“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.”
-Margaret J. Wheatley.
The dictionary definition of self-reflection is the examination of one’s own thoughts and feelings. I have found self-reflection vital in understanding who I am, my values and the future I want to create for myself. Admittedly it has not been until my latter years that I have appreciated how valuable it is.
I remember when a boss suggested I set aside time every day to reflect on how the day had gone. At the time, I agreed it was a good idea, but I felt I couldn’t set aside time to reflect because I was too busy. It was when I had a lot happening, both at work and in my personal life. I was spending very little time with my own thoughts. Instead, I was rushing from one thing to the next, hoping I would not drop any of the balls I had in the air. All the while, my inner voice was screaming, “I need space”. I would squash that voice down and just keep going and until I had to stop and take notice. I finally took notice and realised I was too busy not to take the time to self-reflect.
One of the first points I reflected upon was how I had allowed myself to get into such a position in the first place. I discovered I believed I wasn’t allowed to have the time to reflect. I thought it was self-indulgent, and other people needed me to do things. Upon reflection, I realised how wrong I was. I am allowed to have time to recharge and consider what my next moves and options are. Not only am I allowed to self reflect, the very people who I felt I was assisting by not taking the time out would be served better with me taking the time to reflect. That’s when I made the commitment to myself to making self-reflection a significant part of my week.
A benefit of self-reflection is getting to know me better. I gain an understanding of who I am and why I behave and think the way I do. I found I only knew myself on a surface level which meant I was living a life that was based on other peoples expectations, not my own. That’s a doozy because I was no longer sure of who I am. I felt I lost my identity. The act of losing my identity gave me the freedom to create a new one, this time based on my own expectations. I can also be the person I found…