“Rather than just carrying on doing things as you’ve always done, you can learn a lot about yourself."
When was the last time you took a step back to reflect on your life? Maybe, when you last experienced a new beginning? Or, perhaps, it was when you found yourself in the midst of adversity?
In our modern world, there’s a tendency to move through life at a pace that doesn’t allow us to reflect on what’s happening within. It's too easy for us to get caught up in the day-to-day. We move from one situation to the next, filling our schedules and busy’ing our lives. Unfortunately, if we’re too busy trying to move forward with our lives, we seldom take the opportunities to slow down and reflect on what’s really going on.
I, too, am no stranger to the busy lifestyle. I know it well. I also know how glorifying busy'ness served to protect me from looking within. Because truth is, it takes courage to shine a light in dark places. It’s much easier to look away.
But, what if you knew the importance of self-reflection and the impact it can have on your life?
Self-reflection is a powerful practice for developing self-awareness and can have a life-changing impact. Rather than just carrying on doing things as you’ve always done, you can learn a lot about yourself simply by observing yourself and what’s happening in your life. It’s one of the best ways that you can broaden your perspective, discover a deeper connection with self, and increase life-satisfaction.
So, what is self-reflection?
Self-reflection is like looking into a mirror and being curious with what you see. It’s the process of bringing attention to what’s happening in your life and being inquisitive with yourself. You can observe both where you’re at right now and the direction your going in. You can also gain insight into what’s working and what’s not.
Self-reflection works best when approached in a mindful-way, with curiosity and openness rather than self-criticism. Curiosity changes the way you pay attention, expanding your awareness so that you can embrace a larger portion of the information available to you. As you inquire about your life from different vantage points and receive your questions with openness, you’ll awaken insight and clarity.
Here are 6 of my favourite ways to help make self-reflection a bigger part of your life:
1 - Be inquisitive with yourself and your current situation. You can look at your life from a holistic perspective by taking into consideration different life domains: Wellbeing and Vitality, Relationships, Career, Lifestyle, Environment, Personal Growth and Spirituality. Rate your level of satisfaction from 1-10 in each domain and get curious with your chosen responses.
2 - Ask yourself some powerful questions to help you make sense of what’s happening. Powerful questions are the thought-provoking inquiries that put a hold on confusion and help clarity emerge. These are often open-ended questions that challenge you to consider yourself or any given situation from different vantage points (ie. increase the possibility of new perspectives to emerge). Eg. What really matters? Is there an alternative way of looking at the situation? How is that (behavior, mindset) working for you? You can write out your answers as part of a journaling process.
3 - Journal a stream-of-thoughts. Writing down your thoughts is a simple and effective way to self-reflect. You can focus you’re writing on how your day went or on a specific situation. Release the need to edit your writing and simply write down exactly what you’re thinking. Give yourself 5-10 mins to write. Then, review what you’ve written with curiosity. Take note of any themes or patterns that emerge.
4 - Meditate. Reflective meditation is an incredible practice to increase self-awareness. In reflective meditation, you choose a theme in your life or question to focus your meditation on. When your attention wanders to other thoughts, focus your attention back on the chosen topic. This type of meditation is intended to help you familiarize yourself with whatever it is you’re focusing on. It can help bring insight into something that may otherwise be confusing or challenging.
5 - Practice gratitude. Reflecting on your day through a gratitude checklist is a great way to both increase self-awareness and reap the benefits of having a gratitude practice. You can ensure you’re optimizing the experience by looking for new or specific things to be grateful for each day. You can even include the learnings from other self-reflective practices in your gratitude list.
6 - Get someone to hold up the mirror for you. Reflecting with someone else, either with a Coach or a friend, is a powerful way to self-reflect. Coaches are trained to listen for themes and patterns, look for the presence of emotions, ask powerful questions, and reflect back what they are noticing. This is a powerful way to reflect because we can’t see what we can’t see. In other words, we all have blind spots and so a good reflective partner can help you become aware of yours (in a non-judgmental way).
I hope this post has inspired you to make self-reflection a priority in your life and given you some practical ways to do so.
Interested in joining us for a week focussed solely on you? We’ve curated mind+body immersive retreats to help you step way from the everyday distractions of life and prioritise yourself. Have a look at our upcoming offerings.
Now, I’d love to hear from you. What are the ways you practice self-reflection?
If you have any practices to share, let us know in the comments below. He