So, let’s talk about self-reflection! I personally believe self-reflection is such an important part of self-improvement and personal growth. Over the past few years, self-reflection is something I have been working on consistently. I am trying to reflect on my own characteristics and be more aware of my reactions, emotions, and habits. By doing this I have become aware of what my strengths are, as well as where I have some room to grow and improve.
If you are not sure what self-reflection is, it is basically all about reflection and understanding your own needs, wants, desires, habits, feelings, and really just anything that makes up the unique person that you are. The best thing about self-reflection is that it leads to self-awareness, and the more self-aware you become, the better you are at adapting to life challenges, and making decisions that positively impact and improve your life.
Basically, the more self-aware you are, the more you are able to learn about yourself, and the better you can improve yourself, based on what you learn. If you’re a regular reader, you know how much I love me some self-improvement!
Essentially, the more you pay attention to your feelings and emotions, the better you will understand why you do the things you do. The more you explore your desires and habits, the easier it becomes to go after those desires and improve those habits.
In my opinion, self-reflection & self-improvement go hand in hand. You cannot really have one without the other. What I mean is, you can read every self-help book out there, take every self-improvement challenge, listen to self-development podcasts, but it is all completely pointless if you do not know yourself well enough, to put all that self-help advice into practice. For example, I am an introvert. Trying new things does not always come easy for me, but I know that is part of my self-improvement journey, and I know trying new things also helps me improve and grow. That is personally something I am trying to work on, I am very self-aware about the areas I need to improve. I don’t try to deny my flaws. I acknowledge them and I aim to improve in the ways I want to.
Once you become more self-aware, you can choose to improve the areas of yourself that you would like to work on. Maybe you start to pay more attention to your emotions, and you realize you tend to overreact to any form of criticism. You realize this is something you want to work on, because you know criticism can be constructive, and it can help you to grow and improve when taken seriously. If you are not-self aware, you may never acknowledge those feelings and never resolve your emotions towards criticism.
See, I know I am an introvert, and I don’t want to change that. I like being an introvert. I love my alone time, and I like that I love being alone. I also like that I would rather sit home with a good book instead of going to the bar. BUT, I do know I easily make excuses when it comes to trying new things or getting outside my comfort zone, and that is something I am slowly working on improving! Now, if I was not self-aware, I may never acknowledge these characteristics, and I may continue to hide behind my excuses, never going outside my wonderful little introverted bubble.
So, now that you know a little more about why self-reflection is important, lets talk about how you can start practicing self-reflection in your own life:
1 | Always Try to Be Objective With Yourself
It’s not always easy, but trying to stay objective towards your decisions, mistakes, and feelings, can allow you to truly asses and criticize them properly. It is easy to look at another person and judge and asses their decisions, but we then do the same things in our own life without a second thought. Be objective and try to look at yourself from the outside looking in. Not because you should care what others think of you, but because it is easier to be honest with yourself when you aren’t being bias or wearing blinders.
A little trick I like to use, is to ask myself “If I had a friend that was acting this way” or “If I had a friend who was dealing with this situation” what advice would I give them? A lot of the time we give great advice to others, but do not take that advice and apply it to our own lives.
2 | Start a Blog or a Journal
Something that has personally increased the amount of self-reflection I do, is starting a blog. I am constantly reflecting on my own life, decision, and emotions, so that I can write about them on my blog. Self reflection helps me decide what topics to write about, but I also do it as I write posts. I try to pull examples out of my own life to make my posts more personal, and during that process, I am always reflecting on my life through the examples I use.
I have always been the type of person who needs to get their thoughts down on paper or just out of my head in some form where I can understand them better. Writing helps me reflect on my emotions and feelings, and I am able to articulate and process much better through writing then I am through communication.
A journal can have the same impact. It is just a spot for you to sit down and reflect on your day, your feelings, your activities, and your life in general.
**Are you interested in starting a blog? Check out these posts:
3 | Ask for Constructive Feedback Regularly
Whether it be at work, or just from a close friend in your life, getting feedback can be so beneficial. The main thing in this situation is that you’re getting the feedback from someone who has your best interest in mind.
A lot of the time we don’t take feedback as seriously as we should, but if it is given properly, it can really benefit us. We gain that outside perspective on our actions, and that may point something out to us that we had no idea we were doing.
Working in HR, something I had to explain to employees often, was the difference between intention and perception. Sometimes, we have the right intentions with our actions, but others around us may perceive our actions as something completely different. For example maybe your extremely shy, you only really communicate with one other employee because it takes you a while to feel comfortable socializing with new people. But, to the other employees who do not know your shy, it just seems like your standoff-ish and unapproachable. Maybe even a bit bitchy. That is not your intention, that is just the perception from an outsider looking in.
I was lucky enough to have a manager who was great at providing continuous feedback. She was great because she always mixed the areas I was doing really well, and a the areas she felt I could do better in. It was never just negative feedback, it was constructive, and she made me feel good, by pointing out my strengths, too.
4 | Learn More About Your Personality Type
I have always been obsessed with learning as much about my own personality as possible. I love figuring out why I do things, and feel things, the way I do, or why I approach different scenarios the way I do.
Take personality tests, read books around personality types, etc. Actually, I have a few personality tests that you can easily take online, that I personally found very accurate:
1. You Just Get Me – Time frame: 5-10 minutes – In this test you simply click the “Guess Myself Now” box in the right hand corner and fill out a 40 part questionnaire. Once you submit the test you receive a personality bubble chart and a breakdown of each bubble. Mine was dead on, and I did not disagree with anything I was given.
2. What is Your Myers-Briggs Personality Type? Time Frame: about 12 minutes. The Myers-Briggs in the mother of all personality tests and is by far the most accurate. The link I have posted is not the true Myers-Briggs test but rather a starting point to help you discover your “type”. It is a great free option for determining your Myers-Briggs type. If you want to take the full Myers-Briggs Assessment it will cost you about $50.00 and you can find more information HERE. I recommend investing in the full assessment at some point in your life, but for now the free option is a great tool.
3. Who am I? – Time Frame: 15-20 minutes – This test by Visual DNA was unique because it is visual. Rather then reading the question and picking a multiple choice answer, you are given a variety of photo’s to choose that best answer the question in your opinion. You get a really detailed review at the end, and mine was very spot on. The results are also easy to read as they are in a visual graph and very user-friendly.
Check them out and find out more about yourself!
5 | Accept What You Discover
I want to mention how important it is to accept what you discover through your self-reflection process. Self reflection is not about immediately perfecting your flaws or emotions as soon as you come to realize them. Self awareness is just about being able to see and understand yourself as much as possible.
Accept what you discover, and allow yourself to fully experience the feelings and emotions without feeling pressured to change them right away. Explore the reasons you reacted the way you did or why you experienced the emotions you did. Do not just try to change your emotions because you think they were “wrong” or “bad”, explore where those emotions came from to begin with.
Also, do not deny what you discover because you feel embarrassed with your emotions or reactions, accept them, explore them, and then work on becoming better.
The more you can accept yourself fully, the easier you will be able to grow in a healthy and open way.
The Reason Self Reflection is so Important:
So as a quick summary of why self-reflection is so important and why you should pursue it in your own life, let me list the benefits of being self-aware:
- You begin to know your own strengths and weaknesses
- You begin to understand your values and what is important to you
- You become more aware of how you are perceived by others
- You start to become more conscious of your own emotions and how you react to certain situations and triggers
- You learn what motivates and drives you
- And, most importantly self-awareness shows us where we can improve and what we need to change in our lives, to be our very best selves.
But remember, self-awareness if not the solution to all of your problems, it is just the first step in the right direction. Once you become self-aware and more in tune with your emotions, decisions, and habits, it is up to you to improve the areas in your life you want or need to improve.
If you are interested in learning more about self-reflection, you will love The Thrive Guide!
The Thrive Guide is a 6 month Guide to Self-improvement, and the first month is completely dedicated to self-reflection!