So one of my day jobs include making sure “at-risk” high school freshmen keep their academics up to par. While that is the main purpose of my position, I, just like the rest of my co-workers do EVERYTHING for these kids. One of the “EVERYTHINGS” include helping the students with character development in support groups, that we simply call, but no longer titled, “Girl’s Group” and “Boy’s Group”.
One of the activities I facilitated during ” Girl’s Group”, I asked the girls to write a poem describing themselves but write it as if they were describing a Temple. For example, in my poem I described my big curly mess of hair as a lush roof covered in spiraling vines. They didn’t get it. They struggled with things to write about themselves. So I gave them questions to answer, “Well you are the temple, So What do people come to your temple for? Why do people want to be around you? What is unique about you?” They continued with, ” I don’t know Ms. Nai, this is hard”. So I said, ” What do you bring into a room with you? Are you the happy one? the angry one? the sassy one? Are you kind? or Are you the mom? What do you bring into a room with you?”
And, Wallah magic baby! I got great responses but my favorite one was, “I’m just real”. My response was, “Good, that means people come to your temple for the truth”. That question stuck with me because I know it wasn’t suppose to just stay in that classroom but that I myself was supposed to answer it. I find sometimes the things I say out loud to others is God’s message for me and this was one of those times.
So I asked myself, “What do I bring into a room? , What does my presence add to a group of people?”
Some of my kids already knew the answer for them but I didn’t really know the answer for me even though I told them I did. I was’nt able to answer that question with a response I was happy with for myself.
I mean being able to answer that question is the window to knowing really what is ultimately unique about you, but I didn’t know what was unique about me. I mean we all possess certain qualities that we put on display at different times and with different people but how do we know what is truly a virtue that only we possess. Answer, we all possess similar virtues, but according to Aristotle, a virtue isn’t something we can claim until it pleases us to carry it out.
If I only bring kindness into a room on Tuesdays , when the sun is shining, between the hours of 4-6, and when I’m wearing green stripes, I can’t say that I am kind because a virtue like kindness can only be fully possessed by you when it pleases you to do it, AT ALL TIMES. If ever it pains you to be kind, then you are not kind. You may do kind things but you are not kind.
So I took that into consideration when I was trying to answer this question. Before we can find the truth to this question, you have to understand that what we possess is going to just be different not better than what other people bring into a room. It also has to be authentic to you. What comes naturally to you and really encompasses who you are. You can fake it but why not just figure out what is special about you because it is in fact the reason people love you the way they do.
I actually answered this question on the train on my way to work, the answer came to me suddenly and thus I wrote this post two seconds later.
So What do I bring into a room? I bring into a room whatever is not already there. It took me so long to understand why I so easily switch in certain social settings, I simply fill the void. If everyone is extroverted, I tend to be more introverted, if everyone is dreary, I am the sunshine.
This used to frustrate me because I would be like Nai! Who are you really? I had to make peace with the fact that I am…whatever is not already present. I represent what is not represented. Knowing this allows me now to be me without remorse, guilt or shame. This is just who I am. Naturally, effortlessly, this is what is unique about me.
So I pose this to you all…What is unique about you? What do you bring into a room?
Post your answers below !