The things I’ve learned about myself from my characters

the-nonconformist-3I’m sure we all have a view of who and what we are but If you’re like me I sometimes wonder if that vision is an honest and correct one and if it’s how others view me.

It’s kind of like my surfing. I have a pretty good idea of what I’m doing on a wave looks but have no way of being certain until I either see photos or film of it and can view it from the outside looking in so to speak.

Without that perspective I might either be too harsh regarding my performance or too boastful or overly positive about it.

Of late, I’ve thought a great deal about the main characters in my novels which I have spent a great many years developing and living with so to speak. As I’ve stepped back from them of late and looked at them from the outside, I’ve come to wonder how I truly feel about them and what I could learn about myself through them.

I’m sure I am like most writers in that I tend to infuse my view of the world and to a degree myself into my main characters. While I certainly didn’t go into it with that in mind, after stepping back from it I can certainly see that I have.

The issues I tend to struggle with are all their, how I want to be treated and treat others are there as well are my hopes and dreams. I can also see how I view the world and people as well as  how I’d like the world and it’s people to be. By stepping back, I’ve discovered the things in others and myself that I both admire and distain.

Especially through analyzing my main character, whom I have come to realize is much like me in many ways and who also possesses the alter ego of me that I’d like to be, I’ve tried to determine if I’ve lived up to the ideals and character that I’ve infused in him.

From that analysis I’ve come to see his flaws as well as my own as well as the strengths and gifts we both possess. I’ve learned a great deal about how I’ve dealt with the disappointments I’ve experienced, the way I tend to deal with relationships and my views on love, friendship and what matters the most to me.

I’ve come to realize,  in much the same way as seeing pictures of me surfing, that my self view hasn’t always been spot on . In my portrayal of my characters, however, the truth seems to flow out unconsciously and most likely paints a more accurate self portrait.

Bottom line, stepping back and making that honest self-assessment has helped me to see the things I needed to change about myself to become a better and stronger me. On the flip side, I’ve been able to better embrace the parts of me that are good and remarkable. After all, shouldn’t we all be about enlightenment and self actualization?

I’m not saying everyone needs to write a novel in order to gain self actualization but I do believe sitting down and writing your personal story might give you a better view of yourself much in the same way as asking others about how they view us does. The only difference is that the former is often a lot less painful and easier to take than the latter is even though it’s just as beneficial.

Thanks for checking in and I wish you the best on your personal journey towards self-actualization.

Aloha, Paul





About authorpaulhayden

Author, artist, screenwriter, environmentalist. husband, father, surfer, surfing instructor, volunteer.
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