The Importance of Self Reflection and How To Do It
Self reflection is something I have gotten better at over the past few years. I has contributed to my personal growth as it pertains to relationships, work and my own behavior.
What Is Self Reflection
Self Reflecting is thinking back on past experiences, behavior and thoughts. It’s pulling the lessons out of different situations, which cause growth and maturity. Thinking back doesn’t have to be in the distant past. You can also reflect on things that happened during the day as well.
Why Is Reflection Important
Self reflection is important because in order to not repeat the mistakes of the past you must realize what those mistakes are. When you know what the mistakes are, you can dig deep to figure out why the mistakes happened and how to prevent those same mistakes going forward. If you have ever had the thought “Why do I keep making the same mistakes?!”, then self reflection is needed. Reflecting is useful for many situations, but the most popular areas of self reflection deal with relationships and our jobs.
Self Reflection and Relationships
Romantic Relationships – Reflecting is very important when it comes to romantic relationships. Relationships end for a reason. Sometimes the reason is not so cut and dry. There are a lot of red flags that could have been missed or ignored during dating, there could have been some communication issues, or maybe compatibility issues. The reasons are endless. That is why when relationships end you need to reflect on what worked and what didn’t work during the relationship. This is how we learn and grow for the next relationship. In relationships we tend to ignore red flags. It could be raining red flags and we get out an umbrella to block it. But eventually the rain will become a hurricane and no umbrella can save you from that. Don’t ignore the red flags!
Not only do we need to reflect after a relationship has ended, but reflecting during a relationship is important as well. We all are going to make some mistake in a relationship that we will need to learn from in order to grow and become a better partner. Maybe you said something that was hurtful, maybe you didn’t stick up for yourself enough, maybe you forgot to show your appreciation. There will be many times when you will need to think back about something that happened the day before, the week before or the same day.
On the flip side you will also need to reflect on small things that your partner does that might bother you or that just doesn’t feel right. By reflecting back about it right away you can address the issue, so it can possibly get resolved. For example if you notice that a guy is being inconsistent you can confront him about it to see what is going on. If you don’t reflect about it and just let it keep happening then it will only get worse and he won’t show you the respect that you deserve. If you do confront him about it and he is still behaving the same way then you know it is time to make your exit. This way you waist less time with someone that is not for you instead of staying in it for years and eventually realizing it is not going to work. You should not be afraid to have the tough conversations. If something is bothering you it has to be addressed right away after you have reflected about it. Sometimes people don’t realize that they are doing something wrong, so bringing up your concerns can put an end to many small issues.
One thing that is very important for couples to reflect about is their communication style especially during a disagreement. For example every couple has disagreements at some point. Many times those disagreements turn into a heated argument usually due to some underlying issues that were never addressed previously. When this happens nothing really gets solved because yelling at each other never effectively gets the point across. This is the perfect time to do some self reflection as to why this disagreement became such a big deal. What lingering past issues might have caused this disagreement to become more than just a simple difference of opinion? Why is yelling the first reaction when there is a disagreement? What is a more effective way for you both to communicate that will allow both of you to effectively get your opinions heard? These questions will help you first realize what you are doing wrong and then come up with a solution that will assist both of you in better communication.
Family & Friend Relationships At times we don’t always say or do the right things when it comes to friends and family and vice versa. Also there might have been a time or you might currently have a friend in your circle that is toxic. Just like in romantic relationships you have to notice red flags when it comes to friendships and family as well. There have been times when I thought a friend or family member had my back, but it turned out that was not the case. I noticed some toxic behavior, but I didn’t really pay it any attention because I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. I ended up learning the hard way.
On the flip side, you could be the friend or family member that is being toxic or not supportive. If that is the case then you need to first figure out what is driving this behavior and how can you correct it. Evaluating your own behavior can be hard to do for most people. Sometimes having someone else to talk it over with can help, like a life coach or a therapist. Also you could ask your friends or family what are some things you might need to work on, or what can you do to be more supportive. There have been times when I had to reflect on something I said out of anger and apologize right away because I knew deep down I was wrong. We all want to be treated well, so we should treat people the same. Reflecting and correcting helps you do that.
Relationship With Ourselves – This has a lot to do with self love. Reflecting helps us realize how we treat ourselves and the things we do to ourselves that jeopardize our emotional or physical wellbeing. Our internal dialogue, having a negative mindset and putting our bodies at risk can all jeopardize our wellbeing. Check out my blog post that goes more in detail about improving self love. When we reflect back on the unhealthy behavior, we can figure out ways to fix that behavior to increase our happiness.
Reflection At Work
There have been many times when I have had to reflect about work experiences. When I’m thinking of ways to become more efficient or thinking of way to handle a tough situation, I reflect. This will help you get done with work tasks quicker, process constructive criticism better and figure out better ways to deal with difficult co-workers. In the past I used to get upset when bosses would tell me something I needed to improve on. When I thought back after the fact, I began to understand the advice they were giving me. That allowed me to become a better employee. Nobody wants to be told that they are doing something wrong, but if you shift your mindset about what they are saying, then you will be able to get the lesson out of it.
Questions To Ask Yourself While Reflecting
- What are some red flags that I ignored in my current or past relationships?
- Why did I choose to ignore these red flags?
- When I see these red flags in the future, how will I handle that situation better this time around?
- When is a time that I didn’t listen to useful advice from family, friends or at work?
- Why did I think this advice was not useful at the time?
- How will I better process advice in the future?
- How did my mindset affect a tough situation?
- What was the real reason for this mindset?
- What type of mindset shift would have made this situation better?
These questions help not only identify things that happened in the past, but they also force you to look deeper into why these things happened. After that you can figure out how to make better choices in the future. I have had to ask myself all of these questions multiple times in my life. As I’ve gotten older the answers to these questions have become clearer. When you become more knowledgeable about relationships, self love and having a positive mindset you will easily realize where things went wrong and how to move forward in the right direction. If you need someone to help you through this process, feel free to book a session with me.
So take this time to reflect, ask yourself tough questions and grow.
Great post and great topic!! I would also add that self reflection is extremely important WHILE in a relationship, and not just after one has ended (though that is vital). I find that to be a good partner, it’s important to reflect on your thoughts or actions during your relationship and how it’s affecting your growth or lack there of as a couple.
Thanks Nicole! Yes self reflection during a relationship is very important for the growth of the relationship.
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