Every human has infinite chances to become better versions of themselves. Every day, we learn, we cope, we figure out life and hope that the rest of us do the same deal too– to believe in the sole idea of doing things for the betterment.
But oftentimes, these chances of growth and improvement are overlooked. They go unnoticed. And with all the busy life we have, there’s just the slightest possibility that we will take the time and decipher what it is that we need to do to improve.
There’s this one thing, one that you may already know, I do from time-to-time and I find it very helpful, so I’m going to share it with you. It’s called self-reflection.
Self-reflection is a way of understanding ourselves. It is the act of retracing the steps or breaking down and pondering on our actions, attitudes, feelings, and values. It is the bridge between us and our reasons.
I believe that there is a deeper connection between our means and our ends or why we do what we do; why we execute an action. Looking further into our own acts and asking ourselves that question of, Why? is kind of what happens when we do these self-reflections. One small crack to the whole equation of learning about ourselves or, as my previous article entails, finding yourself.
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The question is: how exactly do we become better versions of ourselves? Well, there’s the best place that we can start with— us. Let’s start with knowing who we are.
In order to improve, I think we must first know what is there to improve upon. I think that self-reflection is a key to understand who we are, what we feel, and the reasons behind what we do.
According to an article that I have read, Self-reflection is,
“about questioning, in a positive way, what you do and why you do it and then deciding whether there is a better, or more efficient, way of doing it in the future.”
In self-reflection, we can see what calls for a change. Had you done something wrong, self-reflection asks why were you able to do it and what ways could have been done to make it better.
Self-reflections are different from taking criticisms or assessments from others. It summons a great deal of honesty. It will not work unless you are true to yourself. It’s as if we are looking in the mirror and telling ourselves the truth all the time. These days, people forget to be honest with themselves.
“This above all; to thine own self be true.”William Shakespeare, Hamlet
Why is self-reflection important?
Self-reflection is important in a way that brings perspective into our lives. As we are all living in a fast-paced world, we forget to stop and think about how we are emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. It helps us not only to remember our experiences but to analyze them and connect them to our purpose.
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Making ourselves unfamiliar with this idea only brings unconscious unhelpful behaviors. We make decisions, actions, and commitments without contemplating them and evaluating what works and what does not.
Worse comes to worst, we often get stuck. Reflections can also give us insights on what steps to do next, or which way to go if we find ourselves at a dead end.
“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.”Margaret J. Wheatley
Lastly, to self-reflect is to uncover our reasons behind what we do. It’s crucial that we check if those reasons are helping us to be a better person for ourselves, our family, and the people around us, or not.
In my country, we have this very notable tagline of a coffee brand that became viral. It goes, “Para kanino ka bumabangon?” which translates to, “Who/What motivates you to get up?”
I know, drinking coffee would sure as hell motivate you to get up and stay up, I think it’s pretty clever. But on a more profound level, we have to have that reason why every day we choose to get up. The meaning behind our actions.
Otherwise, we’ll do things just for the sake of it. We manage every blow in life without even thinking long enough about it. Therefore, we are existing yet we are not living.
How can self-reflections help us?
A blog post from Exploring Your Mind shares Daniel Goleman’s research which states that self-reflection is necessary to hone greater emotional intelligence.
In this post, he explains that a man with a good sense of understanding about self-reflection is someone who has a healthy connection with one’s inner dialogue.
This can be helpful in identifying our own internal issues (such as insecurities, shortcomings, etc.), allow us to reevaluate our mistakes, and being able to use them for our own improvement. It helps Identify and break those unhelpful habits that leave us feeling unsatisfied with life.
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Self-reflection helps me avoid unnecessary errors. The thing is, people commit so many unnecessary errors. Because we don’t even know why we do it over and over again. As a result, we get so frustrated when we can’t get one thing straight.
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Self-Reflections for Self-Development
The reason why I shared this is that self-reflection is a very intimate activity. You can do this all on your own, without the need for a bigger help. You can do this every day, every week, or whenever you like.
I know it takes a handful of discipline to be consciously aware of our actions, that’s why these reflections will help you develop more self-awareness.
Most importantly, I believe that we need to keep improving. Each better habit that we make is like one step away from being profoundly happy. With this practice, we develop a sense of compassion and love for ourselves. We strive to do things only to become better than who we were yesterday.
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Self-reflections teach us to take responsibility for our actions, attitudes, and behaviors. It allows us to grow. With this idea, we can overcome any difficulties in life.
We become the man who understands that life is a learning process and you can only become more of the man you once were. Self-reflections unlock your full potential as a human being. It helps you see your bigger purpose in life.
- Related Post: Overcoming Difficulties in Life: A Collaboration
If you know me, you’ll learn that I get too caught up with my thoughts a lot. Back when I learned I was an overthinker, I get so anxious with my thoughts. To tell you honestly, there were nights when I can’t even sleep because I didn’t know how to handle the rage of thoughts in my mind.
Fortunately, and because of mindfulness, I learned how to make friends with my thoughts. A few months now and I’m learning to channel those thoughts, to immerse into them, and turn them into a self-reflective awareness.
What did I learn from this process?
- Collect insights about myself. With personal reflections, I learned so much about myself. I contemplate how my actions affect the world around me. How I handle things, different things—difficult and easy things in life. And every day I do it, I learn more about myself.
- Control my thoughts. Well, you can’t really control exactly how your thoughts are gonna go. They’re supposed to wander because they are thoughts. I can only control them in a way where I easily identify if they’re helpful for me or not. Reflections teach you how to assess yourself. To know what personality you have, what works well for you, and what motivates you.
- Be kinder to my thoughts and to myself. I was able to cultivate a deeper understanding of myself. I know I need to reflect if I can’t figure out why I feel so upset sometimes, why I make mistakes, etc. And above all that, self-reflections taught me to be kind to myself. Despite the disappointments and the frustrations, I still am determined to learn and continue to grow because I self-reflect.
- Understand those people around me. Also, I learned to think about those people around me because I know that they have their reasons too. I may not know it exactly, but self-reflections help you think that as much as you struggle, people have their own struggles too. In this way, I learned to judge myself than to judge others.
- Challenge what I already know. This is one of the many things I love about being able to self-reflect. Now that I know everything has a reason, and everyone has their own reasons too, I learned to challenge myself to know more. What I know has become like an old idea that needs changing. In a world of change, everything, including what we know, changes over time. And so I constantly look forward to learning more about what life has to offer because I know there’s a lot more to learn.
I learned a few things about myself again today. It’s like everyday I know myself a little more.— Elle 🌻 | Blogger (@Unpopularblogs) December 26, 2020
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“The journey into self-love and self-acceptance must begin with self-examination… until you take the journey of self-reflection, it is almost impossible to grow or learn in life.”Iyanla Vanzant