Writing heals. Writing calms. It connects and brings self-awareness. To write, we have to slow down our busy minds and focus on our purpose. It requires us to reflect on our thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and see them clearly–which is why journaling has been found to benefit one’s long-term mental health even more than assistance from therapists. This process of reflection engenders self-awareness. curaJOY’s Shining Moments are personal narratives of when people’s character strengths helped themselves or their communities. Both the reading and writing of Shining Moments focus our attention on what we’ve done right, character strength goals and when we were internally rewarded/fulfilled by these inner strengths. One of my favorite authors, Epictetus, writes “You become what you give your attention to.” Shining Moments begins a positive reinforcement cycle by exploring inwardly for those moments and consequently seeking to demonstrate character strengths so we can create more Shining Moments. Growth only starts when we put our attention and first recognize where we are, our strengths and weaknesses so we can enhance those inner strengths that we wish to possess.
When I first ask students to write Shining Moments, many of them come up empty and tell me they haven’t done anything great. They picture only news-worthy efforts at a Nobel prize level like Malala or Gretchen to be worthy as Shining Moments. That reasoning is akin to fledging falcons in their nests thinking they can’t immediately dive and soar like full-grown falcons so they might as well not try.
Start by asking yourself when you
1. Felt confident
2. Understood another person’s perspective
3. Worked well with someone else (teamwork) to achieve a group’s goal
4. Bounced back from a setback/disappointment and didn’t give up.
5. Restrained yourself from doing something that you wanted to but knew was wrong
Really dig deep and try to identify at least one example each from your life. This is no easy task because you’re not used to explorations like this. Start writing them down, and after a week, share a moment when you were the happiest with our community.