I am a living, breathing organism signified by the words ‘human being’. I am a material or physical being fairly recognizable over time to me and to others: I am a body. Through my body, I can move, touch, see, hear, taste and smell. The array of physical sensations available to me also includes pain, hunger, thirst, tiredness, injury, sickness, fear, apprehension and pleasure. In this way I experience myself, others and the world around me. However, there is another aspect of me not directly visible or definable. This is the aspect of me which thinks and feels, reflects and judges, remembers and anticipates. Words used to describe this aspect include ‘mind’, ‘spirit’, ‘heart’, ‘soul’, ‘awareness’ and ‘consciousness’.
This part of me is aware that I can never be fully known or understood by myself or by others; it notices that although there may be some unchanging essence which is ‘me’, this same ‘me’ is also constantly changing and evolving. So I am a physical body and an emotional and psychological (or spiritual) being. The two together make me a person. Being a person means that I have virtues and flaws, gifts and needs, possibilities and defeats. I am basically good, but I am capable of evil. I am neither an angel nor a monster.
Being a person means that I am a social animal, needing connection, recognition and acceptance from others, while simultaneously knowing myself as isolated and solitary, with many experiences which are never fully shareable with others. However, I also realize that this paradoxical condition is a universal experience, and this enables the emergence of empathy and compassion for others as it affords glimpses of understanding and solicitude, mutuality and intimacy. Being a person means that I am like all other persons, but also unique. It also means that I can never provide a genuinely definitive answer to the question.
I have thick boundaries. I am solid, rigid, implacable and thick skinned I brush aside emotional upset in favor of simply “handling” the situation and maintaining a calm demeanor. I suppress or deny strong feelings. I may experience an ongoing sense of ennui, of emptiness and detachment. I don’t actually feel thin boundry feelings any less. My bodily indicators (e.g., heart rate, blood pressure, blood flow, hand temperature, muscle tension) betray my considerable agitation despite surface claims of being unruffled. In summary, I don’t take in nearly as much in my environment and I am much slower to recognizing what I’m feeling. However, I am affected just as much as thin boundary people by what’s happening within. Physically ?I’m a child in a man’s body. I never really got the hang of this being a grown up thing. It doesn’t really agree with me.
Yet, I can be very sensible and mature at times. I’ve come to realize that I’m exceptionally strong. If there is a crisis and your life is falling apart, you are going to want me around because I’m fantastic at gluing people back together and helping them find a way out of the moment they are stuck in. But only if I like you. If I don’t care for you then I will nod in all the right places and help if I can but I will switch off and forget about you soon enough. I’m full of love and compassion but I save it for a very close circle of people. I’m loyal to a fault. I will stand by the people I love and do everything I can for them, even if it destroys me in the process. I rarely turn my back on people I love. It takes a lot for me to do it but if I close a door on you it’s never going to be opened again. I’m scruffy. I scrub up OK but I am one for dressing up. I prefer to spend time alone with just my family.
People exhaust me and I get bored and frustrated in the company of others unless it’s on my terms. I’m confident and insecure. I’m an introverted extrovert. I’m a friendly loner. I’m funny and serious. I am cold and caring. I’m smart and stupid. I’m a deep and philosophical ostrich. I’m a walking contradiction.
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