Monday, October 31, 2016

Another Social Experiment, and Here It Goes!

Another Social Experiment, and Here It Goes!
            When I was reading through the iExamin 2, my heart sank to the bottom of my body. The reason why I felt so uneasy is because I am never a nice person. Everyday, I enjoy being a little evil and misbehave a little. My favourite jokes are making fun at other people’s appearance and poke a little fun about their life in general. I know it may not be the nicest thing to do but I felt bored being the “nice” guy all the time. Occasionally, I just have to be a little bit mean to balance my “good deeds”. As a result, communicating with other people with kind, useful and true is like trying to chug 50 hotdogs into your body within a minute, which is impossible. However, I am not going to let this task slip through my hands that quickly. I created a “genius” plan.
            The day that I am planning to be kind useful and true is on a Sunday. Therefore, at Saturday night, which is hours before the “BIG” day, I went to Night Hounds to buy a stockpile of food, couple different light snacks, a gallon of milk and water each and couple buckets of ice-cream. I dragged my pile of heavy groceries back into my room. It was uneasy as each of my fingertips were stretched to the maximum angle in order to fit into 5 or 6 fully filled plastic bags’ handle. The path was hilly and the wobbling bags were very much of my concern. However, I finally made it back to “base”. After I unloaded my “precious cargo” all under my bed (except the ice-cream, which is in the freezer), I locked myself in to my room immediately and kept the door shut. I looked at the clock, it was 11:45 pm. Perfect! there was 15 minutes for me to execute my phase two of my plans. On my second phase, I took out my phone, iPad, Fitbit watch and my laptop out and maxed out the brightness of every electronics that I own. All those electronics, without any electrical charge, soon died out and turned dark. Success! Now with everything gone, at last, I just needed to deal with my roommate. I just needed my roommate to leave me alone for 24 hours straight, then I would have no difficulty at being not kind or vulgar in any means as I shut down all possible ways of communication. Fortunately, as it turned out, my roommate was gone for the weekend. He went back home and gather with his family for Halloween weekend. Things were going as planned.
            On Sunday morning, there was peace and serenity upon the Campion parking lot. Then, there were closed drapes that sealed all of my windows. Behind the drapes, I was lying inside my cozy bed with a Frankenstein book on my hand and I started to read. I got a bag of chips and a cup of full fat chocolate milk in reach and time seemed to go off slowly. Moreover, all my electrical appliances were dead so there were no alarms and whatsoever. I was thinking not acting badly in any kind of way will eventually ended up in a “kind, useful and true” behavior. However, as time passed by. There was one place I have to go on Sundays, and that is mass. I am so grateful to God that I was playing cello in mass that day and I did not have to interact with any sorts of people. It was sort of ironic that when I played through the hymns one by one from my cello, my notes were a little bit shaky. That means that my right hand, which is holding the bow, was shaking in such a degree that it was affecting my performance. The reason was not because I was nervous of performing but I was focusing so hard on being “kind and true” in front of the whole mass that I was distracted. Luckily, everything ended up really well and I did not suffer any major issues. Thanks be to God!
            The turning point of the project came when I need to play “One Heart, One Mind”. This piece was chosen in order to show our support and love to Gary Valinoti, who injured himself on Friday after felling two floors. That moment, when you were 25 feet away from Gary’s family and friends, seeing them starting to weep and cry as they loved their beloved ones so much was heart melting. The emotions, the feelings that I saw was incredibly powerful and it made me released my emotions bit by bit throughout my playing. I suffered less and less hand shaking and I paid more and more attention to the music that I was producing. Moreover, I was less and less agitated on the matter of being “true, kind and useful” but actually recognizing that I have the innate ability to do so. To be compassionate to others is already a deed that shows your affection and worriedness to the people you love within this community. I never recognize that I have such emotions under my heart until the others made me have a deeper understanding on these virtues. Till now, I genuinely sincere that Gary will be awake soon and start to enjoy the last and happiest life that he is going to have in Loyola. As the community becomes “One Heart, One Mind”, I am sure Gary will feel the power and love from us and eventually he will get a full recovery.

            The whole process is touching and emotional and I felt like my heart just rode a roller coastal ride on the ups and downs. Even though I did not pay that much attention to the rest of the experiment anymore as it went pretty calmly and straightforward. I found out that I learnt such an important lesson. In order to be kind, true and useful, nobody had to stress too much or be too agitated about being good. In fact, everyone already contained an affectionate heart and it was the love we bear that made us great people. This innate nature of human love would only come when we were in our natural state. Therefore, just be natural, be yourself. It was being oneself made one beautiful. It was because of one that made Loyola such an excellent community.

iExamen 2

            I did the iExamen 2 last Sunday October 30.  I chose to do it on Sunday because it would be easier to focus on the assignment without the distractions of classes and meetings.  Going into the assignment, I didn’t think I would notice much of a difference from my normal way of communicating; however, there was definitely a noticeable difference.  I’ve learned that being kind, useful, and true in all forms of communication isn’t as easy as it seems.  Through this assignment I’ve learned that sometimes the things I say to others don’t always fit these three criteria.  Being kind all the time is tough.
            I’ve always known that I’ve had somewhat of a dark sense of humor, but this assignment really brought the problem to light.  I found that my usual way of being funny didn’t work.  It wasn’t that I had trouble being kind because you can still poke fun without being mean spirited.  However, it is hard to be kind without being overly nice.  When I consciously try to be kind it just comes off as being fake nice.  I’m not sure why, but I find I easier to be kind if I don’t think about it.  I think that being kind and useful should come naturally, I mean if you’re being kind just because it’s what’s expected then it doesn’t really count. 

            I found that I often had to restrain myself with how I communicated in order to conform to the criteria of being kind, useful, and true.  I have a bad habit of coming off as crass and condescending with others.  I think my problem is that I don’t take the time to consider the best way to say what I’m thinking.  This assignment definitely helped me to consider how others would interpret what I want to say.  I found that as long as I took the time to think about what I want to say, then it would be much kinder that if I just spat out my thoughts like I’m used to doing.  Overall, I think the assignment helped me learn to think about how my communication affects others.   

Kind, Useful, and True: A Reflection on Verbal Communication

Communication is an integral part of our daily lives. It is virtually impossible to live life without some sort of verbal communication, even animals such as dolphins communicate through certain frequencies. Most of the time, we often say things without really thinking about them. This is why I found this iExamen particularly interesting. I didn't think much of it initially, but being conscious of each word I speak for an entire day, did bring me to conclusions about how I want to live out my daily life.

It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and I had plans to spend the day shopping in Hampden with friends. It was gorgeous out, and I was genuinely glad to be spending time with my friends rather than being cooped up in my dorm studying (it was tempting since I had a lot of homework to do!) It was easy to be honest about that. I did express verbally how glad I was that we made those plans. I am a generally honest person, but sometimes it's hard to balance kind words and honest words. What happens when something is true but not very nice to say? Are white lies okay? Sometimes you can argue the case but I always value honesty even if it isn't so easy to hear. I tried on a sweater at cloud 9 and felt chunky in it, and I was relieved to hear from my friend that it was indeed a bulky looking sweater. I wouldn't want her to cover that up with a white lie like "no you look great!"

Initially, I thought the task to be pretty simple, since it is rarely my intention to hurt someone with words or even make mean "jokes" about other people. I generally dislike this type of joking because it can often have a serious undertone, and although you brush it off as a joke the other person might still be hurt. Words are such a powerful tool. I realized throughout the day to be conscious of words and their connotation, or effect on people. It is hard to define what makes words "kind" and "useful," and can to some extent be subjective. 

The hard part of the iExamen was just to stay aware throughout the entire day. I started off the day really well and was happy, but it was a long day and I began to grow tired and hungry. I am not the most pleasant person to be around when this happens because I start to get "hangry." It was harder to stick to being kind when my mood changes. After lunch and a large cup of coffee, it became easier again to stick to the task and put the energy into my reflection. 

At the end of the day, I realized that I generally stayed more positive throughout the day. In the future, I am definitely going to try to stay more aware of what I say and how it affects others. I generally say things that are kind, useful, and true and try to filter out anything mean, dishonest, or not useful. My mom always said, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it" and I always tried to follow this rule, but sometimes we can unintentionally hurt someone. The iExam showed me the value of self-reflection.

Iexamen II
Alonso Parra

I believe we all often forget how important it is to do self-observation exercises, this in order to be aware of how we deal and communicate feelings to our surrounding. It is also right to point out that sometimes we are not even aware of how we treat ourselves. Are we being truthful to ourselves? Are we being kind to ourselves? It is very common for me for example, to over demand from myself. I usually tell myself that I am not tired, or that I should be keep going. Then, I tell myself I will have a short nap to recover some energies, maybe half an hour would be enough. That is a lie. This happens way too often, especially when I use the nights to work on my assignments. Then what happens, is that I over sleep and wake up being absolutely angry at myself for letting this happen. Sometimes I get really offensive with myself, and to try to remain academically on my writing, I will not elaborate on said insults. There needs to be a moment to stop, think, and be aware that, for the mentioned example, I was being totally useless about my efficiency and time managing. Also I am very sure that I was not kind at all with myself.
As the last time, I chose Saturday for the conducting of the Iexamen, because I think is the day in which I communicate the most with people around me. Specifically, with my friends and roommates, as with my family and friends in Chile. Also on weekends there is time to go out of campus, as we exchange students go sight seeing a lot and often carpool for groceries.
First thing in the morning I was not feeling kind at all. My apartment was filthy and I felt I was the only one that cared about the situation. When I remembered that I was doing the Iexamen, I stopped and thought very well what I was going to say to my roommates. I was not going to say something kind but I did think of something useful. Instead of scolding them as I probably would have in a regular day, I proposed the idea of going to a supermarket to get some cleaning supplies. It was very useful, and at the end we all had a clean apartment and I was not the only one feeling good about it, the dorm had a new vibe. I did not wanted to tell them I was doing this exercise, so I thought to myself that I really saved myself from an annoying antagonizing scolding against my roommates.
I am a person with a very good sense of humor. I was always the joker around my friends, family and teachers. Sometimes, when a humoristic situation takes place, my friends automatically wait for my joke to come, or they say, “Ok say something”. The funny thing is that the friends I told about this exercise abused on the facts that I had to be truthful and kind. They even began to tell among themselves about it. They said that I could not be mean, or else I would fail the class. As I said before, I have a very good sense of humor so we just laughed about it.
Taking it more seriously, I noticed that it is so easy to be kind and useful. I think I never stopped to think of how important is, for example, to tell my mom I love her. I cannot say that it is something useful, because I am probably not gaining anything by doing it. But that does not matter, I was kind to my mom, and I saw that she was so happy about it, I felt bad for not doing it more often. Of course I have to mention that I was also being truthful. I do love my mother very much.

As for other chances of practicing this exercise, I notice that when you are too kind to people you are not used to be, they might think you are flirting with them. I would like to stop right there to think about how seldom is to be kind nowadays. I do not want to be extremist about it, but it is concerning that people believe that kindness necessarily means to obtain benefit of someone.

IExamen 2

Difficult to Say Kind and Useful Things

At first glance, the assignment looks to be easy because I thought that I always said things that were kind, useful, and true. I made it about a quarter of the way through the day before realizing that this assignment was going to be harder than I initially thought. When I woke up, I found it to be honest and kind to my roommates, but once I started to talk to people outside my roommates it became harder to only say things that were useful. I found it easy to say things that were truthful and kind, but I did not know how to go about saying things that were useful. I could not determine if what I was saying was useful. It was quite obvious that I just started to talk less since I thought that most of the things that I planned on saying were not useful. As it got later and I started goofing off with my roommates, it became increasingly difficult to keep my conversation kind. At this time the only thing I found to be easy was to keep everything true.

            When I was at work, a few people came to see me and we were messing around, but I would always hesitate to say something because I wanted to make sure it met the criteria of the assignment. My friends noticed that I was being a little nicer since I tend to be mean. I told them about the assignment and they could not figure out how I made it through the entire day saying only kind things. I told them that it was easy to be kind, but I just do not think about I am saying most of the time so I do not realize that I am being mean until after I have already said it. When I got back from work, it became difficult to say keep myself saying kind, useful, and truthful things because that is when I started goofing off with my roommates.

I did break the rules one time because I forgot about the assignment and I saw an opportunity for a joke about my roommate that could not be passed up. I would not have minded if I broke the rules once, but I said something that went against all three requirements of the assignment. The joke was inappropriate, so I will not say it. I do not think that the joke was truthful in any way. It was not kind at all, my roommate took it very seriously when I said it, but he realized it was a joke after a few minutes. As for the usefulness, I am not sure if it was or not because it was not necessary, but it also made us laugh and that is the idea behind a joke.

            While doing the assignment, I seemed to talk less and was less funny when I asked my friends. They continually asked me if I was alright since I was not talking as much as usual. They also told me that they missed my jokes about making fun of them. I felt better trying to nice to everyone, but I also missed the freedom to say something when it came to mind. I feel that I will try to say things that are kind, but not everything will be kind. I will try to keep saying kind things to strangers; I tend to only be mean with my friends because they know I am joking. As for saying things that are useful, that is going to be much harder, but I will try to say more things that are useful in my mind.

iExamen 2

iExamen 2
Lexie Trzcinski
Self-Observation Through Communicating

After doing iExamen 2 I noticed a variety of different ways in which I communicate differently with people that I didn’t notice before. This iExamen was different than the first because I didn’t pay as close attention to the kindness in the way I communicate with my friends. While doing this Examen I noticed that I was thinking more about what I was saying to the people around me. For the most part, when I am around my friends I don’t think I need to have much of a filter because I am comfortable enough with them and we are able to tell each other how we feel. I noticed that my communication was noticeably different while doing this self observation.
My family and friends have always told me that I can be a little sassy when I am talking to them. Unfortunately, I do this without even noticing that I am being slightly rude towards them. For example, my tone of voice will change dramatically which makes it sound as if I am angry. Another example I have noticed recently is when my boyfriend occasionally asks if I want something I will quickly say no in a tone that comes across a little rude. When this has happened he responded, “What about no thank you.” I immediately realize that I didn’t say that and I apologize. I feel as if people don’t always take into account the little things that you know you should say to people. I appreciate being called out on those small instances because it’s a reminder to me the kind way of saying things. I believe this happens when you are talking to people who you are close with because you aren’t concerned with making sure you say the right things to them. For instance, during this assignment I noticed how many times I said thank you to someone that was holding the door for me. It’s a simple thing to do, but so simple that you sometimes don’t even realize it because it is something that you were told to always do. While doing this examen I felt a little funny at times because it took me a few extra seconds to respond than I usually do. Each time I was about to say something I had to give it just a little more thought to make sure it was kind, useful and true. I think communicating along these lines both helps and hinders people. It helps because it allows people to avoid gossiping about other people because gossiping isn’t necessarily useful. During this assignment my friends would gossip about people but I wouldn’t respond, they found it a little odd that I was just sitting there but I pretended as if I wasn’t listening. I also feel as if it hinders you because you have to concentrate more on what you are going to say which is going to take more time and effort. It is almost as if it makes conversations a little choppier and unnatural because everything doesn’t just flow right out. A few times my friends made a rude comment and I responded in a very pleasant way. My friends were a little caught off guard because usually we will respond in the same kind of way. Even though we don’t intentionally mean to sound rude towards each other.
After telling them about the assignment they responded in a confused way. They asked what class this assignment is was for and I simply told them it was for my understanding literature class. Unfortunately, they didn’t understand why we had to do this assignment because they thought it is strictly a reading and writing class. I had to explain to them that it is a service learning course, before I got too far into my explanation they had claimed they knew what I was talking about. But secretly I knew they just didn’t want me talking about my classes anymore. I personally found this assignment more interesting than the first iExamen because we had to think a lot more about the way we communicated with people. While the other iExamen we had to turn our electronics off for an hour and observe the the difference in communicating without having any kind of electronic on. After doing this observation, it has made me realize how little I focus on what I say to my friends and family. But also the opposite for the people I am not that comfortable with. Not only that, but it also opened up my eyes to how things can come across rude when I am not intentionally trying to sound that way.

The Need to Act Nice

Going into this iExamin I thought that it was not going to be too hard because I think of myself as a generally nice person and I feel that other people see me this way as well. I did not expect much to change as my behavior or the way that people saw and responded to me. I did notice as the day went on that it became increasingly hard to make jokes and have normal conversations with friends because of the fact that for the most part, negativity is what starts conversations. There were a lot of times where I did not have to force myself to be nice and kind, but there were other times when it really was a struggle because what I have been doing with those people became a level of comfort that shouldn’t be. We should always be kind to others, no matter whether we are joking or not. Whether the person can hear us or not as well. I noticed that my group of friends never really takes time to take into account how a person’s day is going, we can say that they might just be, being lazy or that they are always grumpy, but we never take the time to ask why these things are, and if we can help to change them. I went home for dinner with my family as well, and I think that’s when things were a little less strange, I feel that most of us have a filter for who we are when we are with our family as compared to when we are with our friends. My attitude completely changed once I saw this, I noticed that it was not right for me to be acting the way I do with my “friends” if my family has different ideas for what is appropriate. I should treat everyone the way that I treat my family because I feel that is when I am at my best. I put friends in quotations, because through this I am realizing that, I am not sure if these are the people that I should be friends with or not. I do not know whether the people I am associated with are the type of people that I want to be associated with and that may change in the near future. Overall I feel that if we are all nicer people and act the way that we should instead of focusing on the negative in people, the world would be a better place because there would be less of a need to have to act mean and more of a need to act nice, especially when you are trying to fit in.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Difficulty in Positivity

I would be lying if I said it didn’t feel strange to practice self-observation by being sure to say what I think is kind, useful, and true. Before beginning this exercise, I thought it was going to be easy – how hard could it be to stay positive throughout the entire day? After about an hour of holding myself back from making negative comments or gossiping, I knew that having a positive outlook on the whole day would be more difficult than I thought. I realized that I spend more of my day speaking negatively about situations and people than I do appreciating the little things in life. I noticed that I usually communicate with others by either complaining about something or adding similarly negative comments to my friends’ complaints.
            I found it very difficult to not be able to chime in when someone started gossiping about someone or started complaining about how much work they had for their classes on Monday. All I could do was try to stay positive and steer away from adding any negative comments about how I was also drowning in schoolwork or how I’m also annoyed by said person. I tried to only talk about what had been helpful to me during the course of my day and what had made me happy. I chose not to tell anyone about the assignment to see if they would notice a difference in my communication. Because I tend to heavily add to a gossipy conversation with my friends, they did notice that I had been more positive than usual and found it strange that I didn’t seem too interested in listening to them talk poorly about someone or a certain situation.
            After completing this exercise, I realized that when communicating with others, I tend to have a negative outlook and attitude towards the situations I am in and I don’t always speak highly of everyone I come into contact with. Spending a whole day forcing myself to say only kind, useful, and true things was definitely difficult, but it made me realize that I need to be more positive! If I continue to communicate negatively, I can’t expect other people to not complain and gossip about me. This exercise has encouraged me to think before I speak and has helped me realize just how important spreading goodness is, even if it’s just through the way we communicate.