Today I am here to present one of our recent events, the Summer-E Challenge about Soft Skills, specifically about relationships!
The Summer-E challenge is a project created in 2015, by a consortium of different associations: Make it Better from Portugal, Emphasys Centre and The National Centre for Scientific Research “Demokritos” from Greece, EUni Partners from Bulgaria, and co-founded by Erasmus+ “Youth in Action” Program. It is aimed to be used by young students, between 13 and 16 years old with fewer opportunities, to learn and improve new skills thanks to a non-formal education during their free time. All the courses on the website of the project are made to help them in their professional and private life while bridging the gap between education and work. It will give them more visibility and support their education level while prospecting for a job opportunity.
I was given the task to prepare a course about the Relationship Skills course, which was created by our association. I had to read the course, prepare a PowerPoint presentation and present it to the young of the city.
I choose to divide it into three different events to facilitate comprehension and let the participant have a safe space to discuss and debate when needed.
The first event talked about how we, as individuals, influence our relationships based on our image of ourselves and our experience in life. We saw how our minds and bodies are reacting to feelings, and how we experience them depending on our life experiences. We also asked ourselves, “How to develop a good relationship?”, talked about the different types of communication, how to put healthy boundaries for ourselves and we saw how to recognize an abusive relationship and how to prevent it. In the end, we discussed openly on how our experience constructed who we are now, and what improvements we could make to help ourselves with our relationships. We concluded that if we are feeling great and positive about ourselves this is how we can develop healthy relationships around us.
At the second event, we learned how media (social media, TV, movies, advertisement, newspaper, and radio) influence our vision of ourselves, creating a gap between reality and an idealized image of ourselves provided by a fake image of celebrities and what society defines as perfection. We saw that we cannot be perfect, that it is impossible, and that this critical image that we do of ourselves is very much different from how people perceive us. We watch a video about self-confidence from a project built and created by the cosmetic brand Dove, where women were asked to describe themselves to an FBI portraitist, and then those women were described to the same man by people who saw them in the waiting room. Then their portraits were put next to each other, and women were asked to come back to see the difference between how they perceived themselves and how people perceive them. It shows how critical we are about ourselves, comparing our image to others, and the media promoting perfect skin, body, and personalities. This view of ourselves influences our relationships during our life. If we considered our image to be very bad because of these stereotypes given by media, we will have difficulties building healthy relationships with our environment and people all our life. In the end, we freely discussed our feelings toward media and how improvements could be made to help people feel included and not cast aside because they are not fitting the acceptable and conventional image described by media.
And for the last one, we discussed how politics is influencing our society through speeches and discourse. We analysed the different ways that politics are using, to pass a message, and how to recognize lies or false information in speeches. We saw the different fallacies that can appear in political discourse, how to recognize them and what is the meaning behind them. After the theory, we had some practice, with a small analyse of one of Tony Blair’s speeches, about the New Labour party. I choose three extracts in which the participant had to discover what type of fallacies was hidden in those. I show them that one fallacy can be hidden more than once under different forms and that we need to be aware of the message that is coming out of it.
In conclusion, we saw that entertaining a relationship is not easy and that we need to work on ourselves and on how we appreciate our environment and society to be in a healthy relationship. We saw that we need to be a bit selfish sometimes, that it is normal to speak up for ourselves and that to be aware of what media and politics want to share with us is not made to represent us but an idealistic image of the perfect person, that nobody can reach. Everybody is different and it is what makes you unique, being ourselves is the greatest achievement that we can have.
It was very interesting to prepare this event and implement it because the discussion with the participant was entertaining, and we could discuss about their experience and what improvements we could do to be in better relationships, whether it is with work, family, or friends, or lovers. I am glad to have prepared this event, and I want to thank all the participants and EUni Partners for the support they gave me.