Ali Küçüknane |
Have you ever felt like you have some word that would not fit the flow of the conversation or context, but you want to say? Or, in your school years, in the class of that so severe teacher, did you ever want to scream some non-sense lyrics that you just have created? Well, please give yourselves some seconds. I know it is sometimes hard to admit our non-sense part. But if you want to hear my experience, yes, I terribly did want all of these. Since my childhood, I have had severe difficulty taking everything in life seriously. For instance, in secondary school, I had a Social Studies teacher who took her job so seriously; I mean, when you could predict her job to be the most important in the whole world, I would laugh myself sick. Once, I had laughed so much which has gone contagious to my desk mate that the teacher separated our desks. This tendency to want to improvise even in the most structured contexts, states, and wishing for a space for the people’s authentic reflections in any social context led me to do empirical research about it. Indeed, I could not always keep this tendency as I have been punished several times growing up. The punishments included sometimes one of standing up whole night in the dormitory without access to a bed or a chair or some teachers in my pre-college life criticisizing with the sentence “Ali, I would not expect from intelligent students to laugh much.” or “Please tell what you say without laughing, like a man”. These punishments made me self-question for a long time, and I also entered the world of “shoulds” where I did all my best not to laugh much and always be serious. This cost me my adolescence; I had lost my authentic self. I had been aspiring to be any genuine person I could see around because I felt so alienated from myself. Only after this long period of self-alienation, I come to realize that the authentic self is always for good, even though sometimes it takes courage to resist the “should” s sworded to yourselves.
I am intelligent enough to know that not everything cannot be said around everyone and everywhere. How would I keep my authentic self then? If I could not word my impressions, opinions, and feelings for what was going on daily to people around me, could I keep my authentic self alive? I realized that this is what the adults do, being politic so that you don’t create the impressions you don’t want for unwanted people. There, a stream of consciousness journal came to my help. This was my salvation from the phallogocentric[i] world. Even though its name is “journal”, it is more like a play area. While writing, I hold a countdown of 20 minutes; and I start to write whatever comes to mind without any obligation of reason or a concern to be ethical, virtuous. Any time I write to the journal, which I generally start with “Hey oradaki” (The Turkish equivalent of “Hey There”), I end up feeling integrated into my life, responsibilities, and surroundings. The stream of consciousness journal was my remedy to save myself from the world of “I should” s to the world of “I want” s. While taking The Science and Practise of Wellbeing class at college, I met Karen Horney. After reading her book Neurosis and Human Gorwth, I realized in a world where I was contantly bombarded with the external demands both in workplace in school even in relationships; I was losing the distinction that if I was doing what I was doing because I wanted or I was obliged to do. After a while, even the intrinsically motivated tasks become a burden when you see an external evaluation or reward. The stream of consciousness journal has been a compass to me to remember what I wanted in my life.
Realizing such power of spontaneous self-expression without needing anyone’s testimony in my well-being, self-esteem, and motivation, I did a literature search if this remedy was an obvious one for the whole psychology world. I realized that even though leisure activities’ type’s relationship with the well-being (Lee& Hwang; 2017), art making’s relationship with the artists’ well-being (Jolt, 2017), creative activities’ relationship with the well-being of the pregnant women (Crane et al, 2019) have been studied; there was a lack of literature in the direct association between improvised reflection and the subjective well-being. I immediately rolled up my sleeves; found a subjective well-being scale including one’s satisfaction for overall life, health, leisure time, family life, sexual life, how the democracy works in one’s country, and the society in one’s country in eight questions. I added two questions which will gather ourselves with the data if the responder has any habit where she reflects herself by herself while improvising without the need of testimony of anybody and, if yes, the frequency of the practice. I had 239 responses from which a significant association between satisfaction with one’s social life and the frequency of the habit showed up (I am more than 95% sure that this relationship exists.). The respondents were generally from Turkey except for 12 people. I accept that asking if they have a habit of improvised self-reflection and its frequency cannot always be responded honestly. Or, the people I kindly requested to fill might have done some spurious filling just to have done it. But, isn’t it comforting to know any implication that just providing yourself some space where you can self-drool can have an extensive relationship with your satisfaction with your social life? I would suggest from these data as morale for the rest of our life that the social life has socialization with the self aspect and socialization with others. And, the socialization in both parts can go hand in hand; never underestimate one.
[i] Please check Derrida’s “Plato’s Pharmacy” for detailed info. It mainly means taking phallus and logos(reason) at the center.
Crane, T., Buultjens, M., & Fenner, P. (2021). Art-based interventions during pregnancy to support women’s wellbeing: An integrative review. Women and Birth, 34(4), 325–334. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2020.08.009
Holt, N. J. (2017). Using the experience-sampling method to examine the psychological mechanisms by which participatory art improves wellbeing. Perspectives in Public Health, 138(1), 55–65. https://doi.org/10.1177/1757913917739041
Lee, K. J. J., & Hwang, S. (2017). Serious leisure qualities and subjective well-being. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 13(1), 48–56. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2017.1374437