basis, your gender, your age, your goals, your name, and so on, it is usually something. Although we all may not know all of those, we should all know at least a few.

Step 2: Accept that a large part of who you are is pretty much as far from concrete as it gets.

Who we all are is incredibly fluid and constantly changing. From year to year, month to month, day to day, and even second to second, who we are is evolving and developing. As we learn and experience, different ideas and events that we are exposed to can change our perspectives and even sometimes our core values. The more we know, the more likely ‘who we are’ is going to change. Often, the illusion that we have to be able to describe who we are in a few short minutes and in an organized and simple matter is what holds us back from realizing that we do actually know who we are. Who we are is one of the most complicated concepts, despite its simplicity (see step 5). It is not something that we can summarize quickly or efficiently. It would take decades for one to truly comprehend who someone else really was… even then, difference in perspective can inhibit full understanding. We change constantly, and accepting that will put us one step closer to knowing who we are. The answer to that question is something that changes second by second, but if we are aware of ourselves second by second, we will still be able to grasp that answer. Our nature, our nurture, our past experience, our family life, our intelligence, our aspirations, our successes, our failures, our habits, our quirks, and so much more all play into our answer to ‘who we are’.

Step 3: Realize that who you want to become plays a huge role in who you are.

A friend of mine told me that she struggled with the difference between who she was now and who she wanted to become. She asked “If I want to be a kind person, does that mean that I am a kind person?” Who you want to become is a huge part of who you are. Look at it this way: if I want to become a more courageous person, I am someone who wants to be more courageous. I am someone who wants to become better, therefore I am someone who wants to become better. It is as simple as that. Goals and aspirations make up a large part of who a person is. Without thought for the future, and things to work towards, it is hard to find yourself, let alone be able to describe that to others. I want to be a professional writer one day. I am a writer now, but I am also currently an aspiring professional writer. This, of course, plays into the fluidity of each individual’s answer to ‘who are you’. But it is important to accept that who you were in your past and who you aspire to be in your future both play roles in who you are right now.

Step 4: Take time alone, free of distractions, to reflect on yourself. (sorta cringe but highly essential)

If you don’t think that you know who you are, find out: get to know yourself. In past times, before I discovered who I am, I would constantly fill my head with outside stimulus to escape the scary thought of having to spend time inside my own head. However, once I started to allow myself time with no music, no TV, no people, no book, no action, I began to get to really know who I am. Spending time with no outside distractions and engaging in self reflection can be essential to discovering who you are. Be alone in your head, evaluate and reflect on your ideas and experiences and opinions and traumas and happy places and everything else. It seems a daunting task to begin with, but having a strong idea of who you are can be one of the most empowering and comforting feelings. This doesn’t have to be done in a meadow high up on a mountain or in the clear blue waters of the Maldives. Even just in a chair in your living room, or on a bench in the park. Just do some self reflection; I promise there is a lot to learn and it really isn’t as scary as it seems.

Step 5: Do not complicate this. Be honest. Listen, observe, and accept. This is about here and now.

When you realize things about you, accept them. While self reflecting, if you come to the conclusion that you are a very lighthearted person, accept that as part of yourself, and then continue with some more self reflection. If you realize something negative, do not pass by it or try to deny it in your head. Be honest with yourself in order to attain true understanding. Acceptance of the good will help you to hold onto and continue it and acceptance of the bad will help you to work towards abolishing it. Do not overcomplicate things that are clear to you. If you see a trait or a goal or an idea or an opinion, feel the power that it gives you to accept that it is part of you, and then do with it as you please.

I hope that this has been helpful in even the smallest of ways. Thanks for reading!

xo, Professor Emma

is ignorance bliss?

“The art of knowing is knowing what to ignore.”

Rumi
This picture speaks much louder than any words could. From a realist’s point of view, the prisoner on the left will probably find more satisfaction in life due to his blatant honesty with himself. On the other hand, the prisoner on the right has acquired the ability to take himself beyond the four walls and the big metal bars and gain happiness, even if only momentarily. So, which will actually be happier?

The world is a scary place

There is beauty and good and positivity and I try to focus on it

But the more I learn, the more I am disappointed and the more I am scared

I want to spend life entranced and interested and curious

But the more I learn, the more I am disappointed and frightened

Is this it? Will I ever be able to kick this feeling?

Will I ever be able to wake up one day and be content, despite all of the knowledge that I have of the world?

Or will I only be able to find contentedness by ignoring my knowledge? 

Will I have to ignore what I know to be happy?

Is that what I am doing now to be happy?

Is there ever true, genuine, lasting happiness with everything that is going on in this messy, messy world?

Or will we have to fake ignorance to find fleeting moments of satisfaction? 

Some interesting food for thought:

thanks for reading. xo,

Emma

lover’s balm or hater’s bombs?

In North America, self disclosure is both very common and a direct sign of trust and friendship. Self disclosure is measured in terms of 1. how common knowledge of the information is, and 2. how personal the information is. Although self disclosure can bring us closer to people and allow us to connect with them on a deeper level, it also has its downsides. 

On a test that I recently took in my Human Communication and Interaction class, there was a quote that read: “. . . when you permit yourself to be known, you expose yourself not only to a lover’s balm, but also to a hater’s bombs. When he knows you, he knows just where to plant them for maximum effect.” 

Let that sink in. 

Opening up to someone that you trust can either be a significantly rewarding and comforting feeling, or one of absolute regret and embarrassment. I’m sure that we have all been in both situations, hopefully the positive one more than the other. 

I, myself, am a very open person, and find that sharing my personal experience can often help people in some way, whether that be inspiring them to do something amazing, discouraging them from doing something stupid, or simply letting them know that I completely understand where they are coming from. However, this has definitely come back to bite me in the butt on more occasions than I would like to admit. The idea of being raw and real with people genuinely entrances me, as I have talked about in my previous blog post, be real, unique is chic.https://emmakdietze.com/2018/08/08/be-real-unique-is-chic/

In my human communication textbook, 5-10 questions were discussed that people should ask themselves before engaging in a high level of self disclosure. 

Here are a few that I considered very important

  1. is the self disclosure reciprocated?
  2. does the person that you are self disclosing to care?
  3. is the timing appropriate?
  4. is the environment appropriate? 

Due to my less than fortunate past experience with engaging in self disclosure, I am often overly cautious about sharing things that I consider very personal to me. Even on the somewhat rare occasions when I do share, I often play things off as a joke and refuse to let emotion accompany my personal information. The two have often been an awful pair on one too many occasions: emotion and personal information. 

My purpose in writing this is not for sympathy. Instead, it is to encourage all of my readers to care and listen. When people tell you things that are clearly meaningful to them, listen. Show them that you care about them and about what they are saying. Put down your phone, your laptop, your book, your pen, and be in the moment. Make eye contact to portray your level of care. Nod, smile, shake your head, frown. Respond, but don’t interrupt. Simply keep in mind how much trust they are placing in you when they begin to self disclose. Put yourself in their shoes and consider how you would feel if they were treating you the way that you were treating them. 

This has hurt me, and I don’t want others to have to experience the same pain that I have. Next time that someone begins to speak to you about personal things, listen, look, and care. 

Just think: are you going to be the lover’s balm, or the hater’s bombs? 

Thanks for reading, 

Emma

why I don’t consider myself a feminist

Although feminism is supposed to promote equality, the name itself deters it from the ability to do so. Although the definition makes it clear that it is pushing for equality, it also points out that it is attempting to do so by focusing solely on women’s rights. Why not call the massive push for equality exactly what it is: the massive push for equality? Having the name of the advocacy for equality itself clearly favour one gender does not make any sense to me. 

Now before I get hate mail or angry feminists blowing me up, I am one hundred percent in favour of equality. I truly believe that in most things in life, no one gender is more capable or greater than the other. Of course, men are genetically built to be physically stronger and taller than women and women are genetically built to be more nurturing to the children that they birth, so on, so on, but generally speaking, both genders’ abilities are fairly equal.

There are great female CEOs and great male CEOs, great female dancers and great male dancers, great female engineers and great male engineers, etc. To think that, at some point, gender roles were incredibly oppressive, stripping people of both genders of their freedom to experience what would typically be a ‘man’s job’ or a ‘woman’s job’  is horrifying. There was no substance to claims that one gender could lead a company better than another; these claims were (excuse my French) bull crap. I believe that educational, professional, and career opportunities should be completely equal for both males and females and should not discriminate. However, I think that we should revel in the fact that men and women are so very unique and different, rather than trying to make two very different things the same. Oranges and apples are not the same, but they are equally important and should have equal opportunity. 

Now that my little disclaimer is out of the way, back to my point. In my personal experience, feminists have been known to take their ‘push for equality’ much too far, which I simply do not support or respect. I find that much too often nowadays, rather than choosing to fix discrimination by creating equality, people try to fix discrimination by simply switching it. Oh, a certain gender was discriminated against? Let’s fix it by discriminating against the other one instead! Oh, a certain race is discriminated against? Let’s fix it by discriminating against the discriminators instead! Fixing pain with pain and inequity with inequity will only snowball the problem into a much bigger one. It is unreasonable, especially because of the amount of pain or suffering that the victims went through, that those that were discriminated against would want to bring that same unrest upon anyone else. Why not instead be the bigger person (or group, as the case may be) and simply treat those who treated you poorly as you want to be treated, rather than how you were treated? Sure, it must be incredibly hard for these people to find it in their hearts to treat those that caused them so much turmoil kindly, but I genuinely believe that it can be done; it is the only way in which we will be able to put a stop to the circular pattern of discrimination and therefore help to our world be able to thrive. 

So, rather than focusing on females only, let’s continue to advocate for equality for both genders. Let’s not ignore the occasions in which women have pushed back so hard that they themselves have began to take away from men’s opportunities. Let’s not ignore it when the victims of discrimination become the enforcers of it, even if it is on a smaller scale. Let’s pay attention, say something, and continue to stand up for and protect those that are being treated unfairly. 

The simple truth is that this world will never achieve complete and true equality. There will probably always be an unequal number of men and women in parliament, or an unequal number of men and women in writing, or corporate positions, or acting positions, and so on. But rather than dwelling on that and allowing it to discourage us from attempting to make any change, let us instead focus on what we can do.

Frankly, men and women are not equal in a lot of ways. They are equal in importance and intelligence, but it’s simply untrue to say that they are equal in ability in every way. There are and will always be things that each gender can do better than the other one. Rather than trying to ignore or push aside that obvious truth, I think it is important to accept and cherish our valuable differences, while still being offered the same opportunity. Feminism, to me, has become a drive towards the idea of men and women being equal in all ways, rather than in men and women having equal opportunities, as it should be. 

I believe that in choosing to support equality rather than feminism, I am aiding in that little push towards equality. Back in the day, before women had rights, feminism itself was necessary and is the sole reason that the playing fields have become much more balanced in this day and age. However, now that things have evened out greatly, and women are much more often getting the equal opportunity that they deserve, I believe that we can replace feminism with a push for equality. I highly appreciate, value, and respect the things that feminism has done for women in the past, but believe that it is now time to choose to advocate for equality in a different way and under a different name. 

Thanks for reading and allowing me this platform to express my ideas. 

Yours truly, 

Emma 

 

 

 

be like the sun

I was looking through old pictures about a week ago and I came across a picture of a poem that I wrote 2 years ago.

 

be like the sun

rising and setting every morning and evening

so sure and confident, giving off a sense of unwatered independence

not relying on the approval of the world

but continuing to paint the sky

despite the absence of pictures, oohs and aahs, and Picasso name tags

 

be like the sun

casting light on the future, leading the way

with new excitement and enthusiasm for each new day

learning from the shadowed past 

but never dwelling in the dark

constantly looking forward and enjoying the light

 

be like the sun

distributer of hope, icon of positivity

always looking forward to the exceptional and overcoming the inferior 

staying optimistic and bright

completely unaffected by the inevitable darkness that will take its place every night

ready to rise and illuminate the world every morning

 

be like the sun

ever-giving, ever-shining 

generously enlivening the world

never looking for gratification or recompense

unselfishly putting others before itself

an inspirational, shining example

 

Although I’d love to change some of the vocabulary, flow, diction, and more, the message of this still rings true today. The lessons that the sun can teach us are never-ending: confidence, generosity, positivity, a goal-oriented mindset, an excitement for the future, and a self satisfied independence. I know that I, for one, was truly lifted up by this message, and I hope that it can inspire even one other person.

 

xo

Emma

 

 

the calm within the storm

Hello world! Long, long, long time no talk. I apologize for my inactivity on this blog. I thoroughly miss this outlet! I’m sure you’ve probably already heard much too much about university and school, but, it’s midterm season, so that is pretty much all I hear about at this point, and if I can survive, you can too. 😛

Quick update: I LOVE school. I feel so purposeful and productive, and I absolutely love both that I get to learn every day, and what I get to learn every day. I have been doing well in my classes and working really hard to be able to achieve that. Schoolwork is immensely time consuming and often wakes me up early and puts me to bed late, but I truly do enjoy it. Midterm season is in full swing, and the first few rounds of major assignments/tests are just coming to an end. I’ve spent countless hours lounging in various places across campus (and in my bed) and studying my heart out. Thankfully, this has paid off for the most part so far. I have met and made so many friends and become close with some of the most interesting, inspiring, and caring people. I have wonderful people to rely on, to talk to, to study with, and to celebrate the weekend with. This truly is my home, and I absolutely love being here.

In among all of this crazy busy excitement, I am feeling incredibly grateful for my family. The main non school related reason that I moved to Edmonton was to be able to be closer to all of my extended family. I don’t have time for much, but I always know that I can count of my family for some hugs, some good laughs, and all the support in the world. My family is kind, generous, loving, compassionate, supportive, and so much more. I am so, so blessed to have such a strong support system that I always know I can rely on. I receive offers daily for dinners and quiet weekends and dog walks and visits and talks. Despite the business of their lives, my family is constantly reaching out to me to include me in it. Although sometimes I don’t think that I express my appreciation enough, they really are a shining beam of light in my life, and I am so beyond grateful for all that they do for me.

My Gramma Ethel has been in a care centre for quite some time now. She is lonely, and I try to visit her as often as I can. I feel so blessed to be able to make a strong connection with her after so many years of living far away.

I don’t have pictures with everyone that I have had the privilege to visit so far, but here are a few of my treasures that I have collected with my loved ones. I am so blessed and so thankful.

 

Delicious eats with Katie and Lee

Another delectable dinner with lots of chats and laughs

All you can eat brunch with lots of the Orr gang 

Cousins, cousins, cousins… and Colton!

My precious Gracey 

And my precious Hayley

My beautiful bff, Hope

lonely vs. alone

alone animal bird clouds
Photo by Gabriela Palai on Pexels.com

Loneliness:

  1. affected with, characterized by, or causing a depressing feeling of being alone; lonesome. 
  2. destitute of sympathetic or friendly companionship, intercourse, support, etc.:
  1. lone; solitary; without company; companionless.

Alone:

  1. separate, apart, or isolated from others

I think that far too often people confuse loneliness with being alone. However, the two are drastically different. Here is where they vary from each other in a simple, but essential aspect: to be alone is good, but to be lonely is not. An overgeneralization? Maybe. A simple, useful contrast? Definitely.

I believe that to enjoy spending time with others and to love others, one must love themselves first. Not only is spending time alone important, but also enjoying that time with only yourself.

Loneliness is often a fantasy more than a reality. The idea of being completely isolated is, generally speaking, one that is not supported by actual evidence. You are not alone. Reaching out for help and support from friends or family is natural and healthy, and can help you to abolish the feeling of loneliness. It is important that complacence does not take the place of motivation to change the imperfect situation in which you find yourself; do not settle for loneliness when you have not done your part to reach out to others. Those around you do want to help you and show their love for you, they sometimes just do not know how. Loneliness is something that is often both self inflicted, and accentuated by others, not entirely up to those around you. Becoming content with being alone, as well as reaching out to others for friendship and love, are two simple ways which can help to either remove loneliness, or at least replace it with simply being alone.

Being alone allows us time to think and reflect, exploring and understanding ourselves better. Contentment with life will stem from legitimately knowing and appreciating oneself.

Nowadays I feel as though people consider time on social media ‘alone time’ which is sad to me. The fact that we feel the need to fill our time apart from others watching and checking up on their lives seems twisted. I understand that social media is fun and enjoyable, and can be used for good things, but it has created a sense of longing for constant interaction with others.

I remember times in life when I have been too afraid of my own thoughts to spend time alone and without another distraction. I would always blast music or watch a TV show, sit in rooms full of strangers, spend time on social media, or immerse myself in a book to get away from my own thoughts. Hiding from my own self was probably one of the most unhealthy things that I could have done for my mental health. Eventually, I turned around and discovered ways to cope with being alone and facing exactly what was going on in my head. I trained myself to sit and watch sunsets and just ponder life and myself as a person. I was not lonely; I knew I had support and love from people around me. However, I was truly alone, and genuinely okay with it. I allowed myself to rejoice in my successes and find disappointment in my failures. I reflected on what I could do to better my relationships with friends and family, I thought about what I could do to do better in school, I pondered what it was that I wanted to do with my life and what I needed to do to get there. I remember feeling very at peace with myself. I felt as though my purpose and direction were clear to me, and I knew I would enjoy my company along the way: myself. Although the idea of being your own best friend is cheesy, it brings a brand new spark to life, that is simply not attainable through any other friendship.

This summer, I lived in a house with a lot of busy people. I had my own room and although I spent time with friends and roommates, I often found myself alone. So, I decided to love that alone time. A conscious decision was made and things began to change. Walking around the lake, writing for my blog, painting pictures, finding new music, editing my movie, reading books, and running were just a few of the things that I began do on my own. I loved the time that I spent finding and enjoying hobbies; I increased my skill in certain areas, and just provided myself with an overall better quality of life.

I am thankful to have been able to learn to enjoy spending time alone before life became busier and more fast paced. The importance of taking time to just do me is a lesson that I will forever be grateful for. Among busy schedules, lots of schoolwork, and a lively social life, I always am able to remember and respect the importance of being alone. My health, both mental and physical is much better due to this time for self care, and I feel as though I am able to be a better friend and student because I also take time alone.