Why You Should Reflect More & How to do it

Photo by    Hannah Olinger    on    Unsplash
 

I was never really a person who reflected until I was already in college. But reflecting is something I’ve been doing consistently ever since. 

 

Why Reflection is Important:

Someone once said to me that you don’t know what you’ve learned until you reflect. That stuck with me to this day because I think it’s true. You don’t see who you’ve become or what you’ve learned until you stop for a second and look back a year ago. 

Once you’re out of the school life or academia world, there’s no more tests to measure what you know, there’s no grading system or standard for you to be measured by. 

If you’re in the work force, you may still have some form of system where you’re being measured for progress and learning. Plus, the more you know the higher your chance of a pay increase. 

But nonetheless, when it comes to who you are as a person, there’s really nothing that tests you. Even personality tests can’t tell you how you’ve changed or how to change. They only tell you where you’re at. 

  • Reflecting is a way for us to acknowledge where we’ve been, where we’re at, and figure out where we want to be.

  • Reflecting helps us to see things we’ve pushed aside.

  • Reflecting gives us the space to be transparent and honest.

  • Reflecting provides the space for us to look at our own actions and ask ourselves if the way we reacted was the reaction of someone we want to be or if our actions and words are those of someone we want to be.

  • Reflecting is a way for self-discovery, for knowledge building, and wisdom gaining.

  • Reflecting is a tool for us to pick at our brain and realize how much we’ve learned.

  • Reflecting is away for us to also plan ahead and figure where we want to go and who we want to be and how we can get there.

 

What You Need to Reflect Well & Successfully:

Honesty/Transparency:

Reflecting is for no one but yourself. It’s a way for you to figure out what you’ve learned, where you’ve been, and who you want to become. You can only achieve this by being honest with yourself. Look at even the painful parts of your life, and reflect on those moments. I found that by doing that I learned about myself, others, and what I can do to change. 

Time:

You will need time to truly think things through. Yes, you can just think about things for 5 minutes and get over it, but I think that reflecting is more effective when you put time and effort into it. 

Vulnerability:

You need to be honest. But you will also need to be vulnerable with yourself. This means facing your emotions. (Your emotional intelligence is important). Sometimes we suppress certain emotions because we think those emotions make us weak. But only by facing them will make you stronger. If you need help with this part, find a therapist or a trusted friend whom you can trust and can guide you through this process. 

Strategy/Category:

You will need to think about what exactly do you want to reflect on. Is it your current job situation? Is it your personality? Is it your mental health? physical health? Is it your mindset? your business? your living situation? By figuring out what you want to reflect on will help your reflecting process go smoother and better.

  

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How do You Reflect:

Ask yourself self-discovery questions:

You can think about these questions and answer them internally. You can actually write out journal prompts answering the questions as well. These tactics will help you process. 

Talk to someone:

If you don’t have a therapist, see if there’s a mentor or a friend who you can talk to that will just listen and ask questions to help you reflect and understand better. 

Set a time to intentionally reflect:

A lot of people do this at the end of the year, on their birthdays, once every 6 months, and others do it once every month. Find what works best for your schedule and lifestyle. 

Go somewhere outside of your home:

I find that I’m able to think more clear when I’m surrounded by nature or when I’m in a coffee shop. Try being in nature—bring a journal so you can use that time to reflect.


Some Questions to Get You Started:

The best way to reflect is learning how to ask yourself questions. Ask yourself why, when, how, what. Keep asking yourself questions until you can truly be honest with yourself. Keep asking yourself questions until your ego is put aside, your pride is put aside, and you’re able to sit in transparency, honesty, and vulnerability with yourself.

  • Where was I a year ago? Am I happy? Is my happiness dependent on others? Is this good? Is this bad? Why?

  • Have this year gone the way I planned? Why or why not?

  • What do I wish I can do differently? Why?

  • What do I know I need to change? Why haven’t I been able to change yet?

  • What do I not like about my life right now? Why not?

  • What am I afraid of? Why?

  • If I knew I wouldn’t fail, what would I want to do or pursue?

  • What am I feeling right now? Why am I feeling this?

  • How do I feel? Why?

  • Am I resenting something or someone? Why?

  • Where does my love for others come from? Why?

  • What do I like? Why?

  • Who do I want to be? Am I that person? Why or why not?

  • Who am I thankful for? What am I grateful for? Why?

Reflecting is something I think people don’t do enough of. I’ve found extreme value in reflections, and I hope this post inspires you to reflect more. I’ve learned so much about myself that I wouldn’t have known otherwise if I didn’t reflect. Reflecting is an ability that we get to use, so lets use it well to become better versions of ourselves. 

What are some ways you reflect? Share them below!



~ Sincerely, Mainou

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