(My work-in-progress of compiling an exhaustive timeline covering the lives of 10 characters. I blur everything because I am paranoid.)
How well would you say you know yourself?
Weird question, right? But the thing is, you existed before you could understand yourself.
Every experience we have changes us a little. It’s part of being human. If you don’t know – really know – who you are, you’ll have a much harder time understanding why you do things.
It helps a lot when you run into a problem. It’s much easier to know how to adapt if you know what your own preferences, strengths, needs, and patterns of thinking are.
For instance, I noticed last week that I was struggling a bit with a scene in the new material I’m writing. So I stopped and asked myself, what seems to be the problem?
I know that I am an organized person. I know that I work very well when I have a consistent way of doing things. I know that I perform best with goals in mind.
The scene was a transition scene. The reason I was struggling is probably because, when I thought about it, I didn’t have a clear picture of how I wanted that exact moment to fit into the scheme of things. So I stopped, wrote a more detailed outline, and then compiled the timeline you see above. The timeline was a major headache, but you know what? I felt so much better after I made it. I had no problem finishing the scene after that. I could see how it fit into the big picture, so then it made sense to me.
Knowing yourself is also helpful when navigating emotions. Sometimes I react to things or people, and my reactions surprise me. Something they said bothered me, or I felt unexpectedly angry at someone.
It’s hard to resolve those things without knowing who I am enough to figure out why I reacted that way.
If you haven’t taken the time to truly figure yourself out, I highly recommend it. Take yourself out to a coffee shop, or for a walk, or out anywhere at all, and pay attention to yourself. Notice what you notice, and think about why.
When you understand who you are, you can more easily change and adapt.
Take the time. It’s worth it.