by Mark Sichel, LCSW
So you've decided to make your own personal flag, a representation of: the things you believe in, the qualities you admire in yourself and others, the things that are important to you, the obstacles you've overcome, and the future you aspire to reach. Congratulations! What a wonderful and self-affirming journey you are about to embark upon!
It may have been awhile since you pulled out the crayons, the construction paper, the pipe cleaners, the macaroni noodles and the glue, but have no fear, it'll come back to you in no time. Just keep in mind, you may use all, none, or some of the above mentioned materials to make your flag. You can be artistic and make your flag with craft supplies, or you can be a poet and make your flag with words or you can be a philosopher and leave your flag in your mind. The point is that you are now going to decide what is the essence of YOU. You will have a flag to raise, to rally around, to wave, to pledge your allegience to. All you need do is spend some time thinking about what you value and who you are and create some sort of artistic representation thereof.
Here are some concrete suggestions for creating YOUR personal flag:
- Review the following list of qualities that contribute to an individual's identity. Select the five qualities you most admire and rank them in order of importance:
- I have a great deal of integrity and highly value honesty.
- I can persevere in the face of adversity.
- I am brave and strive for ongoing courage.
- I am able to make commitments and honor them.
- I am organized and focused
- My determination overrides obstacles.
- I attempt to always do the right thing.
- I am generous as a human being.
- I focus on achievement and accomplishment rather than financial rewards.
- I embrace challenges.
- My achievements relate to a goal of inner contentment rather than outside approval.
- I am appreciative of my blessings.
- I value creativity and originality over conformity.
- I am honest and able to do a fearless inventory of both my strengths and weaknesses.
- I feel grateful to other people and to the world.
- I seek to give back to the world.
- I have a sense of wonderment at the universe and nature.
- I possess fortitude in the face of adversity.
- I have stamina in the face of exhaustion.
- I am strong.
- I am loyal.
- Now pick the areas of personal identity that are most important to you:
- Look closely at the inner values you selected from the first list, combine them with the general areas of identity above, and START CREATING YOUR FLAG! Look around you and you'll find all kinds of possible symbols: colors, animals, shapes, jewels, and astrological signs. Maybe you'll use symbols reflecting sobriety, sexual identity, gender identity, religion, and ethnic background. Favorite words, quotes, or song lyrics can become your motto. Foods, aspects of nature (sun, lightning, etc.), flowers, and whatever else you can come up with are all possible elements of your flag.
- Remember, there is no wrong way to do this exercise! Different symbols represent different things to different people. One person may see the color blue as reflective of the sky or the sea; another individual might think of blue as depression. Simply enjoy yourself, be playful and creative, and see what you can create.
- Most importantly, HAVE FUN!!!!
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