A self-reflection for complete beginners. As Socrates famously said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
While this is true, self-reflection is not necessarily an easy thing to practice. We live in an incredibly fast-paced world. Our mobile phones are constantly buzzing, social media is infinitely calling, and Netflix always has something new to binge on.
Taking the time for reflection is a bit of a lost art. Most of us, unfortunately, are living unexamined lives.
This shouldn’t be the case. Few things are more valuable than self-reflection.
Table of Contents
What is self-reflection
Self-reflection (also known as “personal reflection”) is taking the time to think about, meditate on, evaluate, and give serious thought to your behaviors, thoughts, attitudes, motivations, and desires.
It’s the process of diving deep into your thoughts and emotions and motivations and determining the great, “Why?” behind them.
Why Self-reflection is important
Reflecting helps you to develop your skills and review their effectiveness, rather than just carry on doing things as you have always done them.
It is about questioning, positively, what you do and why you do it and then deciding whether there is a better, or more efficient, way of doing it in the future.
In any role, whether at home or at work, reflection is an important part of learning. You wouldn’t use a recipe a second time around if the dish didn’t work the first time, would you? You would either adjust the recipe or find a new and, hopefully, better one.
When we learn, we can become stuck in a routine that may not be working effectively. Thinking about your own skills can help you identify changes you might need to make.
Reflective questions to ask yourself:
- Strengths – What are my strengths? For example, am I well organized? Do I remember things?
- Weaknesses – What are my weaknesses? For example, am I easily distracted? Do I need more practice with a particular skill?
- Skills – What skills do I have, and what am I good at?
- Problems – What problems are there at work/home that may affect me? For example, responsibilities or distractions that may impact study or work.
- Achievements – What have I achieved?
- Happiness – Are there things that I am unhappy with or disappointed about? What makes me happy?
- Solutions – What could I do to improve in these areas?
How to start self-reflection in 2022
Now that we have established what self-reflection is and why it’s so important, here are a few simple yet easy-to-follow steps.
1. Maintain A Journal
If writing gives you comfort, self-reflect using this practice. It will help direct your thoughts and get to the root of the matter.
2. Ask Questions
Asking questions is crucial for self-reflection. Without questions, there are no answers. Some examples of good self-reflective questions include: Am I good enough for the position of manager? Are my co-workers happy with me? Do I have to work on my communication skills?
3. Bridge The Gap
There is a difference between what you say, what you do, what you think, and what you feel. It is crucial to reflect on each of these segments, to understand where the discrepancy lies.
4. The Big Why?
You cannot afford to work on this process without “Why?” The idea of self-reflection is to direct you, and this direction is of no use unless there is an end goal.
The ‘why’ helps you formulate the end goal. While one mostly tends to look at a ‘why’ from an external perspective, e.g.: Why is the boss so angry always? Effort must be made to have ‘why’s’ addressed internally too, e.g.: Why is my work not up to the mark, and why am I disappointing my boss?
Self-reflection is impossible if you are distracted. Whether for ten minutes or an hour, it requires your full concentration. Set aside a specific time and if the concentration is difficult, try to meditate and focus your wavering mind, before continuing your self-reflection.
Ultimately, self-reflection is about your relationship with yourself. An inability to self-reflect obstructs your progress. You can always do it in small doses and find the best path for you, but shirking this process prevents you from personal growth.
With this guide on self-reflection for complete beginners, you would be on the way to a better, more focused you!