Self-reflection refers to a process through which individuals grow their understanding of themselves, their values, and the reasons behind their thoughts and actions. It is a form of meditation. Self-reflection can help in shifting one’s mindset, increasing positive outlook, and improving one’s connection with oneself. For example, when a person experiences break up and think that life has ended for him/her then self-reflection can help him/her in realizing that life has much better things to offer. We just need to pay attention and move forward.
We all are so busy in life that we forget to find time for increasing self-awareness. There are different ways of practicing self-reflection. Some people reflect on their thoughts and actions by writing them down and some do it without jotting them down.
Self-reflection is important because it helps in making progress towards a positive change. It helps us in moving forward towards gaining a connection with ourselves.
Making sense of things
We all encounter experiences that are difficult to make sense of. This creates confusion and frustration. We let these confusing thoughts keep floating in our minds. This is how we become unable to move forward. Self-reflection helps us in thinking deeply about the confusion producing thoughts. Self-reflection helps us in viewing things from multiple perspectives. It helps us in understanding our feelings regarding those experiences. This is how we become able to make sense of everything.
We all face problems but some of us make them even bigger by not moving towards the solution. When we are faced with a problem, we let that problem keep repeating in our mind without focusing on a solution. This is where we become wrong. Self-reflection puts us on the right path by moving us forward towards a concrete solution. When we practice self-reflection, we lay everything in front of us which helps us in seeing a bigger picture. It helps us in determining the next step towards the final solution.
Challenging unhelpful thoughts
One reason of not being able to move forward is that we never try to challenge unhelpful thoughts. In this way, these thoughts turn into beliefs deteriorating our ability to move forward even more. For example, we mostly think about our lost battles and past mistakes which weaken our ability to grow. Self-reflection helps us in evaluating the reality of these self-damaging beliefs. This is how we start to realize that everything we tell ourselves is not always true. This realization allows us to move forward.
Recognizing change and tracking progress
When we are faced with any challenge, we feel like we would never be able to overcome it. Little do we realize that we have overcome even bigger challenges in the past. Self-reflection helps us in providing comparison and tracking our progress. We realize how far we have come and how far we can further go. This helps us in changing our whole perspective. We start viewing the presented challenge as easy or less difficult. This change in perception motivates us to overcome that challenge. In this way we make more progress and move forward.
Self-awareness can also help in moving forward in the journey of self-awareness and self-improvement. Once we realize our true selves, goals, and strengths, we become able to bring ourselves on the right path. For example, a person fails to graduate in biological science after repeated attempts. He then sits and practices self-reflection. This helps him in realizing him that his true strength lies in producing art. In this way, he not only takes a step forward in the journey of self-awareness but also in the journey of success as well.
Self-reflection is not simply about thinking or jotting one’s thoughts and experiences. It is about gaining a positive outlook towards life. For example, jotting down negative thoughts or experiences must be followed by positive statements. Most women compare themselves with other women and suffer from an inferiority complex. Self-reflection can help them in challenging their self-damaging beliefs. They can alleviate their inferiority feelings by challenging the reasons behind their creation. They can tell themselves that there is no need of comparing themselves with others and having the most attractive body is not going to benefit them in any way. It helps them in recognizing that they are best the way they are, and they do not need to hurt themselves. This helps in taking a step forward towards ultimate self-acceptance.
Living with more intention
It is sometimes acceptable to go with the flow, but it is not always healthy. Sometimes it becomes extremely necessary to act deliberately and make things work the way you want them to work. Self-reflection helps in identifying the need for deliberate efforts. If one can do something about a matter, then he/she should definitely indulge in the effort to make things work in his/her favor. Deliberate actions bring responsibility too which helps in making choices with increased awareness. Simply accepting things even if they are working against you can be very unhealthy and damaging.
When we are in a reactive mode, we simply react to things based on what is presented to us. We simply react without reflecting on the consequences and end up being pushed back from the path of progress. Self-reflection allows us to think and understand our thoughts, actions, and their consequences. Sometimes everything is not obvious, and one needs to make an extra effort to understand it and make effective decisions about it. For example, an employee is caught red-handed by another employee for doing theft of fraud. If an employer fires him on the spot without considering his past record or future potential, then it can cause his company to lose a productive employee. Here employer needs self-reflection to weigh the appropriateness of his actions and then decide to progress in the right direction.
In short, self-reflection not only provides a way of connecting with oneself, but it also facilitates us in moving forwards towards self-improvement and other external goals as well. Self-reflection improves our understanding in general. The improved understanding in turn helps in making informed decisions. The informed decisions reduce the likelihood of failure and direct us towards the right path.
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