Self-Reflection is a process whereby individuals engage in meditation or deep thinking about their character, actions, and motives. It’s a process that can be quite revealing and beneficial when practised intentionally and regularly.
Is self-reflection easy? No, it is often not. It takes courage and guts to look at yourself. For some, this is a journey not worth taking, but those who dare it find a wealth of personal growth and development.
Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” These are powerful words that have life-altering possibilities.
While there are many insights, one can draw from self-reflection, the following outlines the top ten things you can learn about yourself through this process.
- Values: One of the most important things you can learn via self-reflection is about what your values or beliefs are. Your values serve as the underlying foundation of your attitudes and your actions.
Thus, the key to knowing why you do the things you do involves tracing them back to what you believe. As you uncover what is important to you and what matters most, you’ll see how that connects to the path you end up on in life and the decisions you ultimately make.
- Goals: Your goals can also be uncovered via the practice of self-reflection. As you pause to assess your actions and your current state in life, you can figure out if where you are in life is where you want to be.
If you discover that you’d like to be somewhere else or further in life, then self-reflection can help you assess whether your current actions are aiding you in getting there. From this place of enlightenment, you can establish long-term and short-term goals that better serve your vision for yourself and your future to reach your end target.
- Strengths: Another thing you can learn about yourself when you practice self-reflection is what your strengths are. As you look back at the success, you have had, and what contributed to those successes, you can often identify positive patterns of thinking and behaviour, as well as traits and talents that contributed to those successes. Knowing your strengths helps you apply them in other scenarios to reach other goals and achieve further success.
- Weaknesses: Similarly to strengths, weaknesses can also be uncovered when you engage in self-reflection. When you are being honest with yourself and genuinely taking the time to see how your actions and certain traits have played a role in mishaps/mistakes that have been made, you can see the areas within yourself where you could improve.
You can also see the spaces in your life that require adjustment to better align with your goals and help you reach your target in life.
- Progress: Another thing you can learn about yourself is how much progress you have made. You can sometimes overlook all of your successes and all the forward movement that has been made unless you’re intentional about looking back to track it.
When you look back, you can see just how much you have overcome and just how much you have been able to achieve. While you may not be where you ultimately desire, you’ll almost always see that you’ve done more than you realise which will give you motivation and encouragement to keep going.
- What You Are Capable Of: The process of self-reflection is not an easy one. It requires a lot of bravery and vulnerability. You see your strength and value as you go through the process, learn from it, and apply that knowledge in other scenarios. This helps you discover that you are capable of much more than you thought or realised and can help you develop a stronger sense of self-confidence and independence along the way.
- The Way You Communicate: How you engage with and communicate with others is another thing you can uncover about yourself when you take the time to reflect. You can discover behaviour and engagement patterns that either serve you well or work against you when trying to relay messages and information. With this awareness, you can make meaningful changes that help you to get your points across efficiently or effectively.
- How You Relate to Others: Along with communicating with others, you can learn how you relate to others via self-reflection. Communication plays a role, but how you relate to others also includes factors such as your own experiences, behaviours, and attitudes, among many other things.
As you reflect on this, you can see those things that are potentially acting as barriers to meaningful connection and take steps to resolve them to establish and maintain healthy relationships with those around you.
- How You Cope with Stress: How you deal with stress is another thing you can learn from self-reflection if you are honest and attentive. How you deal with stress will influence many other aspects of your life.
The Discovery of unhealthy coping mechanisms can help you develop better ways of managing that better serve you and aid you in reaching your goals. Discovering healthy modes of coping can show you what you need to stick with to help you navigate challenges well.
- How to Accept What You Can’t Change: Self-Reflection can help you uncover experiences (particularly negative ones) that you may be holding onto that are holding you back mentally and emotionally.
By uncovering these things that you may still be heavily attached to, you can see what and how you are being affected and begin to process through them to release those things that cannot be changed and move forward.
Self-reflection can be used to help you uncover more about yourself and, as a result, to help you experience greater levels of growth and development.