A few years ago, I wouldn’t have placed much importance on self-reflection. If anything, it sounds like one of those new-age hippy type things you do whilst sitting naked around a campfire. Well, maybe that’s just an active imagination…
However, I’ve come to find that there is a benefit in taking time to become more aware of my own thoughts, behaviours and actions, and the impact that they have on both myself and those around me.
I’ve learnt so much about myself over the last few years. Partly this was done through just reading and earning. Rabbit holes can be good sometimes!
By reflecting on how I’ve reacted to a situation or how I’ve felt after reacting in a certain way I’ve been able to learn from mistakes or situations and prevent them from occurring again.
Self-reflection leads to self-awareness and becomes a kind of mindfulness; being in the moment and being purposeful in your actions.
Why Self-reflection Is Important
It’s easy for us to see the behaviours of others and find a reason to complain about their faults. However, unless we have a good understanding of our own reasons for acting as we do, we can’t sit in judgement of them. Their behaviour isn’t something we can change. We can only change our own.
I recall a day when I decided that I wasn’t going to get frustrated by the way my boss worked. When I wasn’t constantly rallying against what I saw as his shortcomings, either with him or internally, I found that I didn’t feel so frustrated. I had taken time to reflect on the situation and decide that I could change how I felt.
Self-reflection is another way of being more proactive; taking responsibility for your feelings and not allowing others to dictate how you feel. If I hadn’t taken time to understand why I was getting annoyed then I would have continued to be, let’s face it, miserable. It has also allowed me to deal with similar issues that arose with the same outlook.
Self-reflection is important because it allows us to grow, develop and have greater influence on our future.
The benefits of self-reflection can be summarised as follows:
Being clear on how you feel about certain situations and why you feel like that enables you to avoid conflict with others and makes for better relationships. Reflecting on situations of the past can help us to respond better in the future. Self-reflection leads to you assessing your true values and knowing how to achieve the outcomes that you want for yourself, and how to motivate you in your response.
When you better understand yourself, you can better understand why others act, react and feel as they do, which in turn can help you to respond better to them.
Understanding Your Why
When setting goals for yourself or deciding on a career choice, self-reflection can help you to understand your why. You understand yourself, so you can better understand the reasons for pursuing outcomes.
When exploring your thoughts and feelings it can prompt a deeper look by doing research and reading into subjects. I once wanted to know why someone else had responded in a certain way and it led to me finding out that there was something I should have been doing, not them.
How to Self-Reflect
There are a number of ways to carry out the work of self-reflection so it’s best to pick something that suits you.
- daily journaling
- weekly reveiws
- quiet contemplation with a cup of tea
- walk, run or cycle whilst mulling over events
- discussion with a coach or mentor
- a chat with a good friend or spouse
The idea isn’t to be judgemental, so if your friend is of the tough love kind then perhaps one of the others will work best. How long you spend on the task is also up to you. It could be a little every day or a couple of hours as part of your weekly review. Whatever time you take will be worthwhile and contribute to your important quadrant 2 work.
Is it time for you to take a look in the mirror?
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Do you take time for self-reflection? How much time do you spend on it? Share in the comments below.
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Until next time, remember, if the excess baggage is weighing you down, you can always leave it in lost luggage.