Cross-Post for St. Mary's University Master's Program:
The "Circles of Self" activity was really pretty interesting...We find ourselves placed in many different roles, categories, or 'circles' in our lives...some of these we do ourselves and we can control (teacher, etc...), some we are placed in by virtue of being born and we cannot control (brother, etc...). Some of these are defined by a relationship of our choice (husband) while others are defined by a relationship that we have no say in (son). In doing this experience it appeared that most of us quickly got rid of the more superficial labels in an attempt to hang on to much deeper, more personal connections. Many of us quickly abandoned the roles of "teacher", "student", "coach", etc...with the hope that we could hang on to our core relationships like "son", "husband", "father", etc...
This activity was difficult for many of us, especially toward the end where we had to essentially make the choice of who we wanted to "throw away" - our parents, our spouse, our children, our friends? This is incredibly challenging emotionally as it really forces us to rank, sort, and put one person or group of people in front of another. It forces us to essentially say that we don't care as much about that person, and therefore we are removing them from our lives. Prioritizing people like this after a certain level is a difficult task, as many of us experience a different type of love for our parents, partner, or children - yet we can't really say that one of those loves is greater than another...just different. Yet, this experience forces us to rank a love greater than another.
Regardless, as a new school year approaches this activity can serve as a good reminder of what is truly important in our lives. Not that one thing (one circle) is necessarily the most important out of all. Rather, that the circles we can easily dismiss with little thought in favor of hanging on to those that are more dear to our hearts are the circles that we need to be aware of. It is easy to put most of our time, focus, and attention on the more disposable circles (teacher, student) when in all reality the circles that need most of our time, focus, and attention are the ones that need it the most and if not careful, receive it the least.