iExamen 2: Kind, Useful and True
An iExamen builds upon traditional Jesuit techniques of self-analysis, to help one become aware of the ways in which one communicates daily, and to help one hone those methods of communication, so one conveys their meaning clearly and effectively. This was the second iExamen I have ever done. Initially reading the instructions, I questioned whether or not I would be able to successfully perform the actions required. I had self-doubt about whether or not I would be able to really dig deep and observe my communication with others. I was also questioning if I really could communicate only positive things throughout an entire day. I am a very sarcastic person! This experience really changed my attitude towards my communication with others and shed a new light on who I really am.
I picked a Sunday to do this iExamen. Upon waking up, I looked inside myself to really process the way I communicated with others. My first interaction was with my mom. I was woken up by my mom and my dog. It was a little earlier than I normally would wake up on a Sunday, so I was a little less pleasant. I almost gave my mom attitude until I realized what I was about to say. I remembered that I needed to be kind and useful. Giving my mom attitude would not have been kind or true or useful. It would have been pointless. It was not necessarily her fault that my dog wanted to wake me up earlier than I normally do. I also said to myself that I am home, and that I need to enjoy every minute that I am with my family. Snapping or giving my mom attitude would have been pointless and dumb. Instead of giving her attitude, I said, “Good Morning! What’s the plan for today?” I am glad that I stopped a potentially negative exchange with my mom, and I am glad that this observation made me realize how pointless and negative a comment could be.
The rest of the day got harder. I am not a mean person. There are no mean bones in my body. But I found it hard saying things that were kind, useful and true. I am not shy about giving compliments, but I am also very sarcastic. I like to joke around a lot, especially with my family. This was a great exercise to perform over fall break, while I was home. I found it to be truly difficult. I joke around constantly with my parents and my family, so it was hard to find appropriate things to say. My dad and I like to joke around about stupid stuff such as working out or money. My dad and I went to the gym late Sunday afternoon and it was hard for me not to joke around with him by saying, “You need to lift more. You are getting chubby my friend.” My dad and I always have these sarcastic exchanges, especially while we are at the gym. It was really hard for me not to say those things, especially when he started the jokes. I had to observe and realize what I was saying. I had to say something kind and useful back. My dad was in shock that I did not continue the game, but I decided that sticking to my goals was important. I did not want to fail myself by saying something that was not useful, and truly not kind.
After the day was over, I had successfully performed the task. I analyzed my conversations from the day and realized that I had only said kind, useful and true things. I was able to do this not only when I was communicating with people in person, but also I was also successful in communication online (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). It was a very hard day though. I felt as if I could not be myself. All of the normal communication that I have was gone. My sarcasm was muted and my jokes were gone. I do say kind things normally throughout a day, I realized, but I also am very sarcastic, and that part of my personality was muted. I am glad that I successfully observed and analyzed myself, but I am not particularly pleased with who I became to be that day. I was not myself. I did grow in self-awareness, though, and that is the most important thing to come out of that day.