The Art of Self Reflection
The Art of Self-Reflection
posted on JANUARY 23, 2018
What is Self-Reflection?
Oxford Dictionary defines self-reflection as “meditation or serious thought about one’s character, actions, and motives.” Self-reflection is a conscious examination of past experiences, our beliefs, and how we wish to better ourselves in the future. Self-reflection can increase productivity, happiness, and make us more accountable to shape our thoughts, understand our values, and improve our behavior.
Why is Self-Reflection Important?
Psychological research demonstrates that self-reflection is a critical component of positive change. Self-reflection and self-improvement go hand in hand. Change requires a goal and an awareness of where you are in relation to achieving that goal. We need the knowledge of how we acted in the past/ how we are acting in the present in order to reach our desired destination. It is great to have goals such as exercising more, saving money, building relationships, etc. However, these goals cannot be attained without monitoring our behavior. To improve our chances of attaining these goals, we must have a clearer sense of whether we are straying from those goals or staying on track. Self-reflection can build our emotional self-awareness by recognizing our strengths and weaknesses, how to achieve our goals, and the reasons for why we do certain things. We can adapt to situations from reflecting on how we handled similar circumstances in the past. We cannot improve ourselves without addressing what we did correctly and what we could have done better.
Learning From Your Faults
Self-reflection requires looking at the positives and negatives. This is hard for many people because it can be difficult to admit our faults. However, if our goal is to change for the better and improve our lives, then self-reflection is key. We might have negative feelings about how we acted, which should motivate us to reduce these feelings by acting positively on them. It is important to remember that we should balance how we can improve with what we did well or what we are good at.
Often, we focus on daily tasks and simply go through the motions without reflecting on the journey—the beauty of what we accomplished, how we achieved what we wanted, how we can attain our goals, and what we can do differently in the future. Self-reflection enables us the opportunity to pause and see the bigger picture. We can assess our patterns and activities and decide if we like what we see or what we want to change. By slowing down to think about our day/ our lives, we create and realize a better sense of self.
Self-reflection can also help us find our passions and values in life. When we self-reflect, we discover what truly makes us happy and we focus on things that are important. Furthermore, we can be honest with ourselves. Accountability promotes change. Self-reflection is meaningful because it can help us determine our purpose in life and help us behave in ways that are consistent with what we enjoy. Through the process of self-reflection, we can find internal peace from the knowledge we acquire so that we might recognize who we are and who we want to be.
How Can You Reflect?
Anyone can reflect on themselves and their experiences. For example, basketball players reflect on their game by studying film. They determine what worked and what did not to improve their performance. Even if you don’t have a recording, you can still reflect on your day, your week, or your life in general. In order to reflect, we need to make a conscious effort. Our brains will naturally start thinking about what is important if we are willing to take the time to pause. Many people ask: what should I think about when I reflect? Here is a list of questions/ideas that can help you find meaning in your life and become the best version of yourself.
- Who are you and what are some of your values?
- What are some things you are proud of?
- What are some things you are most grateful for?
- What are some aspects of your life that are important to you and do you make time for those things?
- What are your current goals? What are some challenges to achieving those goals and how can you overcome them?
- What do you enjoy? Did you accomplish what you wanted? How can you be better tomorrow? What did you learn about yourself today?
- You might feel overwhelmed and stressed from work, personal relationships, etc. Where are you putting your time and energy? Are you miserable at work or unhappy? How can you use your time better? Take a look at what is important. Are you afraid to say yes? Are you afraid to say no?
- What are you good at? What can’t you live without? What are your strengths and weaknesses? How can you maximize those strengths and improve upon your weaknesses?
- What are your hobbies or passions? Are you making time for them?
- Think about a past experience- good or bad. How did you act? Did you accomplish your task? Did you keep your composure? How did you overcome adversity? What can you improve if faced with a similar challenge in the future?
Whenever you encounter a new challenge try to think of past circumstances where you overcame other obstacles, what motivated you, and how you can address this current situation.