Self-reflection is a powerful tool that's not used anywhere near enough. People either feel they don’t have the time to reflect or that it’s a waste of time. Others choose to avoid taking a good, long, hard look at themselves for fear of what they might find. But what most of us fail to realise is that there is so much to be gained by examining ourselves, our thoughts, our actions and our past.
Self-reflection provides many advantages that can make life simpler and more enjoyable
You learn about yourself
Most people have terribly low self-awareness. But if we spend a little time on a regular basis reflecting on who we are, what we feel and the choices we make, we're able to learn more about who we really are and this knowledge is extremely valuable as we navigate life.
Knowing our strengths and weaknesses gives us an enormous amount of power in dealing with life's trials and tribulations, as well as giving us motivation to continue down the path of self-improvement. Being aware of our shortcomings gives us focus areas to improve on and when we start making positive changes in these areas, we see positivity ripple through all aspects of our life.
You learn from your past mistakes
We are creatures of habit and it's not uncommon for us to make the same mistake over and over again. Without taking time to reflect on our choices, our actions and why we've made these mistakes, we continue in the same loop, oblivious to the ways we can change the outcome.
However if we dedicate a little time to reflect after negative life events, we can very much turn them into positive learning experiences. By digging a little deeper into ourselves and getting to the root cause of why and how these mistakes occurred, we're able to use this knowledge to prevent going down the same path again.
You become stronger and more confident
Self-reflection gives you the opportunity to arm yourself with the knowledge you need to make better choices. And with every bad habit that you break, your confidence and self-esteem increases.
As you begin to approach situations with intelligent, thoughtful action rather than acting without thinking, you'll find that your inner strength begins to soar and you're in a far better position to handle anything that life throws at you.
Starting out with self-reflection
Graham Gibbs is an academic that studies self-reflection. He developed a simple six-step process to aid in self-reflection. This process can be used as a guide to help get you started.
What happened? Describe the event to yourself.
What was I thinking and feeling? What were you thinking at the time? What did you think afterwards?
What was good or bad about the experience?
How does this affect the various parts of my life? What does it say about me?
What else could I have done?
If this happened again, how would I handle it?
Self-reflection is an extremely useful tool and well-worth setting aside a few minutes each day for. Being able to leverage your strengths and minimise your weaknesses will make a world of difference to your day to day life and will make you far more insightful and resilient. Incorporating a few minutes of self-reflection into your daily routine will be the best investment you'll ever make.