Practices for self-reflection
Self-reflection leads us to an awareness of our self, says Rajat Soni, while giving us useful tips on how to accomplish it.
We are mostly so caught up in the daily hassles of the mundane world, that we forget the ‘fundamentals.’ We forget to pause and appreciate nature; we forget to thank our loved ones and tell them how much they mean to us; we forget to focus on what really matters to us.
Self-reflection brings us closer to ourselves and helps us gain clarity over our emotions. Coupled with positivity and candid mindfulness, it gets us closer to recognising the good and bad inside us. Regardless of whether we go for coaching or psychotherapy, without self-reflection, we won’t be able to see the desirable changes in us.
Have you ever taken out time to reflect on your thoughts and emotions?
Self-reflection is a gift
Self-reflection is not just about meditation or prayer. Although meditating is a great way of practising self-reflection, it is more about connecting with the inner self.
Self-reflection is basically giving careful thought to your own behaviour and beliefs.
This is what we get after self-reflection:
• Emotional awareness
• We know what we are investing our energy in and can decide whether it is worth it.
• Thought awareness
• We know what thoughts are ruling our mind right now and why.
•We become more aware of what is holding us back or what is motivating us to move forward. We are the judge of our great and not-so-great qualities and, from there, we can work on building ourselves.
• Creative awareness
• By setting aside some time for self-reflection, we declutter our mind from thought blocks, and by doing so, give ourselves the space for inviting new ideas and nourish the creative soul.
Tips for improving self-reflection:
• Be a disciplined student of life
As the proverb goes, “knowledge comes with wisdom.” There is a lot that we can learn from everything around us. All we need to have is a little observance and a curious mind. By reading more, learning more, and preaching the good things more, we can become the master of our lives. We can rule the mind and not let it rule us.
• Read a book every day or at least one per week.
• Try to evaluate your past failures and understand where you went wrong.
• Praise yourself when you achieve something.
• Devote 30 minutes every day to physical exercise, including yoga, mindfulness, and/or meditation.
• Build relationships
Most people who practice self-reflection believe that interpersonal connection is an inseparable unit of self-reflection. Talking to people we live with, work with, or even strangers, at times, can help a lot in gaining insight. Reflecting on what people think, say, and do, helps in acquiring consciousness of the self and the world.
• Dine together with your family every day and share your experiences.
• Talk to a stranger while you commute to work/school/college every day. Start with a simple morning greeting or a nice compliment.
• If you are working as a leader, communicate more with your colleagues, superiors, and subordinates. Set up feedback sessions where they can openly express their experience of working with you. Be open to the feedback and use it for improving yourself.
• Balance the two selves
We all have two versions of ourselves—the real self (who we are) and the imagined self (who we think we are). An imbalance between who we are and who we think we are can produce internal conflicts and prevent us from reflecting on the positive aspects of life.
• What do I want to become?
• Am I working towards becoming it?
• Who is my role model?
• Am I following their ways to get where I want to be?
• Am I happy with what I am doing?
• Am I pushing myself to do something?
• Get organised
An ability for planning is a trait that is very typical of self-reflecting individuals. Getting your day organised is a great aid to self-reflection. And here is how to do it:
• Use applications like Any Do, Evernote, or any other planner where you make a list of all the activities that need to be done today. You can list them based on time, priority, or just randomly.
• Return to the list at the end of the day and strike off the assignments you have achieved.
• Repeat this every day.
• Make a mind-note
This is similar to thought-journaling whereby we can make a note of all the good and terrible things drifting in our minds. Expanding on each stressor at home or work, every day, is an incredible tool for self-reflection. An example of a mind-note is given below.
People who update their daily calendar can focus on what went right and concentrate on better approaches to accomplish their objectives on the following day. Self reflection helps one get in touch with one’s real needs and desires. People who do this regularly are able to reframe life situations and see things from multiple angles. They can mark and assess their progress as individuals and team players, and formulate better strategies for future accomplishments.
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