Self-reflection is the act of being able to look back on a particular aspect of one’s personal life – whether it be physical, emotional, or behavioral. The importance of self-reflection provides us a deeper understanding of ourselves. It allows us to evaluate things such as whether we’re happy about who we are, where we’re going in life, or what needs to be done. Proper self-reflection opens our minds, in return providing us a broader perspective on things. Here, we’ll explain the many ideas involved with self-reflection.
What is Self-Reflection?
Self-reflection is a human ability that exercises self-analyzation across one or multiple aspects of a person’s life. Also referred to as introspection, self-reflection practices one’s capacity to inspect and review their life – with the common goal to ensure happiness, needs, and expectations have been met. And when we refer to “self-reflection is an exercise of self-analyzation,” we’re describing an internal conversation with one’s self.
Human self-reflection has been around for centuries, with the earliest historical records reflecting this knowledge of “Know Thyself” more than 3000 years ago – inscribed on the Temple of Apollo. Self-reflection also has a significance with spirituality and consciousness. As both spirituality and expansion of the consciousness use inward-looking methods to obtain a broader perspective of the mind.
When we can understand our intentions, as well as the intricate reasons behind who we are, and what we do in life – only then we’ll gain a deeper appreciation for ourselves. Because without this understanding, we’ll never recognize accomplishments, valuable lessons, or other details that hold value through the act of self-reflection.
For most people, self-reflection is a temporary solution that assists to evaluate one’s happiness in life. This might include areas of career, personal-development, relationships, finances, etc. Other reasons self-reflection is used can include one’s desire to surmise a past situation, an understanding of someone’s motives, examining whether the effort taken was the best solution, and so on.
The Importance of Self-Reflection
There is this significant importance of self-reflection, as is it provides us a deeper understanding of ourselves. Self-reflection, as well as any internal-analyzation, enables us to acquire awareness past the physical realm. Such awareness includes:
- Help us recognize the motives behind our actions
- Will comfort us, depending on the aspect we’re analyzing
- Helps with feeling gratified
- Provides us alternatives in the future
- Develops our ability to view past experiences with a deeper appreciation
- Expands our minds
- Can aid in comprehending our true-self better
There are other reasons why self-reflection is of significant importance. Without self-reflection, we have no real understanding or appreciation for our life: including the actions we take, the words we say, our behavior, etc. Through self-reflection, we’re able to inspect every little detail about ourselves. To either be happy or begin making amends to individual perspectives.
Essential Concepts of Self-Reflection
Before we jump to the self-reflection process, we’ll quickly explain some essential concepts of it:
Self-awareness plays a fundamental role in the connection of self-reflection. Through self-awareness, you’ll have the experience to identify and evaluate yourself with past experiences – in order to reflect on them with somewhat accuracy when implementing self-reflection.
Inner-truths can become exposed when self-reflecting – depending on how truthful you are with yourself and how open-minded you perceive your reality to be. For anyone who finds internal-conversations difficult: practicing holistic healing techniques and maintaining a well-balanced self care routine can help you find balance as you navigate that process.
Living a life of purpose will help you maintain a balanced perception of yourself and life’s many experiences. Because sometimes when you question what the purpose of life is, or you’re uncertain about trusting the unexpected: self-reflection can become tainted with fear, anxiety, trauma, or unresolved issues.
Recommended read: Spiritual Awakening Session: The Ultimate Guide
The self-reflection process looks different for everyone, but the importance remains the same. We believe 7 components determine the self-reflection process. Here, we’ll explain step-by-step what is involved with this process and give you practical tips on what to expect:
1. Set the intention
Before doing any particular self-reflecting, the first step in the self-reflection process is to set the intention. Setting the intention provides you direction and assists with keeping you on track with your thoughts. Set the intention by specifying exactly where in your life you’ll be looking back on, and “map out” in your mind what experiences you’ll be reflecting on to get there.
Setting the intention is a rather traditional practice that’s applied alongside other spiritual practices, such as meditation, journaling, and shadow work, as examples. Not only does intention setting assist your self-reflection process in the beginning, but it allows you to let go of those thoughts at the end of your session.
When you set the intention to self-reflect, you’re creating a well-grounded starting point. Although self-reflection is an internal conversation with yourself, it’s easy to become distracted by intrusive or traumatic thoughts. All the more reason for our next tip.
2. Have a goal
Have a goal. But in particular, determine precisely the reason to self-reflect. Whether you’re going back to an experience with a coworker or thinking back on your last conversation with your ex-partner, be sure to have a goal as to why you’re reflecting on whatever it is you’ll be analyzing.
Questions you might ask yourself include, What am I analyzing? Why am I looking back upon this experience? What am I trying to achieve by self-reflecting? Create a goal that will help you stay on track with your self-reflection and not get caught up on little aspects of your past experiences.
Examples of goals to have include:
- Self-validation about a past verbal/physical/emotional experience
- Feeling happy with your past aspect
- Understanding how to care for yourself better in the present (by analyzing your spiritual wellness, physical health, addictions, etc.)
- Figuring out deeper meanings/reasoning
As an empath, I find my thoughts to become easily distracting – which is why I must always have a goal whenever self-reflecting. Each person will have a different reason for choosing to self-reflect. And therefore, will have diverse goals per the aspect they’ll be reflecting on.
3. Implement self-reflection exercises
There are numerous ways one person will choose to self-reflect. With this in mind, there is no set method one can take to achieve their goal. Self-reflection can be done strictly internally, without physical exercises needed. In this instance, fair judgment and accuracy are necessitated. Otherwise, you may choose to implement different self-reflection exercises to achieve better (or faster) results. Continue reading if you’d like to learn more about some of these self-reflection exercises below.
Now is the time you can begin to analyze or self-reflect. Use this opportunity to broaden your perspective, gain a universal understanding, or raise your consciousness. As you investigate yourself, feel your emotional state – and keep a positive frame of mind (whether you’re tuning into something good or bad).
A healthy way you can remain positive when analyzing is by implementing positive affirmations. Affirmations help your overall state of being – specifically when self-reflecting on traumatic experiences.
As you reach the analysis stage, choose specific examples or aspects of your life that’ll help you achieve your self-reflection goals (as mentioned above). At the end of the day, only you can truly determine the right or wrong way to analyze yourself – so do so with an open mind.
5. Be honest with yourself
Honesty and self-reflection go hand in hand. It’s essential to be honest with yourself, especially when your self-reflection goal is to gain a deeper awareness of something negative. Ego can play a significant role in tainting our reality – in this instance – honesty will always guide you.
Sometimes, you’ll analyze something that may have been out of your control. For example, the outcome of a situation that involved someone other than yourself. In which case, being honest about the steps you took will still provide a beneficial result.
6. Remove judgment
It can be all too easy to judge ourselves when self-reflecting, especially when things don’t go as expected in this instance. Removing judgment from yourself, and from others, might help you to see a bigger picture of your experience. It might also bring closure, acceptance, and gratitude for your present situation.
In other instances, judgment can create more difficult anguish. Which as a result, might make you self-reflect longer than necessary. Or might prevent you from feeling truly satisfied. Removing judgment, although easier said than done, is an ideal method to see things from an unbiased point of view.
7. Let it go
Once you’ve finished your self-reflection process, it’s necessary to let it go, especially if analyzing something unpleasant. For those who self-reflect on the positive and good things, it’s still important to let it go. Whether you’re examining the positive aspects or the negative aspects of your life experiences: letting it go afterward will help you endeavor forth in life and prevail as you currently are.
Letting go doesn’t mean you need to forget about the positive things you’ve accomplished in life, it simply means you’re letting go of the self-reflection at the moment. In order to carry on in life with presence and gratitude.
4 Powerful Self-Reflection Exercises
Implementing self-reflection exercises can help you set a routine, stay on track, and keep you grounded. Here are 4 self-reflection exercises that can work to help you along your journey:
Journaling has a profound healing benefit when used for self-internalization. Unlike traditional therapy, where verbal communication is the primary medium, journaling allows one to be free from social anxiety associated with therapy sessions (or similar).
To begin journaling for self-reflection, start by asking yourself questions. These questions may include “what am I searching for?”, “why is self-reflection important to me right now”, “how will self-reflection help me/provide me purpose”.
We encourage you to write everything that comes to your mind. You don’t need to share this with anyone else. Just write with freedom knowing that your mind has a safe place to wander.
It’s no secret that meditation is one of the best self-reflection exercises one can participate in. Meditation, or mindfulness, is a technique that works in a way where you focus your awareness on something (in this instance, what you’re self-reflecting on) and bring this to the forefront of your attention.
When self-reflecting, it can be easy to get distracted by the chatter of your mind. Meditation works to calm this chatter and help you tune in to the thing, feeling, or experience you’ve set your intention on. There are numerous meditations you could stream online to follow along – and help you with your self-reflection.
Guided meditations are greatly valuable for beginners or people who enjoy the direction. Otherwise, meditation tracks designed for self-reflection are also beneficial.
Be With Your Thoughts
If you’re looking to simply use your mind, and no physical action needed to self-reflect, then simply being with your thoughts is another helpful exercise. Being along with your thoughts may have a different meaning for everyone, but we believe it means allowing your mind to wander. Although self-reflection will require some intention and goal setting, it simply means you’re allowing yourself the time and space to wander your mind.
Ask Yourself Introspection Questions
Another exercise you can do is to find some time to ask yourself introspection questions. Here is a list of various introspection example questions you might ask yourself:
- Who am I?
- What makes me most happy?
- Am I happy with where I am in life?
- Do my actions reflect who I am as a person?
- Will I need to change something to achieve my desired results?
- Is this working for me?
- What traits do I appreciate most about myself?
- How do I feel about…?
- Where could I improve?
- I am grateful most for…?
Remember, there is really no right or wrong question you could ask yourself. Self-reflection is a personal exercise – that’s unique to you and your situation. Have fun with it!
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