What is self-observation?
We are all in some way conscious of how we look. But have you ever stood in front of your mirror and really taken notice of yourself. Self-observation is about really observing yourself. I’m not talking about your everyday routine beauty check before you leave the house, the does my bum look big in this as you glance over your shoulder. I’m talking about real self-observation and self-awareness. about taking the time to really look at you, paying attention to yourself. Exploring your body and looking at every detail of what you see.
Yeah, right I hear you say. When do any of us get any time to actually pay attention to ourselves let alone study ourselves on an intimate personal level, after all, we spend most if not all of our time running around after everyone else, trying to please and delight those around us and meeting deadlines within our strict routines. Is it any surprise really that we overlook the most important thing of all. OURSELVES. Besides which, when, or if we do finally get time alone for a little self-observation we are too exhausted to take advantage of it anyway let alone sit in front of a mirror and study ourselves.
Indulge yourself for a moment.
If you could find the time to study yourself and exercise a little self-observation, I mean really look, taking note of what you see, paying particular attention to every line, wrinkle, dimple and curve, and all the minute details that we so often take for granted and yet make you so special and unique.
Throughout history, both males and females have been the subject of infinite works of art, portrayed in many guises and many forms. Some works show full frontal nudity with the subjects positioned in alluring poses that hold our attention and lead our imaginations into a world of thought-provoking fantasy, inviting us to imagine all kinds scenarios while others leave nothing to the imagination, some invite us to look deeper into the soul of the subject, seeking out their personalities and second-guessing their very thoughts. Some offer us just a glimpse, barely enough, leaving the rest to our own imaginations. Perhaps you could also imagine yourself as the subject of a work of art, and if so, how would you see yourself and want to be portrayed.
How would you choose to be seen? Would you choose a specific part of your body, perhaps your shoulders, the curve of your breast, chest or back, your face, an eye or your lips, would you choose to portray your whole body, and if so would it be clothed or partially clothed. If your a women, perhaps you may choose to be dressed in the sexiest lingerie and jewellery you possess, draped in silk or naked, vulnerable and exposed to the gaze of your admirers, would you prefer to be standing, lying or sitting, perhaps seated in a wooden rocking chair with a soft blanket draped across your partially exposed body. Your stockinged leg showing just beneath the cover offering a glimpse of what lies beneath.
What of your mood, perhaps you are feeling at that moment, fed up, excited, aroused yet at the same time scared as you feel vulnerable or slightly out of your comfort zone, or maybe you would prefer to be portrayed the way you felt before you actually took the time to take notice of yourself. Exhausted, tired, Shy and unaware of just how beautiful you really are.
Don’t be afraid to explore, touch yourself feel every detail of who you are. The way your body dips and rises. the softness of your skin, all the little dimples, curves, folds, bumps and creases that make up its surface. Experience the sensation of your touch and how it makes you feel. Go with feeling then apply it to your work.
Once you have decided on how you want to portray yourself, you now only have to decide by what means you wish to do it. There are many ways to capture your image, all you have to do is decide. Perhaps on paper using graphite or paint, or even by a photograph as we all now seem to have the luxury of the selfie.
It makes no difference how it looks, this is about you paying attention to yourself. If at first, it looks nothing like what you set out to do, don’t worry. Once you have the initial basic idea you can fine tune the details later. This is your chance to portray yourself in a way that only you can decide, you are in control and can be seen in the way that you want to be seen, so take your time, indulge yourself and enjoy the experience. There are no judgements here.
The most important thing is to be proud of who you are and take pleasure from yourself, your body and what you are seeing. You are the subject, the muse and the centre of your attention, you decide what to portray and how you want to portray it.
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Not only is this an artistic exercise it is also an exercise in self-awareness and self-confidence. So many of us have low self-esteem and lack the courage to put ourselves out there as we are so judgemental of ourselves that we are constantly paranoid of what others may think of us and so lack the confidence to be around others on a more personal level. this exercise is designed to make you aware of who you really are, a chance for you to step out of your comfort zone and indulge yourself and realise that you are a beautiful being.
I appreciate that all of us are not brilliant artists so if you have chosen to capture your image on paper or canvas don’t be too disappointed if the finished piece isn’t perfect or bears little or no resemblance to what you set out to do.
The object of this exercise is after all self-observation and self-awareness, for you to see the brilliance and uniqueness of who you really are and to become aware of yourself. It’s not about producing a masterpiece or a picture-perfect representation of yourself unless of course, that is your intention. At the end of this exercise, you might just be amazed at how beautiful and perfect you really are. You may want to keep your work for yourself or to show it to others. You may even decide to discard it. It’s your choice. You are in control. You decide. Just take the time. It’s yours after all.