For the most part, I have long considered myself an introspective and reflective person. But RJ has given me a whole new perspective on what it means to be intentional about building my relationship with myself.
Though I am usually good at situating what makes me upset, I have not always been the best at situating why. Using RJ has prompted me to dig deeper into the underlying roots and patterns of harms against me, along with empowering me to better assess how I am impacting others. It’s helped me feel surer about the positionality I occupy in my relationships to others and in relation to myself. I’ve never felt more clarity and freedom in my headspace.
But that doesn’t mean it is always easy. RJ emphasizes the importance of space and it’s taken me a while to be gentler in creating helpful and healing spaces for myself. This has entailed new work-life boundaries, leaning into the energy I feel myself gravitating towards when I feel it, and making time to sit and grapple with deep feelings – whether uncomfortable or joyous – rather than quickly suppressing them and moving on with my life.
Our relationship with ourselves, like our relationship with any other being in our life, requires time, attention, and careful cultivation should we hope for it to return our desired outcomes. This year, I made it a goal to center myself and RJ has helped me do this in the most meaningful way. I’ve questioned my values, my perceptions of the world around me, and the ways I treat myself and why. Affective statements and questions, as well as modified, more informal versions of these two tools, have allowed me to hold mini-circles for reflection with me, myself, and I.
As I stand on the verge of entering my last year at Duke and exist on the brink of unchartered territory in the years beyond, I feel extremely fortunate to have found RJ when I did. Integrating RJ into my relationship with myself has been immeasurably empowering and enlightening for my personal and academic growth and plans.
With the help of RJ, I’ve found new ways to cultivate one of my most precious relationships: The one I have with me that takes place right inside my own head.