This is a guest post by Prudence Sinclair.
Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@raddfilms
Hello, lovely YOU!
As we head into the end of the year, it’s time to reflect on the days, weeks and months we’ve just experienced; a fall harvest in which we should reap what we have sown. Did we accomplish everything we set out to back in January? Were we kind to others? Were we kind to ourselves? Do we like the trajectory of our lives or do we need to course correct?
In order to answer these questions, and more, we must get quiet and become self-reflective.
But what exactly does that mean?
Self-reflection does not mean ruminating about all of the things you’ve “done wrong” or that have upset you this past year. It means being fully present with yourself and focusing your attention inward to examine your feelings, thoughts, and motivations without judgment, rather with open curiosity.
Why is Self-Reflection Important?
How can we make good choices for our lives if we don’t really know who we are, what we value, and why we do and think the things we do? Human beings never stop growing and developing. But many of us don’t check in with ourselves to see how we’ve changed. We live as if we are still the same person we were last week, last year, or five years ago. In other words, our self-development is completely reliant on us going inward and spending quiet time with ourselves.
Here are some other reasons why self-reflection is so important:
You’ve probably heard that the definition of CRAZY is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results. Raise your hand if you are technically crazy. When we don’t check in with ourselves from time-to-time, we don’t know what’s “in there” making all of our decisions for us, telling us what to do and say. We keep running smack dab into the same old problems and we don’t know why. We THINK we are making different choices and taking different actions, yet we run into the same old familiar problems.
When we go inward and reflect, we can finally gain clarity and make better choices that lead us down different paths.
A Greater Sense of Control
When our self-perception is solid and when we know what we want and need and the right actions to take to get there, we feel in control. This brings us peace and confidence.
Communication suffers when we have difficulty articulating our feelings and needs. When we deeply understand why we are feeling what we are feeling, we can express ourselves better. This can DRAMATICALLY improve all of our relationships!
How to Practice Self-Reflection
Now that you know why self-reflection is important and what benefits it offers, here are some ways you can get started with the practice:
Commit to Showing Up for Yourself
Like meditation or yoga, the practice of self-reflection is not something you’ll necessarily be good at right off the bat. And that’s okay. What really matters is that you consistently show up to do the work. Set aside time each week to be alone, get quiet, and go inward. No matter what comes up on your schedule, make sure to give yourself that time each week!
Ask Yourself Some Questions
Self-reflection isn’t a magical thing that just sort of happens, you’ve got to work at it in order to experience those impactful A-ha moments. An easy way to do this is to find some self re-reflecttion questions online. There are a plethora of websites that offer these types of questions. Don’t shy away from questions that make you uncomfortable. Learn to gravitate toward those! Getting out of your comfort zone is how you learn and grow!
Keep a Journal
Jot down each question and answer in a journal. This is not only a great way to claim yourself and express who you are, but a journal is also a great record of YOU. Be sure to look back often on these questions and answers to track your growth and development.
In order for self-reflection to be a positive practice in your life, you’ve got to be 100% honest with yourself. Lying to ourselves is one of the main ways we get into trouble! You must show up and you MUST be brutally honest.
And to be this honest, you’ve also got to be compassionate, patient and gentle with yourself. This is NOT an exercise in beating yourself up. Self-reflection is about getting to know who you are; looking at the good and the bad and taking action to bring your authentic self and life closer and closer.
As the days get shorter and the air crisper, it’s the perfect time to go inward and get cozy with yourself. Make yourself a priority!
Prue – www.pruesplace.org