What is Self-Reflection? Humans are emotional beings and at all times we are trying to better ourselves in some way or another. This means we are constantly evaluating what our moral values are and how they are helping us to stay safe, stay aware. It is a form of personal analysis that steers you into the direction you WANT to see yourself going.
As counselors, we often ask the clients to think about the “why” of the situations they are in. The willingness to answer that question would come with a cautious ask “Why do we need to this, what is the point in understanding why I did something?” Their rationale – Yes, I did something and I am here to get help to move on, so why do I need to answer this question. And my reply was and will always be the same “If you don’t look back at what you have done, you are going to stay trapped where you are and not move on”
Here is a simple example to understand why we ask that question:
Our very very old ancestors learned how to make fire. It was made by accident but yet they made it again and again and again…
But how were they able to do it if the fire was made by accident? It was because they soon realized how important it was to their survival. It gave them warmth, kept the wild animals away and soon it became a medium for them to cook food.
Imagine the amount of time they must have spend to re-create the fire after it was just made? The steps involved to understanding how it happened to reflecting on it’s benefits must have taken a significant chunk of their time. But it was necessary, wasn’t it? They had to reflect on the process to understand how to recreate something so meaningful to them.
WHAT GOVERNS SELF-REFLECTION?
Self-reflection is when you take a moment to create an awareness of your surroundings and also within yourself. You are not born with this capability and hence, you have to learn it through the teachings of life- thus creating the subliminal awareness.
Most of the times, this awareness is created by the things we do in life:
Our Dreams: What is the one thing you are chasing in your life? How are we going to achieve it? If you think about it, this is one of the top things that governs most of your actions in a day- when you are constantly reflecting on how you can come up with solutions to your projected goals in life.
Our Hobbies: Why do you choose the things you like to do? Did it give you a learning experience? Did it create a pattern of motivation in your life? You might have not noticed it but your hobbies have changed over time. You enjoy doing different things in life now. Have you ever stopped and asked why you stopped doing things that you enjoyed before and picked up something new? Probably not, because you self-awareness subconsciously picked up on a signal hinting that your new hobby has given you a desired motivation to live a happy life.
Our Moral Values: This is what governs us throughout our life. We grow up learning these values from our parents, our grandparents and by ourselves, from our surroundings and our own learning. Then, we pass them on to the next generation.
Our Fears: The biggest governing factor in creating our self-awareness are our fears. We are always protecting ourselves at any given moment in time. For example, let’s suppose you fell down today wearing a particular footwear. Your mind at a subconscious level would now associate that footwear to falling down. After a few days, you decide to wear them again but before putting them on, your subconscious mind would send a message to your conscious mind reminding you of what happened. This message only lasts for a second, but it is enough for you to be cautious while wearing it.
ROLE OF SELF-REFLECTION
To understand the role of self-reflection in your life, let’s go through the 5 W’S
When you are in a constant of state of analyzing yourself at a subconscious level, you are inherently developing the ‘who’ of your personality. What makes you who you are in life- your unique personality traits; the emotional factors that you use to govern your decisions in life; your attitude towards life and last but not the least how you approach difficult situations.
Self-Reflection makes you think about the many ‘WHAT’s’ in your life- What is your purpose in life; what are your dreams in life; what is the meaning of love; what makes you strong; what makes you weak…these are some of the questions that your mind is ALWAYS working on- consciously and sub-consciously. The ‘what’ in your life is differs at different stages of your life and ends up governing how you live your life.
The ‘WHEN’ can happen at any given moment in your day. You are always in a constant mode of self-reflection in your life. For example, if you cooked something today and it had less salt- you would put a subconscious reminder in your mind to add more salt the next time you make the same dish. ISN’T IT INTERESTING? THAT THE QUESTIONS YOU ARE CONSTANTLY ASKING DURING THE DAY ARE A PART OF YOUR SELF-REFLECTION?
Self-Reflection doesn’t need a specific place or time to take place. But generally, I would tell my clients to do this about half an hour before going to bed and to have at least 15 minutes of no screen time. This allows your mind to relax and think about the specifics of what you are looking to self-reflect upon. Don’t forget that your subconscious mind has been recording throughout the day of what you felt, what you were going through and how you managed it. Let the mind flow during this exercise.
The most important process of self-reflection- THE WHY? Why are you self-reflecting? What is the purpose of self-reflection? The answer to the WHY, lies with you, and ONLY YOU. The answer could be because you want to find your purpose in life- what you were put on this earth to do. When you understand the WHY, you understand what needs to be done to get you started on that journey.
WHERE ARE YOU IN THIS PROCESS?
I want you to think about where you are the process of self-reflection. Here are some questions to ponder on in the meantime:
- Why do you want to start this process?
- Are you ready to confront the negatives that you may find?
- What difference will it make in your life?
- Is there something in particular that you are looking to self-reflect on?
- What would hold you back during this process
Remember, everyone is on a different journey, a different path of self-reflection.
I HOPE YOU ENJOYED THE FIRST PART OF THE 4-PART SERIES. AS BEFORE, IF YOU LIKED THIS ARTICLE, THEN HIT THE LIKE BUTTON OR SHARE IT WITH YOUR FRIENDS.